Príncipe

You will not get a more accurate description for a country as 'unspoilt' and 'off the beaten track' as you do to describe the small islands of São Tomé and Príncipe which are just off the West African coast of Gabon. As an ex-Portugeuse colony the islands were a major 'holding bay' for African slaves with slave ships arriving daily into the port to pick up its 'cargo' destined for the Caribbean. In the past few years tourism has slowly been introduced with the building of a few international hotels but the majority of visitors are still expats and NGOs from the African mainland. The islands which are on the equator have tropical jungles, exotic birds, trees and flowers, deserted beaches, volcanoes and volcanic plugs and some breathtaking scenery. São Tomé is the oldest of the Gulf of Guinea islands and has the greatest biological diversity with many endemic birds and plants which attract only the most hardy of nature lovers as the jungles can be pretty thick and some of the rarest endemics are hard to spot.

Like Gabon, São Tomé and Príncipe will not be for everyone, unless you want to head straight for the international hotels so please give us a ring for more information.

Príncipe in contrast to São Tomé is a tiny island only 12 miles long and 9 miles wide. Its capital Santo Antonio is thought to be the smallest settlement in the world to be given the status of a town! When the Portuguese left in 1975 the small population of 5,000 turned to subsistence farming and the plantation houses and roads have slowly been taken back by the forests. There are very few navigable roads on Príncipe and the south of the island is nearly totally uninhabited except for a few fishermen. There are a few mountains but not as high as the ones in São Tomé but the flora and fauna is just as rich and relatively unexplored. Príncipe has virtually no tourists because no one has ever heard of it but there is one beach hotel on the north coast which has some fantastic diving and deep sea fishing and well worth a visit.

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Banana beach
Bom Bom and Principe
Praia Santa Rita

Bom Bom Island Resort

If you want to get away from the world for your holidays you couldn't be further off the tourist trail than at Bom Bom Island Resort.Bom Bom, which means 'Good Good' in Portuguese, is a tiny islet off the coast of Príncipe, and the hotel is a haven of seclusion and calm in staggeringly beautiful natural surroundings. A book, gentle strolls along the beach and enjoying the just taking each moment as it comes are definitely top of the agenda.

Bom Bom Island is joined to the mainland of Príncipe Island by a wooden walkway.The 21 bungalows and swimming pool are on Príncipe, and the restaurant, bar and marina are on Bom Bom Island. The bungalows have en-suite bathrooms and air conditioning. As well as relaxing on the beaches or by the pool, there are plenty of activities including some great diving and deep sea fishing, boat trips, and tours around the island to old plantation lodges and to the capital Santo Antonio. There are also lovely walks along the beaches and inland, where you'll see an amazing array of birds.

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beach
bedroom
fishing
chalets pool bridge to Bom Bom
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Makaira Lodge

Makaira Lodge is set on one of the most beautiful beaches, Praia Campanha, on Príncipe and it is the perfect location for lovers of fishing and those wanting time to relax on the beach. It has 6 high-end safari tents which are spacious and all have views of the sea. The main bar provides the ideal location for swapping fishing tales with other guests as well as lazing on the deck drink in hand, or dipping in the pool. The beach is stunning and has hammocks and sun beds spread around it and for those who want to enjoy some physical activity the crystal clear waters are perfect for snorkelling, paddle boarding or kayaking. This little haven really has it all and at a very affordable price.

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Roça Belo Monte

Standing guard over five of its own beaches on Príncipe, including the world famous Banana Beach, the impeccably stylish and luxurious Roça Belo Monte Plantation, has a commanding position with views to die for. There are 14 suites and rooms set within the plantation, 3 in the Manor House, 4 in the old clinic and 7 in the old workers houses. All are beautifully decorated and take you back in time to colonial plantation life but with all the modern luxuries you would expect. The staff are incredibly friendly and professional service and will ensure you have an experience in one of the most unique places in the world. The lodge can arrange quad bike tours of the islands as well as boat trips for fishing or whale watching.

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Praia Sundy

Praia Sundy is located in the north of Príncipe Island where rainforests border golden sand and turquoise water and it was once part of the second largest cocoa plantation on Príncipe. Beyond the beaches, where turtles sometimes come ashore to nest, humpback whales are a common summer sight and are often seen sheltering in the bay with their calves. The fifteen tented villas are hidden among almond and banana trees and all have views down to the sea. They come with one, two or three rooms and their style echoes that of the fisherman’s huts that where once in their place. Weathered wood panelling and timber decks with spacious indoor and outdoor areas with eye-catching local artefacts dotted about. Each has a private terrace and the three-bed villas come with a private pool. The main bar with infinity pool is the epicentre of activity during the day while the beautifully designed bamboo dining area is where you will get to taste seasonal dishes using the islands fresh produce. There is plenty to do at Praia Sundy with island and community tours as well as scuba diving, snorkelling, boat trips with whale and dolphin watching and deep sea fishing.

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Roça Sundy

Today, most of the plantations (Roças) on Príncipe have been absorbed back into the local communities, but Roça Sundy has been carefully transformed into an affordable guest house with just twelve en-suite rooms, split between two houses, for those who love sustainability and escape. At Roca Sundy you will be cared for by an outstanding team of staff recruited from within the local community to deliver a personal, friendly and authentic service. Wake up to the sound of cockerels, get to know the children who love to wave and say hello, play football with the local team. Roça Sundy is a sustainable tourism project that provides unique experiences through interaction with the local community, allowing guests to discover the extraordinary qualities of Príncipe Island through the practice of responsible tourism. During your stay you can go on tours of the island and learn about other plantations, boat trips for fishing or whale watching as well as monitoring female sea turtles that lay their eggs on the beaches of Principe between September and April.

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