Togo may be small, but both its topographical and geographical features dictate varied climatic conditions throughout the country at different times of year. Though as a rule of thumb, November to March makes for the ideal time to visit, when the rains have cleared, the land is dry but verdant, and average temperatures sit comfortably between 27 – 30°C across much of the country.
Togo consists of five administrative zones: Maritime, Plateaux, Centrale, Kara, and Savane respectively, to which its six climatic zones more or less correspond. The tropical coast gives way to a mixed landscape of woodlands and grasslands which form part of the Guinean forest-savanna mosaic – a thin ecoregion stretching the breadth of West Africa. These are also fertile agricultural lands. Further north the terrain becomes increasingly arid. The northwestern tip of the Savane region sees temperatures reaching as high as 45°C at the peak of the dry season.
While Togo can be neatly characterised as fertile and humid in the south and becoming increasingly dry and arid in the north, topographical variations across the country make for frequent exceptions to the rule. These include the Togo-Atakora mountain range, which runs southwest to northeast across Plateaux and Centrale regions, as well as other standalone hills and massiffs throughout the country, where high-altitude forests contrast with surrounding low-lying savannah.
Located eight degrees north of the equator, Togo lies squarely in the path of the Inter-tropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ), where low pressure, oceanic trade winds laden with moisture travel northward until they reach land. Here, these winds collide with hot, dry, high pressure conditions, known as the Harmattan, which rolls southeast off the Sahara. The result is the unleashing of rain in spectacular thunderstorms across Africa’s tropical and subtropical areas, for which this part of the the continent is especially famous.
Rains fall between April – October, often with an interlude separating the season in two. However, it’s worth noting that the wet season is heaviest in the country’s coastal area. As such, while dry season is highly recommended (particularly as some parks, including Togo’s largest, Fazao-Malfakassa, are only accessible during these months), the country’s richly diverse regions and conveniently compact size make it possible to visit the country year-round, dependent only upon each individual traveller’s own specific interests.