Just back from a long weekend in São Tomé, very nice! It’s only 90 minutes flight from Accra with TAP, and we had a great time. São Tomé and Príncipe is a Portuguese-speaking country off the northwestern coast of Gabon. The two volcanic islands were discovered by the Portuguese in 1470 and became a base for slave trade, sugar cane, coffee and cocoa. São Tomé and Príncipe has been independent since 1975.
We had a very lazy weekend: we stayed at Mucumbli first, on the north west coast near Neves. Bungalows with terraces facing the sea, it was lovely waking up to the sound of waves and birds. Wonderful grilled fish, very peaceful.
It was a few degrees cooler than Accra, with a nice sea breeze, so it was amazingly fresh. Nice change to be outdoors and not be sweating all the time!
Driving through Neves. The blue CST booths are from the mobile phone company, and were all over. Lots of street food along the road, grilled maize and plantains.
Laundry drying on beach on the north coast: the goats left the laundry alone. interestingly, we saw fewer goats than in Ghana, but more stray dogs.
Neves is the home is Rosema, a local beer. Perfectly drinkable, especially with fresh grilled fish. No label on the bottle, you just know it’s Rosema.
After a couple days at Mucumbli (very nice!), we went east, to see another part of the island.
Day trip to the centre of the island: Monte Café, an old Portuguese plantation in Sao Tome and Principe. Very easy to organize a daytrip with a driver: north, centre, or south of island all possible. Plantations, waterfalls, beaches: all very acessible, easy place to be a tourist. We were more interested in coffee than beaches, but everyone says the south of São Tomé is gorgeous.
After the independence of São Tomé and Príncipe, in 1975, most of the plantations closed, but Monte Café still produces coffee and has a coffee museum. We bought local coffee in the coffee shop, arabica beans rather dark roasted but good. We also brought back Claudio Corallo coffee and some mystery local coffee (cafe saboroso) from a Chinese shop downtown. Otherwise São Tomé is more known for cocoa.
More to follow in part 2!