São Tomé Explorer

The island nation of São Tomé and Principe is one of Africa’s most pleasant surprises. Imagine a near tropical paradise awash with atmospheric colonial reminders, beautiful coastline and fascinating wildlife.

Our São Tomé Explorer tour offers an excellent introduction to the country, starting in the capital with its unique Portuguese-Creole flavour. From here we head into the interior, hiking to the pretty Lagoa Amelia and then driving south to São João with its gorgeous black sand beaches.

Continuing to the southernmost tip we look for turtles laying eggs at night and take a trip to the tiny Rolas Island on the equator line. We then travel by boat up the west coast to Mucumbli, our base for exploring Obo National Park. Stopping in small villages along the way, we see the best of the island’s incredible biodiversity and unusual history. We stay in charming lodges and converted plantation houses and have excellent opportunities to meet local people.

This is a fascinating insight into an unusual corner of Africa.

São Tomé Explorer

Highlights

  • Black sand beaches of Luba
  • Historical plantations of SaoTome
  • Hike through the rainforest
  • See turtles at Porto Alegre
  • Impressive colonial architecture

Day 1 - São Tomé

Arrive in São Tomé and transfer to your hotel. This evening transfer to Pension Casa Turistica where you have the opportunity to have a traditional island dinner (not included). Overnight Hotel Residencial Avenida or similar.

São Tomé Town

One of the most charming African capitals, São Tomé Town was first established in the late 15th century by the Portuguese who had landed on the island in search of land to grow sugar. Today it is a fascinating mix of old colonial architecture, jumbled markets and Mediterranean style villas, interspersed with more ramshackle houses on the outskirts.

It’s also home to one of the oldest cathedrals in Africa, the 16th-century Cathedral of Santa Se, and the Sao Sebastiao Fort, built around the same time and today housing the National Museum. São Tomé is a rather atmospheric place, its colonial buildings adorned with wooden balconies and ranging from well restored to rather dilapidated – a different feel to other African capitals and sometimes more reminiscent of the Caribbean than the mainland.

Day 2 - Bom Sucesso

A full day excursion exploring the countryside. Drive to Bom Sucesso and hike to Lagoa Amelia (approx. 4 hours). Afterwards, drive to the Cascada de San Nicolau and the Roca Saudades Alemeda Negreiro for lunch. Continue to Trinidad and explore this pretty town on foot, then return to Sao Tome for a city tour. Overnight Hotel Residencial Avenida or similar. (BL)


Day 3 - São João dos Angolares

Drive south to the coastal village of São João dos Angolares. On the way visit the colonial era hospital at Agua Eize and the fishing village of Ribeira Afonse. The journey takes you into the heart of the Caue district at the extreme south of the island, where the road ends and onward travel is difficult. Spend the night in a converted plantation house (roca). (BL)

São João dos Angolares

São João is a small fishing village with a wide black sand bay dotted with coconut palms and fishing boats, in the shade of Pico Maria Fernandes. The ‘Angolares’ part of the name is attributed to the legend that its inhabitants are the descendants of Angolan slaves, shipwrecked here in the 16th century, and the people here speak a unique dialect supposedly derived from a local Angolan language. The Roca São João, where we stay, is an old converted plantation house, which is locally renowned for its good cuisine and has been lovingly restored to maintain its historic charm – a good insight into colonial life on the island.

Day 4 - São João dos Angolares

Free time to explore the surrounding area, take walks in the hills and swim from the black sand beaches. Overnight Roca São João dos Angolares. (B)


Day 5 - Porto Alegre – Praia Inhame

Drive to the far south of the island and the stunning wild beaches of Porto Alegre, then continue to Praia Inhame. Hike around the coastline, surrounded by rainforest. In the evening we head to Praia Piscina and Praia Jade to wait for turtles to emerge from the ocean and lay their eggs nearby. Overnight Praia Inhame Lodge. (BD)


Day 6 - Rolas Island

Boat trip to the tiny Rolas Island off the south coast of Sao Tome. Walk to the equator line, have a traditional lunch in the village and swim in clear blue waters from beautiful beaches. Return to Praia Inhame for the night. (BL)


Day 7 - Mucumbli

Travel by boat along the west coast of Sao Tome, arriving at Mucmbli Eco-Lodge around lunchtime. The afternoon is free. Overnight Mucumbli Eco-Lodge. (B)


Day 8 - Obo National Park

A full day excursion hiking in the primary forest of Obo National Park, looking for endemic plants and birds. You will also pass by a pretty waterfall and see old plantation houses on your route. Overnight Mucumbli Eco-Lodge. (BL)


Day 9 - Mucumbli

Visit a local cacao co-operative to see how this is grown and processed for chocolate – cacao is one of the island’s main exports and integral to its economy. The afternoon is free to explore at your leisure. Overnight Mucumbli Eco-Lodge. (B)


Day 10 - Sao Tome

Travel overland to the north coast of the island. Walk around the Blue Lake and continue to Morro Peixe beach with opportunities to swim and look for birdlife. Continue to Sao Tome where a day use room is available for you to freshen up before transferring to the airport for your flight. (B)


Beach on Sao Tome - São Tomé tour
Beach on Sao Tome - São Tomé tour
Coastal scenery in São Tomé
Children on black sand beach - São Tomé tour

What's included?

  • Airport transfers

    We include arrival and departure transfers regardless of whether you book flights yourself, or we book them for you. If you’re booking them yourself, then please let us know the details so that we can arrange the transfers.

    Please note though that if you arrive earlier than Day 1 of the tour, and leave after the final day, we may need to make an additional charge for an airport transfer.

  • Accommodation

    Accommodation as listed above. The nature of the destinations that we operate may sometimes mean that we need to change hotels, but we’ll always endeavour to keep the same standards. Please be aware that as we operate in many countries where tourism is in its infancy, hotel standards may not be the same as you’re used to elsewhere.

  • Guides

    You will be accompanied by an English speaking guide throughout the trip.

  • Meals

    As listed within the itinerary / dossier (B-Breakfast, L-Lunch, D-Dinner).

  • Entrance fees

    Entrance fees are listed for those sites that we mention within the itinerary. If there are any other sites that you’d like to see, these would be at your own expense.

What's not included?

  • Visas

    We don’t arrange visas for our travellers, but if an invitation letter is necessary then we will arrange this for you. If you need any advice with visas then just give us a call, or alternatively, a visa agency such as Travcour can assist.

  • International flights

    Many of our travellers arrive from different destinations and so we don’t include international flights in the cost of our tours. If however, you would like us to book flights for you, then just give us a call and we’ll be happy to discuss your options.

  • Travel Insurance

    If you need any assistance with this, then let us know – although we can’t arrange it ourselves we can point you in the direction of a reputable provider that can assist.

Visas

It is no longer necessary for UK, EU and US travellers to obtain visas for entering Sao Tome.

Visa regulations can change however and so we recommend that you contact your nearest embassy for the most up to date information.

Health and vaccinations

We are not medically qualified and so we recommend that you speak to your doctor or nearest health professional for advice concerning recommended vaccinations. For more advice on vaccinations, you can also visit www.fitfortravel.nhs.uk.

A Yellow Fever vaccination certificate is only necessary if you have been to a country where Yellow Fever is present, within the last three months.

Insurance

It is a condition of joining our tours that you have suitable travel insurance in place, and we cannot accept travellers without insurance. All policies differ in terms of what they will cover, but as a minimum you need medical and health cover which will cover you for the whole time that you are away. Most policies will also include cancellation cover, which will cover you if an unforeseen circumstance obliges you to cancel your trip. We recommend that you obtain your insurance as soon as you book your trip.

Please note that government travel warnings often affect the validity of your travel insurance, and you should check this with your insurance company.

Arrival and departure taxes

A departure tax of €20 is payable when leaving Sao Tome.

Money

In Sao Tome the currency is the dobra. It is best to bring Euros for exchange purposes as the dobra is not obtainable outside of the region.

When to go

Situated close to the equator, you can expect a hot, humid and tropical climate throughout the year. Generally speaking though, the best time to visit is between December to February, when the region is at its driest.

Local conditions

When travelling to some of the destinations we offer you need to bear in mind that things won’t always work here as we’re used to them working at home. Travelling in underdeveloped and untouristed destinations requires both patience and a sense of humour. There may be problems with infrastructure, attitudes may be different, and maintenance may not be as high a standard as we would always like, but this is very much part and parcel of travelling in such a place. We aim to resolve any issues as quickly as possible, and thank you for your patience.

Travel advice

We keep a very close eye on the travel advice issued by the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office so that we can keep you up to date with any warnings. At the time of writing the FCO does not advise against travel to any parts of Sao Tome.

This relates to advice from the British government – other nationalities need to check the stance of their own governments.

Please note that the information contained above is highly susceptible to change, and while we endeavour to keep up to date we recommend that you use this as a guide only. Should you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Updated May 2019

Beach on Sao Tome - São Tomé tour
Beach on Sao Tome - São Tomé tour
Coastal scenery in São Tomé
Children on black sand beach - São Tomé tour
Date(s)
Price (PP) Exc. Flights
Single Supplement
Trip Status
Date -
06 January 2022
Price (PP) -
£1,775
Single Supplement -
£185
Trip Status -
Available