Tailored from £3,700 per person excl. flights
11 days Sao Tome, Principe
11 days Sao Tome, Principe
Discover some of the most biologically significant forests in Africa on our Nature Lovers Sao Tome & Principe holiday. You’ll begin in Sao Tome island, where you’ll find the world’s tallest volcanic plug at Pico Cao Grande, listed as one of the world’s most important biological sites.
You’ll also explore the Obo Natural Park, spanning much of Sao Tome island, with lowland and high-altitude Atlantic rainforest, mangrove, savannah and abandoned plantations known as capoeira. Fauna in the park includes the very rarely seen West African manatee which ranges from Angola to Senegal, living in coastal lagoons, estuaries and bays where aquatic vegetation blooms.
Birders will be excited by the 33 known terrestrial birds, of which at least half are endemic, and includes some of the world's rarest and least-known species. This includes three critically endangered big ones, the Sao Tome Dwarf olive ibis; the Sao Tome fiscal and the mysterious Sao Tome grosbeak which returned after a 100-year absence.
You’ll also visit Principe island, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve with environmentally conscious infrastructure. From coastal boat adventures to observing nesting sea turtles, Principe is a pristine ecological gem.
After landing in the Sao Tome International airport in the early evening and in the same time zone as the UK, you’ll be pleasantly surprised to find that the transfer to Omali Lodge is only a 20-minute drive by coastal road to the south. You’ll stay at Omali Lodge for three nights in a Junior Suite, with breakfast and dinner included, with plenty of places to head out for lunch on day trips or visits to town.
After breakfast at Omali Lodge, you will have this first day to get your bearings on Sao Tome island which is 50 km in length and approximately 30 km wide. The Equator Line is to the South and this makes for a wonderful six-hour day trip excursion with an English-speaking guide.
The road you’ll travel along will see you passing Água Izé plantation, Boca do Inferno, Ribeira Afonso town, São João plantation, Angolares town, Pesqueira beach waterfall, Malanza river and Porto Alegre where the boat to Isla das Rolas departs from.
The furthest points on your excursion are Jalé beach and Piscina beach on the undiscovered Eastern shores. This coastline is of particular importance for birders as you will be exploring rainforests and mangroves hosting some of the “big-tickers”. Return to Omali Lodge in time for a hearty dinner.
Today you will take the morning STP Airways flight to Principe Island. It’s a 35-minute flight and if you have the option, try to sit on the right-hand side of the plane to get the best views flying in. Humpback whales can be seen from the shores of North West Principe, so if you plan to travel between August and October keep your eyes peeled.
After landing in Principe, you’ll be warmly welcomed by local staff who will drive you to Roca Sundy where you will stay for just one night in a Plantation House Master Suite, on a full board basis. We’ve chosen just one night here so you can experience the rich history of life on the plantations but spend most of your time on the islands near the beaches, however all our itineraries are completely customisable, whether you prefer spending more time in the countryside or on the coastline.
After breakfast at Roca Sundy you’ll make the easy 15-minute transfer to Bom Bom Island Resort where you’ll stay for six nights in a Beachfront Room on a full board basis which includes breakfast, lunch and dinner. Drinks and laundry are considered extras. Kick off your shoes on arrival and walk barefoot along the beaches.
You’ll have five full days to explore Principe island and these days can be as relaxing or active as you wish. Included in your Nature Lovers itinerary is a three-hour boat trip along the coast to see the beaches of the northeast and two scuba diving excursions from Bom Bom’s PADI certified dive centre. Spend your days snorkelling, stand-up paddle boarding and kayaking in this beautiful environment.
The turtle watching excursions from Bom Bom resort last from 4.30pm to 7pm and 8.30pm to 11.30pm. Being late at night and on challenging paths along the forested coastline beaches, it is worth booking this excursion for a day that you are well rested.
Of the world's five marine turtle species, four species nest on the beaches of Sao Tome and three nest on the beaches of Principe. In Praia Grande on Principe you can see the Green Turtle, Leatherback and the Hawksbill. In Sao Tome you can also sporadically see the Olive Ridley's turtle nesting. Your chances of seeing the nesting is high because over 2,000 records were logged of nesting and attempted nesting since the beginning of the late 2017 to the early 2018 season.
Today you will say goodbye to the team at Bom Bom and transfer to Principe airport for the flight back to Sao Tome. After arriving on the main island mid-morning, you’ll meet your representative driver for your 15-minute transfer to Omali Lodge.
You’ll have a day-use room at Omali Lodge before your flight home in the evening. Choose to visit town to buy some last-minute souvenirs or relish a final afternoon by the tropical swimming pool and gardens. Although your incredible Sao Tome & Principe holiday has come to an end, we’re sure you’ll be leaving with some incredible photos of Sao Tome & Principe’s unique and plenty of memories to last a lifetime.