A remote island paradise with unspoiled landscapes, endemic wildlife and unique luxury lodges
Sao Tome & Principe are two tropical islands separated by a short 35-minute flight, located on the equatorial line off the coast of West Africa. Perfect for those seeking an off-the-beaten-track beach break, with pristine landscapes and peaceful towns.
The country remains under-the-radar on the international tourist map, so you’ll never have to worry about crowded beaches, and there are host of otherworldly experiences to break from your norm. Learn to drum in the moonlight with villagers, hike through unspoiled rainforests to find endemic plants and animals, or taste chocolate at a restored cocoa plantation house in the rainforest interior.
Sao Tome is the larger island of the two and the main entry point, with the country’s only international airport. It’s a great place to relax and discover the rich history and agricultural fields of the country, with cocoa, coffee and copra plantations to explore.
You’ll then move on to the island of Principe, that’s small yet impressive in terms of rare wildlife and untamed wilderness. The entire island was declared a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve in 2012, and you’ll spend your days soaking up its phenomenal nature.
Go hiking in tropical rainforest, with eight hiking trails of various grades on Principe, or see the Pico Cao Grande, a remarkable finger-shaped mountain in south-central Sao Tome. It’s the world’s tallest volcanic plug and is listed as one of the world’s 200 most important sites of biological significance.
You can even venture up Pico de Sao Time, the highest point on Sao Tome at 2,024 metres. The highest point on Principe is just 948 metres but you can scale it along the Parrot Peak walk, a demanding yet rewarding trail.
Those interested in marine wildlife can enjoy Humpback or Sperm whale watching from July to August or September to October, or see turtles coming ashore to lay eggs around the end of the year. The turtles nest on beaches near Bom Bom Island Resort from as early as September, but normally from November to February each year. The eggs hatch 45 days later so the best time to see hatchlings return to sea is December, January, February and March.
Travel in Sao Tome & Principe has a dreamy laid-back quality, while touches of luxury are easily found in some of our hand-picked lodges. Sleep amidst lush rainforest, turquoise waters and towering mountain swirling in mist, or even discover the incredible Praia Sundry, a National Geographic Unique Lodge of the World.