Sao Tome & Principe
by Kathleen Becker
São Tomé and Príncipe travel guide – advice and expert travel tips, including São Tomé highlights; islands including Bom Bom and Ilhéu das Cabras; beaches such as Banana and Micondó; resorts and hotels; and activities such as diving, surfing and SUP. Also covering Príncipe, culture, wildlife, flora, hiking, and birdwatching.
About this book
Bradt’s São Tomé & Príncipe is the only standalone guide to Africa’s second-smallest country, considered by some to be the centre of the world as it is the site of the closest point to the intersection of the Greenwich Meridian and the Equator. In this comprehensively updated third edition, Kathleen Becker – regular tour leader for a major tour operator on São Tomé – provides priceless insider information to the best spots for sleeping, eating and drinking, hiking, watersports, turtle watching and rainforest hikes.
Since the previous edition of this guide, a wider choice of accommodation has become available: trendy guesthouses, a surf lodge, a homestay and new plantation tourism on Príncipe to name a few options. Maybe the biggest surprise to visitors is the gourmet food available here, from the ‘best chocolate in the world’ to the freshest fish, straight from the beach alongside the Equator mark. Meanwhile, Príncipe, São Tomé’s jewel sister island, is now a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, and offers watersports opportunities such as stand up paddle and surfing lessons.
Bradt’s São Tomé & Príncipe is the perfect companion for independent travellers, wildlife enthusiasts, trekkers, foodies and anyone interested in colonial history and African developments. This indispensable guide to one of Africa’s most important biodiversity hotspots offers sections on background and practical information, followed by four easy-to-follow chapters on São Tomé and a dedicated chapter on Príncipe. It shows the way to plantations lost in time and an organic cocoa cooperative, and also includes local expressions, advice on cultural and medical issues as well as on how to get by on a budget in a destination without backpacker infrastructure. All budgets are catered for, from luxurious chic boutique resorts to city apartments and budget guesthouses. It also includes additional contributions by local experts on wildlife, politics and economy, controversies and tourism.
About the Author
A tour leader, travel writer and translator, Kathleen Becker spends a large part of the year on São Tomé & Príncipe, the tiny cocoa islands on the equator, leading hiking groups for UK and German operators. A European Creole of German-Irish heritage, she first explored São Tomé & Príncipe for Bradt’s pioneering guide in 2006.
Recently picked up by mainstream travel media as one of the Top Ten Places to Visit in the World, São Tomé & Príncipe is one of those places that stays with you. With Kathleen’s guide, part the thick green curtains of the rainforest on a trail once taken by escaped slaves, grapple with kizomba moves in the company of the dance-mad youngsters (the median age is 18), learn to tell the endemic Speirops from the White-eye or watch a turtle dig her nest on deserted beaches, sample the latest fluffy creation at a new chocolate factory, surf the warm waters of magic Seven Waves Beach, and share a slice of humble daily life with the friendly and curious Santomeans. Leve-leve is the country’s motto with many meanings: a response to a greeting, an invitation to take things slowly, to go with the flow, but also in the right direction with an assured step. Based in a workaday city neighbourhood of street food sellers when not leading tours, she was involved in ecotourism training along the Cocoa Route in the north in 2015 and started teaching English to local agency guides in 2018, picking up aspects of Santomean life and Creole words from her students along the way – sharing in the lifelong adventure of learning.
This edition was updated with the help of Sean Connolly ([ig] shanboqol), who first travelled to Africa as a student in 2008 and returns to the continent whenever possible to research, teach or simply soak up the ambiance in Africa’s countless little-visited corners. He’s been poring over maps since before he could read them, and working with Bradt Guides since 2011. Along with authoring two editions of Bradt’s Senegal, he’s also updated or contributed to the Bradt guides to Somaliland, Malawi, Mozambique, Ghana, Uruguay, Sierra Leone, two editions of Rwanda and Gabon. He first visited and fell in love with STP in 2015, and has been raving about it to anyone who will listen ever since.
Additional InformationTable of Contents
PART ONE GENERAL INFORMATION
Chapter 1 Background Information
Geography and climate, Natural history and conservation, History, Politics and society, Economy, People, Religion, Education, Culture
Chapter 2 Practical Information
When to visit, Highlights, Tour operators, Red tape, Embassies and consulates, Getting there and away, Health, Safety, What to take, Money and budgeting, Getting around, Accommodation, Eating and drinking, Public holidays, Opening hours, Shopping and services, Activities, Arts and entertainment, Photography, Media and communications, Language, Tourism, Cultural etiquette, Travelling positively
PART TWO SÃO TOMÉ
Chapter 3 São Tomé: the Capital
Highlights, Getting there and away, Getting around, Tourist information and travel agencies, Where to stay, Where to eat and drink, Entertainment and nightlife, Shopping, Other practicalities, What to see and do, Around the city
Chapter 4 The North and Northwest
Highlights, Getting around, From Sao Tomé to Guadalupe, Guadalupe town, Northern beaches, From Guadalupe to Neves, Neves, Neves to the end of the road
Chapter 5 The Interior
Highlights, Getting around, Trindade, From Trindade to Bombaim, Towards Bom Sucesso, Monte Café and Nova Moca
Chapter 6 The East and South
Highlights, Getting around, From Sao Tomé to Sao Joao dos Angolares, Sao Joao dos Angolares and around, From Sao Joao dos Angolares to Porto Alegre, Porto Alegre, Ilhéu das Rolas, The Southwest
PART THREE PRÍNCIPE
Chapter 7 Príncipe
Highlights, History, Culture and tradition, Getting there and away, Activities, Getting around, Other practicalities, Santo António, Exploring the rest of Príncipe, Bom Bom Island resort
Appendix 1 Glossary of species
Appendix 2 Language
Appendix 3 Further Information