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São Tomé and Príncipe

Main attractions

Pico Cão Grande, São Tomé
Pico Cão Grande rising above the rainforest / Helena Van Eykeren, CC BY 2.0

Although São Tomé and Príncipe is very small country, it has amazing scenery and some exciting landmarks.

Visually most impressive is the fantastic Pico Cão Grande, but even more amazing is the unique montane rainforest in both main islands. Here live hundreds of species not met anymore else in the world.

This small African country has also some outstanding architecture landmarks, to some extent it even resembles a reserve of historical Portuguese colonial architecture.

Natural landmarks

Cliff formations

  • Boca de Inferno - São Tomé. Impressive sea spout. Waves here are directed into narrow channels, surrounding an interesting basalt formation.
  • Boca de Inferno, São Tomé
    Boca de Inferno / Maria Cartas, CC BY-SA 2.0
    Pico Cão Grande - São Tomé. Dramatic needle-shaped volcanic plug which rises more than 300 m above its surroundings.
  • Pico Cão Pequeno - São Tomé. Smaller - but nevertheless impressive volcanic plug not too far from the enormous Cão Grande.


  • Bombaim Falls - São Tomé. Waterfall in rainforest.
  • São Nicolau Falls - São Tomé. Picturesque waterfall which slides down along the cliff in rainforest.
Rainforest in the central São Tomé
Rainforest in the central São Tomé / Helena Van Eykeren, CC BY 2.0


  • Lagoa Amélia - São Tomé. Mist forest with unusual, endemic species of plants. Here grow endemic begonias - more than 3 m tall Begonia crateris and Begonia baccata, the endemic gymnosperm Afrocarpus mannii and the more usual Spiny Tree Ferns Alsophila manniana (and some 150 species of other tree ferns), endemic orchids and other rare and interesting plants. Here lives unique snail Thyrophorella thomensis - the only snail which can close a "door" of his shell. Locals often consider that this dense rainforest is a mysterious and ghostly place.
  • Pico de Príncipe - Príncipe. Highest summit in Príncipe island, 948 m (?) above the sea level. This montane rainforest is very rich with endemic species, including several species of birds, reptiles, amphibians and subspecies of shrew Crocidura poensis. Further research might bring new discoveries.

Man made landmarks

San Sebastian Fort, São Tomé
San Sebastian Fort / Helena Van Eykeren, CC BY 2.0


  • Santo António da Ponta da Mina Fortress - Príncipe. Ruins of fort, most likely built in 1695 and reinforced in later times.
  • São Jerónimo Fortress - Sao Tomé. Ruins of fortress which was built in 1566.
  • San Sebastian Fort (São Sebastião Fort) - Sao Tomé. Earliest European building in Sao Tomé, construction was started in 1575, later the fort was enlarged. Lighthouse located here since 1866. Currently one of best preserved historical forts in this part of the world. Contains museum.

Other man made landmarks

  • Agostinho Neto planation - Sao Tomé. Administrative centre of once rich Portuguese plantation. Plantation was founded in 1865 and here in colonial style was built whole town. Main palace is enormous structure with three floors. There are several historical plantations on the island, including Água Izé, Monte Café and others.
  • Santo António - Príncipe. Historical capital of São Tomé and Príncipe in the time period from 1753 to 1852. City is rich with colonial architecture which is overgrowing with jungle.
  • Sao Tomé Cathedral - Sao Tomé. Large and old cathedral. It is possible that its construction started in the late 15th century. Current structure was built (or renovated) in 1576 - 1578, restored in 1814. Its facade was altered in 1956.

List of described attractions by provinces

São Tomé and Príncipe is divided into 2 provinces.

São Tomé
ArrowBombaim FallsWaterfall

Map of São Tomé and Príncipe

Featured: Bombaim Falls

Bombaim Falls, São Tomé
Bombaim Falls / João Máximo, Flickr, CC BY 2.0.

This small waterfall is located in spectacular jungle setting. It falls down along moss and fern covered cliff.

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