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nikosk Nov 30th, 2012 08:56 AM

Choosing between Ethiopia or Togo-Ghana for backpacking trip!
Hi there!
I'm considering to travel for a month to Africa during this winter, and the choise is between
1-Ethiopia or
(I've been in the past to other places west, south, east of Africa).
I understand that each country is definately interesting, has distinct identity, and comparisons are difficult.
I'll try to make it in backpacking way, so, no luxuries... and hope that backpackers are welcomed there...
Costs, security and weather are key factors
Maybe you could give from your experiences some advise about choosing one of these two destinations?
Hoping it is possible to have an enjoyable trip despite travelling in low cost...
Thanks for helping me to make some choises!!!
Happy travels!

rightlyso Nov 30th, 2012 10:44 AM

Having just come back from a 6-day trek in Ethiopia (Simiens including Ras Dashen summit), I can definitely say that you won't be disappointed if you go. If you have more than a week you could also visit some of the tribes in the valley as well as the Danakir Depression).

I don't know anything about Togo/Ghana, so unfortunately can't offer a comparison. But Ethiopia was very affordable, I felt safe and never felt harassed as travelers sometimes do (e.g. in hotspots like Tanzania/Kenya or India).

rightlyso Nov 30th, 2012 10:47 AM

I forgot to mention... you should the conditions during the month that you go. Scenery and trekking conditions will be different and I don't know how far into the dry season it is now :P

Traveler1542 Dec 1st, 2012 09:26 AM

I've been to Ethiopia, Ghana and Togo. All were great. One thing with Ethiopia is its mostly very high altitude so the climate is cool and pleasant and in most areas you do not have to worry about malaria if you stay above 5000ft (1500m) there are no mosquitos. Ghana and Togo and I also went to Benin I would really recommend you add that to your itinerary if you choose that part of Africa, do less Ghana and more Togo and Benin, the northern parts. The area is mostly flat savannah so definitely go in the dry season, its dusty, so don't pack anything white! There is a malaria risk in Ghana, Togo and Benin so you could bring anti-malaria pills. The culture is great, the people very friendly, you can visit some of the villages, meet the local tribal kings, etc. There are also game parks, Pendjari in northern Benin is great, it takes some getting to. I can give you more particulars and exactly where to go and how to get there once you decide which trip you plan to do. But I hope this helps your decision process.

nikosk Dec 2nd, 2012 09:42 AM

thanks guys for your experiences!
I had forgotten about malaria, so this must be considered, too...
Benin and Togo are my primary 'targets' of that area, but flights work better-cheaper for Accra, so, in a month's time maybe should confine to Ghana-Togo and leave Benin for another time.
Ethiopia could be explored easier for the same period, although I read that travel by public transport is slow, difficult and for Omo valley and other remote places, most people go on packages, which adds complications and expenses...
have to read a lot more...

Traveler1542 Dec 3rd, 2012 03:41 PM

Togo and Benin are slivers of countries in size, you really can do both its not far. Yes there's the malaria issue but bring the pills, no sweat...literally :) The more interesting parts of Togo and Benin are in the north and public transport would be very slow pretty much bush taxis and hope they don't break down. The main north-south road in Togo I have never seen so many broken down vehicles in my life, constant driving around down vehicles, much longer drive than you've think, don't count click and assume its 3 hrs, try 6. We weren't on a shoestring and had rented a 4x4, took on 15gallon spare fuel just in case but otherwise no fuel issues but there can be, you just don't want to find that out the hard way. You can do the coast, see Lome, Contonou, etc with more services but its not like in the north really seeing the place. Good luck if I can help any more let me know.

Traveler1542 Dec 3rd, 2012 03:56 PM

More on Ethiopia, you can do a local flight for Omo or you can overland via Arba Minch which is what we did. We hired a private 4x4, not self drive, we have a driver and good thing, nothing is marked and he even had trouble with communicating, all the tribes have different languages. But he certainly did better than we would have. I don't know about budget type travel there. Our 4x4 with driver was $150/day plus fuel, but that included his lodging and meals. If you go north you may not need as much travel support. A local flight or bus may do it. Very interesting things north as well.

nikosk Dec 6th, 2012 04:38 AM

many thanks for all these details!
The cost you mention $150/day plus fuel, was per car I guess, no matter how many passengers on board (or is it per passenger?)

sundowner Dec 7th, 2012 08:01 PM

I think the hydroelectric dams being built will change the villages and people along the Omo River. If you are interested in the people of the Omo Valley I would go there now and go to Ghana-Togo another time. I went in Sept 2011 and it was an amazing trip. I can only comment on the Omo Valley because I didn't have more time to see other parts of Ethiopia.

nikosk Dec 10th, 2012 05:11 AM

these were great photos!!!
did you have any trouble with the people to get their photo, maybe they ask travelers to pay them?

sundowner Dec 10th, 2012 08:29 AM

Thanks. And yes, you do have to pay for photos. I wrote up a trip report of the whole experience if you would like to read about it.

arjibarji Sep 8th, 2018 10:13 AM

hi there . was interested in what you're saying as we are travelling to Benin in January for a Benin, togo, ghana adventure. i'd love any tips for benin you have as there are few guide books and not much online. If you have a lead on a driver that would be great too.

Anyhow... it was great to read your comment


janisj Sep 8th, 2018 10:48 AM

Welcome to Fodors arjibarji. Don't know if you noticed, but the thread is nearly six years old and most of those responding haven't been active on Fodors in years.

You might want to start a new thread of your own with your own specific questions.

ekscrunchy Sep 8th, 2018 12:37 PM

Been to both Togo and Benin but about 20 years ago..both highly worthwhile destinations from the travel point of will find no people more welcoming to guests than the West Africans!! Love, love, loved my travels in that part of the world..yes, do start a new thread here..

chasisboi Sep 13th, 2018 02:32 AM

I would pick Ethiopia. But maybe thats because I lived in Ghana for some years.
Expect warmer weather in Ghana/Togo and be prepared to fight off mosquitoes. Ghana has friendly people.
While Ethiopia will be cooler due to the higher altitude.

Hope you have a great time.

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