Sao Tome and Principe, the best holiday we have ever had

We always love hearing about your holidays, so when Andy & Jacquie sent us an email saying their holiday with us to Sao Tome and Principe was ‘the best holiday we ever had’, we asked if we could share! Read on to discover their experiences:

Lisbon

Browns Boutique was centrally placed and offered exactly what we wanted; it was good job we were only there for three days as the cake and ice cream shops nearby was amazing.

Lisbon is a lovely city to relax in for a few days.

Sao Tome

Santana Beach was very comfortable and well positioned for the beach.  They served a fantastic octopus starter the first night we were there, with lots of other good food throughout our stay.

Our Jeep Safari was a bit of an eye opener. The scenery was very good and the old plantations, with their 1920s buildings very though provoking.  The 12 course meal that you arranged as part of this tour was exceptional; I’m not quite sure what we ate but there were tastes and textures that we hadn’t experienced before.

Obviously, Sao Tome was a quite wealthy country back in the day, something that they are obviously hoping that increased tourism will help them to achieve again.

The people were very friendly and we felt quite comfortable wandering around (even though some of the women had considerably large machetes). I was slightly concerned that our move to Principe would be disappointing after this experience……

Principe

What a place! Bom Bom Island Eco Lodge welcomed us from the airport and conveyed us to the resort. We were housed in a bungalow on the peninsular that was about 40′ up on a rocky outcrop. We had sea views on three sides with a day bed on a veranda that looked over a sandy cove fringed with Coconut Palms.

This was a very wild area with the constant sound of surf and wind.  Again the Jeep Safari gave us an insight into our locality and to how the island works.  We were amazed at how clean the villages and people were considering that all washing is done by hand, mainly in the streams and left to dry on the banks.  Equally the boat trip you arranged was great.

One of our highlights was a ‘Rainforest walk’ that we arranged with the hotel.

Our guide Neletto told us that he had been a security guard for 30 years who started to speak with the English people. He took us into the nearby forest where we waded in streams, ate fruits, sweated profusely, got harassed by mosquitos, saw birds, insects, crabs and vegetation.  Being under the rainforest canopy with all the strange sounds and smells was out of this world. We were introduced to local fishermen where, through him, we could converse on their way of life.

As we were out there during the rainy season, one of Jacquie’s wishes was that we experience a tropical storm. Well, on the final leg of our walk there was a huge clap of thunder followed by torrential rain. This made the steep sided hillside quite slippery but Neletto ensured that we got home safely.

We were so wet that we had to wring out all of our clothes! The route was billed as 2.7Km but I would suggest that you need to be fairly fit to complete it.

I would highly recommend this trip and of engaging Neletto as a guide.  We saw many interesting things that he pointed out that we would have just walked past without noticing.  It was a shame that the bridge to Bom Bom island had been washed away a few days before our arrival.

We were offered an upgrade to another resort just after we arrived but we felt we wanted to experience the environment we were in.  Meals were moved to the pool restaurant (or visitor centre in bad weather).  The staff were amazing, friendly, helpful and just very nice.  The main kitchen was still on the island which meant that many times a day the cooks had to climb into a rubber dingy, brave the surf, clamber into a bigger boat for the crossing to the jetty on the island.  The prepared food then had to be returned in the same manner to the open air kitchen attached to the pool bar.

At the end of our stay we were given a considerable discount for the inconvenience.  Another high point was that they cooked the 3kg fish that I caught, and served it for our evening meal.

We also had a wonderful birthday cake and meal with a glass of champagne, and happy birthday sung in Portuguese.

Sao Tome

Our final day was spent at Omali Lodge and we managed to venture into the city.  Again the architecture was out of this world and the people friendly.  The seafront fort museum, at 2 Euros was good value for a full tour with many interesting artefacts.

This was definitely the best holiday we have ever had.

Jacquie woke up every morning with a big smile on her face at the thought of what adventure awaited us that day.  All of the tours and transfers that you arranged were ready for us ahead of time.

If you want to know more about Sao Tome and Principe, our team of Activity Holidays Specialists has an extensive knowledge of these islands. We give the most choice and flexibility possible combining activities, accommodation and everything you need for a holiday that you will never forget.

We are a member of AITO (the Association of Independent Tour Operators) which encourages the highest standards in all aspects of tour operating. All members must adhere to the AITO Quality Charter.

Get in touch with us today on 01768 721050 or request a São Tomé holiday brochure

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