Sao Tome and Principe

If you like quietude, plan a vacation to São Tomé & Príncipe – the second-smallest African country. Both of these are tiny volcanic bumps and are anchored off Gabonese coast. They win the tripper’s hearts due to their Portuguese-Creole flavours and relaxed vibes. You’d enjoy more if you have the ‘take in easy’ mood and these islands are apt for leisure and pleasure!

The laid-back tempo is added with wealthy natural sights-to-see, for example, it has miles of palm-fringed beaches, large swathes of emerald rainforests, high volcanic peaks and amicable fishing villages. You’d get to see the excellent birdlife and endemic plants. In the seasons of turtles and whales, they are attractive to spot out.

Both the island nations have cultural gems, with numerous heritage buildings which date back to the colonial era. They also have impressive plantation estates called roças. The tourism industry is still low-key, but is developing in an ecological perspective and will be carefully controlled. There are a number of locally run resorts, reasonably charged hotels and nature-oriented lodges.

The islands of São Tomé e Príncipe are literally isolated from the busy nations. This also gives you a reason to come somewhere you’ve never been, and see things you have never seen! The islands are aligned by volcanoes, rugged landscapes and dense forests. The forests tame some exotic birds to watch through.

There are two rainy seasons here – short rains during October and November, long rains during February and May. June to September, are the dry months when the skies stay clear with lot sunshine. The best to visit would depend on what you prefer – clear skies or short rains. On the other hand, December and January bring in numerous birds. Trekking is popular during the dry months, whereas mid-November to early February bring in turtles at the beaches. The whales and dolphins are mostly spotted from August to October.

The picturesque village of São Tomé lies on the equator. It is smattered with colonial Portuguese architecture and national parks. The history of these islands was once dominated by the slave trade and slaved-served plantations. The locals enthusiastically take care of the natural wonders, and that proves their cultural significance. The inhabitants are from Luso-African of Creole and are not very well to do.

The cuisine you’d get here is based on tropical crops, bananas and plantains. They get fishes from the waters and add various veggies to prepare the dishes. You’d see red palm oil being used in most fried recipes. Fruits bats and monkey meat are used in their traditional food culture.

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