ABOUT THE COUNTRY
São Tomé and Príncipe is a small, magical island state about 200 kilometers off the West African coast. With its almost 200,000 inhabitants it is also the second smallest country on the continent. This is probably one of the reasons why it is so unknown.
That is a great pity, because it is certainly one of the last almost untouched paradises on our planet. Opulent landscapes, primeval forests and the more than 2000 meters high "Pico São Tomé" in the middle of the main island invite you to hike and discover the country.
The two islands of volcanic origin are home to more than 100 endemic plant species and many rare birds embedded in a breathtaking landscape scenario.
In the interior and around the former plantations, along the paths and roads, you will find numerous colorful and fragrant mango, jackfruit, golden plum and bread tree trees, many different kinds of bananas, pineapple, hibiscus and again and again coffee and cocoa.
Those who prefer to relax on the beach will find crystal clear light blue water and white sandy beaches. This is also where the famous TV spot for Bacardi was shot at the famous Banana Beach on Príncipe Island. During a snorkeling trip one discovers many small colorful fish, crabs, rays, turtles or squids.
In the bigger towns and on the markets, there is a colorful hustle and bustle, from the bars and restaurants you can hear music and laughter. Children play in the streets. Tourists are greeted friendly but left in peace.
But above all it is very relaxed. According to the motto "Leve leve", which means something like "Take it easy, everything will be fine", life in São Tomé and Príncipe always goes a little slower.
The main problem if the country is the high unemployment rate. There is not much work on the island apart from farming and fishing and the education is not very advanced. The paradisiacal seclusion also means that not many tourists get lost here.
But this should change, as everyone deserves a trip to this beautiful place on Earth. Those who look for big hotel castles do so in vain. A few luxurious hotels at the coasts and some smaller ones in the heartland would be very much looking forward to an upswing. Also former plantation houses were lovingly converted into accommodations and small hotels. They all have one thing in common: nice staff, loving design and a fantastic, exotic local cuisine to discover.
©2020 Lisa Meisterjahn