Uncovering the bittersweet island nation of São Tomé and Príncipe
When I first started researching the tiny and remote islands of São Tomé and Príncipe, I couldn’t understand why every itinerary I came across sent people straight to the smaller of the two islands and, bar an extreme hike or old landmark, São Tomé was hardly celebrated at all.
Inner city chaos in São Tomé. Photo by Adriaan Louw.
I convinced myself that it must be because everyone who goes there to document the place is either sent by a media house or travel agency and doesn’t have the time or inclination to go beneath the surface. How could such a beautiful place (or at least as beautiful as I could make it out to be by way of Instagram and some of the past travellers who had documented it online) not be mind-blowingly beautiful, perfectly undiscovered and full of gems? It turns out I was right but also very wrong.
I suppose it's arrogant to think we can still discover new lands in this day and age.
In case you’ve never heard of the place, like so many who admitted to turning to Google when they found out where I was going, or looking up my location tags while I was en route, São Tomé and Príncipe is an African island nation off the West Coast of Central Africa, lying just above the Equator. The islands form part of a volcanic chain that is spread out over a section of warm ocean, just a few degrees off the very centre of the world map.
Download my mini guide for Safarious (website now closed) here:
See more photography (from Francisco Nogueira) here >>
And see some of the incredible footage captured on the islands here...