Sao Tome and Principe
With dramatic volcanic slopes and a thick cloak of rainforest, Sao Tome is Africa’s lost tropical paradise. Lying 140 miles adrift in the Gulf of Guinea, the forgotten location and dense vegetation lend the island an irresistible air of off-the-map adventure. Sao Tome and sister island Príncipe form the second smallest - and least visited - African country. Lying on the equator’s bulge, you can discover a lost sanctuary of unique wildlife and tropical beauty. Undeveloped and largely undiscovered, neon-frogs leap and soaring orchids rise in verdant rainforests - while pristine beaches hatch tiny turtles and offshore coral reefs glow and glitter with life.
The island’s lavish jungles are the perfect home for hundreds of different types of birds, and you can trek to hear their calls and caws from above, as they flash vibrant colours and perform elaborate mating dances. No fewer than 22 species are endemic to Sao Tome, living amid the mass congregation of different kinds. Hear the chattering birdlife close to the narrow white curtain of the Sao Nicolau Waterfall, which lashes down into the jungle floor.
Stimulate your senses with the island's delicacies, as you smell rich coffee and cocoa beans - grown on plantations that were once a major exporter to the rest of the world. See how the beans are roasted and prepared to enhance their aromatic bounty. Sao Tome’s faded Portuguese colonial charms, and the lemon-coloured São Sebastião fort wait to be explored, while the bustling market will introduce more of the island’s exotic ingredients. Taste rosy mangoes and juicy pineapples, or sit down to feast on fried flying fish and octopus.