Classic Sao Tome & Principe Escape
Venture off the coast of West Africa on this Classic Sao Tome & Principe Escape to find lush rainforests, sapphire seas and nature at its unique finest.
Lying on the Equator Line, 240km to the west of Gabon in Africa, Sao Tome is the larger island of the two that make up Sao Tome & Principe. Although it’s the bigger island, it’s still tiny in size – just 50 kilometres long and 30 kilometres wide, and with a population of 160,000 citizens.
The locals of Sao Tome predominantly speak Portuguese, as the Portuguese colonised the islands from the 1400s. Life revolved around coffee and cocoa plantations, and the country was once one of the largest producers of cocoa in the world.
Agriculture remains an important way of life today, especially in the northern and eastern regions, with exports including coffee, cocoa and copra (the dried fruit of a coconut). You can visit crumbling colonial buildings and plantations, or even take a sweet chocolate tour where you can learn about the chocolate making process and sample their delicious products.
Being separated geographically from the African mainland has meant a high number of endemic species, and Sao Tome is often referred to as the African Galapagos. You can roam around the island in search of some of the world’s rarest plants and animals, including frogs, bats, reptiles, marine fish, butterflies and scores of bird species.
Sao Tome remains one of the most under-the-radar destinations in the world, with few tourists arriving each year. However, those who venture off the beaten track will be rewarded with a holiday destination that is unaffected and untouched, brimming with fascinating activities, sights and sounds.
We can arrange local guides to assist you with hiking, scuba or snorkel trips, plantation visits, cooking and jewellery making workshops. The laid-back approach means that travellers should arrive with the expectation that things might not go exactly as planned, or they could end up perfectly imperfect - life in Sao Tome is unhurried and happy.
With no overwhelming peak season, there are elements to every month of the year that are interesting. The most popular time to visit Sao Tome are the school summer holidays which fortunately coincide with the dry seasons. These months are best suited for lazy beach days and inland trekking, with temperatures remaining at 28-30°C all year round. There’s no need to shy away from travel in the rainy seasons – the rains may be dramatic and heavy, but they are unlikely to stay all day and photography is thought to be best when the skies are clear and bright blue is revealed.
All trips to Sao Tome & Principe begin and end in Sao Tome island, as this is where you’ll find the only international airport in the country. You can choose to fly into Sao Tome for a few days on your way to Principe, or you could easily spend a week on Sao Tome to uncover a unique and stunning island. The West of Sao Tome is a challenge to explore and can be reached by speedboat for exploration of undiscovered territories and rare bird species, while Isa das Rolas is an island located a short boat trip from the mainland on the equator, perfect for blissful day trips.