Fondly referred to as the African Galápagos, the islands of São Tomé and Príncipe in the Gulf of Guinea form part of a volcanic chain that showcases striking rock and coral formations, rainforests and golden beaches.
One of Africa’s best-kept secrets and named for the two largest islands in the archipelago is São Tomé and Príncipe. On the larger island of São Tomé is the Lagoa Azul lagoon, a small bay that forms part of the Obô Natural Park. Just northwest of the town of Guadalupe, it’s an increasingly popular spot for scuba diving and snorkelling. Ôbo itself is a biodiverse, verdant green jungle, that covers much of the landmass and is distinguished by Pico Cão Grande, a skyscraper-like towering volcanic rock.
As the smaller of the islands, Príncipe is sparsely populated and set on a heavily eroded volcano that is thought to be over three million years old. Islands are special places for naturalists as their isolation has allowed unique species to evolve and adapt, São Tomé and Príncipe are no different with dozens of fish, amphibians, snakes and bats specific to the archipelago. The islands are also home to a collection of exceptional eco-hotels.
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