Photo Credit @ HBD Principe
Photo Credit @ HBD Principe
Photo Credit @ HBD Principe
São Tomé & Príncipe hold some of Africa’s best kept secrets, steeped in history & culture born from Tropical Equatorial African roots merged with a Portuguese Colonial past.
And yet these islands feel almost Cuban when you add this mix to their cinematographic beaches of clear water & golden sand.
Just 240 km from the coast of Gabon, you will arrive fast but not as fast as the feeling of being in a land so strikingly different.
Indulge yourself in Principe, the smallest island, only 142km² with 60% of its territory a World Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO.
Here you easily lose yourself to its marine life, beaches, forests, waterfalls, plantations, and wildlife.
São Tomé island is only 859 km2, and being 181 km from Principe, it is the gateway to Principe. Its own glory can be found in its gently simmering capital full of history & culture, and stunning landscapes including the famous Pico Grande. Make time to visit the Claudio Corallo Chocolate Factory which produces famously pure chocolate from the beans grown in Principe
Príncipe is a precious Island that is also a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve with a surface area of 71,592.5 hectares (276.420 sq mi) which encompasses the entire emerged area of the island of Príncipe, its islets Bom Bom, Boné do Jóquei (Jockey Camp Island) , Mosteiros, and Pedra da Galé, and the Tinhosas islands (Tinhosa Grande and Tinhosa Pequena) as well as surrounding marine habitats. The reserve is managed by the regional government of Príncipe.
The biosphere reserve is home to great biodiversity in terrestrial as well as in marine ecosystems, with high rates of endemism (species unique to the island) in many groups of organisms, especially vascular plants, molluscs, insects, birds, reptiles and bats. It is part of the biodiversity hotspot of tropical forests of West Africa, containing a wide range of plant communities and habitats of high international importance such as primary tropical forests, forest shade, palm trees and lowland riparian habitats.
An area of huge interest for the conservation of global biological diversity – vital, considering the importance that this area has for the reproduction of sea turtles, seabirds and cetaceans, as well as coral reefs.
A mind-blowingly beautiful, rare, and special habitat that is both remote and wild – The epitome of a See Wild Travels’ location!
Theory of Relativity In 1919 famous British astrophysicist, Sir Arthur Stanley Eddington travelled to the island of Príncipe to find the perfect location from which to view a predicted eclipse. Eddington hoped to capture starlight being shifted by the sun’s gravity, thus proving Einstein’s model of physics over Newton’s. The eclipse was necessary as it would be the only time he could view the light unobscured from the sun. He found the perfect spot in Roça Sundy…This make star gazing on Principe even more magical!
Chocolate is hard to miss on a trip to these islands that are famous for the growing the sought after Claudio Corallo delicacy.
Cocoa plant was taken from Brazil to Principe and Sao Tomé for the first time around 1822. From there, it spread to Nigeria and Ghana. By 1908, Sao Tome had become the world’s largest producer of cacao and had earned its name …"the chocolate islands". Although São Tomé islands is no longer the world's biggest supplier of cacao, it is capable of exporting some of the best-quality beans on earth. Over the years, the world's cacao growers have sacrificed quality for the sake of high yields. On the São Tomé archipelago, however, there are still descendants of the original forastero plants that the portuguese brought from South America in 1822.
This kind of magic only happens in Terreiro Velho (Principe island) and Nova Moca (Sao Tomé island), two old plantations (locally known as "roça") devoted to coffee and cacao. The man who runs the place, Claudio Corallo, an Italian who spent most of his life in Africa, is working with these surviving plants, farming organically to produce a limited-yield superior cacao. Corallo has been for the past decade on a quest to produce some of the finest dark chocolate in the world. His bars, which range in cocoa content from 60 per cent to 100 per cent, when the raw ingredients are this good you don’t need to add dairy or vanilla. Some of these delicious bars that may contain ginger, arabica coffee beans, orange rind or plump raisins soaked for months in his home-made cocoa-pulp alcohol, have been going to a few small luxury stores in Europe, the United States and Japan. They have to be tasted to be believed! In Principe's Sundy Praia you can do that in style at their weekly "back to Cacao" evenings run in partnership with Claudio corallo.
The Equator Line on Rolas island, just 20 minutes boat ride south of São Tomé…experience teetering on ‘the line’, at the centre of earth Sao Tome is one of the few countries lucky enough to lie at the equator line, an imaginary line that runs across the centre of the Earth at a latitude of exactly zero degrees and divides the earth into the Northern Hemisphere and the Southern Hemisphere.
One of Africa's most beautiful equatorial markers was built in the southernmost part of São Tomé, on tiny Rolas Island to celebrate its equatorial location with a stone monument and a frieze of the world map. Here you can stand with one foot in the Northern Hemisphere and the other in Southern and feel the exhilaration that comes with knowing you’re standing in the middle of the world!
Destinations in São Tomé & Príncipe
From Golden Beaches to Chocolate Jungles, these Islands have it All