From October to April it’s turtle time on the breathtaking beaches of tiny Príncipe. Hawksbill, leatherback and olive ridley turtles hustle ashore to nest during the final months of the year before the tiny hatchlings make their perilous sprint into the inviting ocean from January to April.
In case you’re not absolutely sure where it is, Príncipe and the larger São Tomé are just off the coast of Gabon in West Africa - a region much less visited, but no less spectacular than its east and southern counterparts.
Cooled by ocean breezes these mountainous islands enjoy a year round temperature of 27c and offer spectacular scenery. Spiked peaks which rise up to 2,000 metres above sea level dramatically drop into cloaked rainforest and old cocoa plantations “rocas”, which run down to glorious golden beaches like Praia Banana. Soft sandy praias are in their turn lapped by the ocean where you can snorkel and dive among the reef fish and turtles.
Although this former Portuguese colony was once the world’s principal producer of cocoa, the pace of life is charmingly unhurried and we think that around 10 days here would be precisely what mind, body and soul require after the last 18 months.
The perfect introduction to the islands is a few days in the capital São Tomé city, a melting pot of culture and history, described as Africa’s Havana.
Your senses heightened, it’s a short flight to Príncipe and the charms of Roca Sundy in a beautifully restored plantation house where you can relax on the veranda with a long cool drink and gaze at tropical birds flitting among luxuriant trees.
Then we’ll take you to the island’s northern tip to Sundy Praia where boat trips, snorkelling, whale watching, diving and rainforest walks showcase the island’s biological diversity. Between explorations, make yourself at home in one of fifteen superb tented suites at Sundy Praia Luxury Tented Lodge. The fish shaped bamboo restaurant recently won the Versailles Special Prize for its innovative architecture. The food’s pretty amazing too, inspired by what the ocean provides and organic local produce.