Tomé e Príncipe
São Tomé e Príncipe are the islands for every individualist, for scientists or tourists. For every businessman who specializes in Africa. For every traveler who would like to see Africa, but is afraid of some instable mainland states. For every tourist who desires security during his holiday. For every mountain climber and hiker who fancies african mountains around the 2000 meter mark (former volcano, like the Pico with its 2024 meters). For every scuba diver who always searches for new and rather unexplored diving sites. For adventurers, yachtsmen and surfers, for geography teachers, restless folks and all those who claim to know Africa like their back-pocket...
Admit it: you have never heard of this independent state before. That's because São Tomé e Príncipe is one of the last paradieses left on earth. The state is formed by the two islands of São Tomé and Príncipe, nearly 800 kilometers off the west-African coast and only a couple of kilometers apart from each other.
The main island also gave name to the state's capital: São Tomé. For many years it has been the peaceful and safe home of the islands 35.000 inhabitants, the Sãotomese (official language of the country is portuguese-creol, but the communication in all world languages, including German). On this island peace has been a middle name for the centuries. The republican army, serving for 25 years and consisting of 200 men, only serves representative purposes.
The infrastructure of the island spreads very widely. A 100 kilometer network of paved streets was inherited from the Portugese, best to be discovered by four wheel drive rental car. Comfortable accommodation is supplied by the 4-star "Hotel Miramar" (opened in June 1997) with its German manager, an excellent chef and caring service. Still, the rooms are moderately priced (single room starting at US$ 80 /double at US$ 120 ).
is a springboard to Africa where the cards are shuffled from the
beginning. São Tomé is on the doorstep of the continent and offers a well-equipped
airport that is mainly served by the air-busses of the portugese airline TAP.
The saotomese government also intends to turn its land into an free-trade zone and an african tax paradise. In addition the local coffee- and cocoa industry is starting to emerge again. At the turn of the century, São Tomé used to be the world's largest producer of cocoa. Spoiled by the perfect climate, world's most expensive and most desired Coffee grows on the island - the beans of the famous 'Monte Cafe' are sold four US-dollars above the world market price (of nearly 1,60 dollar) and sold out for the next ten years.
Above all, São Tomé is most certainly traveler's paradise. Wilder than the Capverdes, more beautiful than Mauritius, closer to Europe than the Caribian and, of course, 12 months of summer!
The islands tempt with clean beaches, a pleasant tropical climate, rain forest and mountains on very narrow space.