Landmarks of São Tomé and Príncipe

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

Most interesting landmarks of Sao Tome and Principe

Below are listed the most amazing natural and man made landmarks of Sao Tome and Principe.

Natural landmarks of Sao Tome and Principe

Cliff formations

Boca de Inferno, São Tomé
Boca de Inferno / Maria Cartas, / CC BY-SA 2.0
  • Boca de Inferno – São Tomé. Impressive sea spout. Waves here are directed into narrow channels, surrounding an interesting basalt formation.
  • 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.

Waterfalls

  • Bombaim Falls – São Tomé. Waterfall in rainforest.
  • São Nicolau Falls – São Tomé. Picturesque waterfall which slides down along the cliff in rainforest.

Ecosystems

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 of Sao Tome and Principe

Fortifications

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 of Sao Tome and Principe

  • 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.

Described landmarks of Sao Tome and Principe

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Bombaim Falls: 0.248960, 6.643986

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 which are 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.

Featured: Bombaim Falls

Bombaim Falls, São Tomé and Príncipe
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.

Recommended books

São Tomé e Príncipe


This book is a personal “point-in-time” description of the unique West African country of São Tomé e Príncipe as it presented itself to the author in 2015. It is not intended as a traditional travel guide although it does contain an introduction with practical information. Rather, it takes the reader on tours around the country’s two main islands introducing both the magnificent scenery and the wonderful people.

Sao Tome & Principe (Bradt Travel Guides)


Marooned off the coast of Gabon, the volcanic islands of São Tomé & Príncipe are a largely undiscovered, uniquely rewarding and safe destination with an exciting blend of African, Portuguese and Caribbean cultures. Explore secluded beaches and colonial plantation houses; spot endemic rainforest birds and learn about medicinal plants; scale the Pico and dive in toasty waters; taste the world’s best chocolate; watch turtles hatching and get into the laid-back, ‘léve-léve’ Santomean groove. This remains the only dedicated guide to this island paradise.

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