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Sao Tome and Principe: the Far-flung Archipelago

In December 2019, the coronavirus was apparently confined to China. But, a few weeks later, the virus became a global pandemic. As the world grapples with the Covid-19 pandemic, there are still a few countries that have zero cases of the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. Sao tome and Principe though being one of the naturally isolated countries which were corona free till April 6 reported 235 Cases of coronavirus.

The pair of far-flung islands that is Sao Tome and Principe is barely Africa’s best-known tourist destination. Nor is the tiny country the most manifestly of African places. For starters, the whole population is Portuguese-speaking and then there is the colonial feel of the towns and villages, which gives the character of the New World more than that of sub-Saharan country. However, there is still a vibrant style to life that is undeniably African, not to forget a kitchen of spiced fish cuts and banana pap porridge that spans the culinary ethnicities of both east and west.

If that’s enticed the travel glands, then add a treasure of gorgeous golden-sand beaches to the mix, rare aquatic turtles and stunning mountain towns, along with the rising pinnacles of volcanic mountains, rare monkey species and more, and the wild and wonderful Sao Tome and Principe become pretty darn hard to resist! One must visit these places if planning an international trip in coming time to this country:

 

Sao Tome

Sao Tome
Sao Tome

 

A chocolate box of lovely Romanesque churches and lavish colonial buildings, palm-lined boulevards, and attractive plazas, Sao Tome is the only real city on these islands.

The capital, and the economic hub, the political center, and the main marketplace, it is laden with the likes of the Presidential Palace and Independence Square.

Explore into the Central Market here interlaced between terracotta-tiled townhouses, beautiful Baroque fronts, and the cannon-dotted barricades of Fort Sao Sebastian, all before hitting the mesmerizing exhibitions of the National Museum.

After that, you will discover lazy coffee shops on the cobbles and plenty of places for strolling along the seashore of beautiful Ana Chaves Bay

 

Obo National Park

Obo National Park (Sao Tome)
Obo National Park (Sao Tome)

 

Ethereal and awesome, the Obo National Park is one that hardly fails to take the breath away.

With a vast area of more than 230 square kilometers on the southern side of Sao Tome and Principe, the boundless wilderness ranges from salt-washed mangroves on the coast to virgin Atlantic rainforests in the highlands. Capped by the mighty, needle-like bluff of Pico Cao Grande, the park soars straight into the clouds.

And along the coast, the mountains take the form of great square-cut escarpments and lofty over the waves of the Atlantic Ocean below.

Safaris and treks here will expose beautiful tropical backcountry, along with grey parrots, mona monkeys, and loads of uber-rare birds!

 

Santo António

Santo Antonio | Sao Tome and Principe| Travel Links Magazine
Santo Antonio | Sao Tome and Principe| Travel Links Magazine

 

The capital of tiny little Principe is a nip-sized town on the north shore of the island, and home to the bulk of its people. A sleepy place of age-stained colonial structures and mud-splattered pueblo-style homes, it is got a certain authentic charm.

The twisting channels of the Palhota River cut through the heart of the town, intersecting the seaside streets as they weave along the shore through palm groves and swamp flats.

Meanwhile, the green volcanic hills of the island’s inland beckon on the horizon and local fishermen bow in their boats by the riparian jetties.

 

Santana

 

Santana | Sao Tome and Principe | Travel Links Magazine
Santana | Sao Tome and Principe | Travel Links Magazine

A famous spot for beach lovers and luxury seekers in search of Sao Tome’s remarkable combination of sand, sea, and sun on the Atlantic, the little town of Santana spills down to the coastline on the eastern edge of the island, emerging from the lanky palms of the jungle and the volcanic hills

It is known mainly for the commended Club Santana Resort, which offers bungalows and pretty cabanas just a stone’s throw from the golden sands of the Santana Beach.

 

Monte Café

Monte Cafe | Sao Tome and Principe | Travel Links Magazine
Monte Cafe | Sao Tome and Principe | Travel Links Magazine

 

You will have to go deep into the volcanic mountain ranges in the heart of Sao Tome island to find the aged colonial workshops and coffee-growing haciendas of Monte Cafe.

Once there, you will enjoy beautiful views of the palm-dotted highlands of the country, along with one praised coffee museum, chronicling the cultivation, sales, and history of the island’s major commerce.

 

Rolas Island: Sao Tome and Principe

 

Deteriorating in the Atlantic like the teardrop of Sao Tome, just a quick boat ride away from the south of the island, the dot on the map that is Rolas Island is famous for its sparkling white-sand beaches and paradisiacal veneer.

The sands are perpetually totally secluded, pouring down from the jungle-covered coast in a medley of boulder-speckled coves and long sections of sun-splashed ivory hues.

 

Trindade: Sao Tome and Principe

Trindade | Travel Links Magazine |

 

This small town sits high above the capital, atop the mounting ridges of the inland hills.

It is enclosed by the great swathes of coffee plantations and cacao growing fields (that make up the bigger Me-Zochi District.

However, it is the haunting and decrepit character of the old colonial illustrations that really strike visitors to the town – they stand like ghosts of a former age all along the pot-holed roads.

 

Boca de Inferno: Sao Tome and Principe

Boca do Inferno. Sao Tomé. | Travel Links Magazine
Boca do Inferno. Sao Tomé. | Travel Links Magazine

 

The inquisitive geological creations that jab out to meet the swells of the Atlantic on the eastern shore of Sao Tome find their summit with the strikingly named Boca de Inferno (that’s Hell’s Mouth in English). Visitors gather to this spot just a short drive south of the capital, to see as the salty whitecaps bang against the shore, and the currents draw water into an underground cave, all before they shoot sky-high like some marine geyser.

 

Jale Beach: Sao Tome and Principe

 

For folk who flock to Sao Tome to see the rare marvel of turtles clambering over the beaches and laying their eggs, there is perhaps no better place than the arc of golden sand that is Jale Beach.

Curving its way around the curves of the southern coast, this bay is one of the top places to spot rare sea turtles during the breeding season.

 

Santo Amaro:  Sao Tome and Principe

 

Santo Amaro is slowly becoming adjoined with the growing suburbs of the capital at Sao Tome city, which sits just a little to the south-east. However, for now it remains separate; bathed in sleepy, lethargic vibes, and ticking over to a slow, island rhythm.

The center itself has just a bit of low-rise homes and tiny squares. There is the occasional ad hoc café, along with a charming church to see. What is more, Santo Amaro has easy access to the nearby area of Bela Vista – a part of the capital – and the runways of the archipelago’s only international airport.

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