Country - Sao Tome and Principe
Sao Tome and Principe Country Information
Sao Tome and Principe is a collective name given to the group of two principal small islands (one is known as Sao Tome and the other is called Principe) and the surrounding small islets. The archipelago is located off the western coast of Central Africa in the Gulf of Guinea of Atlantic Ocean.
In the world map the island Principe lies above in the northwest of the island Sao Tome in the Gulf of Guinea. The distance between the two islands Principe and Sao Tome is 181 kilometers. The archipelago lies close to the mainland of West Africa. Gabon in the west of African continent is 567 kilometres from the island Sao Tome. The island of Principe is located 318 kilometres from Equatorial Guinea.
The official name of the archipelago is Democratic Republic of Sao Tome and Principe. The official language is Portuguese. The total population was 2.04 lakhs as per the estimates of 2017 and the average density of population was 211 per square kilometer on account of its small geographical area of 964 square kilometers. The capital of the archipelago is city Sao Tome, named after the island in which the city is located. The city of Santo Antonio is the capital of the island Principe. The entire archipelago is commonly referred to by the short name Sao Tome itself.
The islands were devoid of human population till 15th century when Portuguese discovered the territory and found it suitable for cultivation of sugarcane crop. Slave workers were brought from adjacent African nations for rearing sugarcane. After about three and half centuries, sugarcane production was replaced by cocoa cultivation which became the backbone for the economy of the country. Cocoa production was quite copious till the end of the 20th century. When the output of cocoa began to decline, Sao Tome was compelled to look out for other sources of revenue like tourism.
The major items of exports are cocoa, copra, coffee and palm oil. Sao Tome mainly imports machinery, electrical equipment, petroleum products and food. As per the estimates of 2018, the total exports amounted to US $ 2.3 million and the gross value of imports was US $ 32.52 million resulting in deficit balance of payments as ever. In the wake of the perpetuating foreign debt that has been the growing concern of the economy for the last several years, Sao Tome has begun exploring its potential in the tourism industry.
In spite of its low income economy, Sao Tome is a small and cosy paradise with several natural locales that impel the visitors to redefine their opinion about the country.
Bom Bom Island is a cute little beach resort that has everything that a natural beach resort ought to offer for tourists. The thatched hutments have a green lawn in the front-yard and a row of widely separated coconut trees that make the view of seashore from the cottages even more beautiful than it originally is. Once you are out into sea, either by kayaks or by speed boats, you begin to enjoy the dark blueness of waters in which you can get to see dolphins merrily jumping and taking archly leaps over the surface of water. When you can spot whales that come occasionally in the vicinity of your boat swimming across like a silent surprise, your joy will keep swelling out in proportion with the size of the whale.
You can become a marine animal yourself by snorkelling into deep azure waters of Lagoa Azul (which is endearingly called blue lagoon by locals and tourists) and you can enjoy the pleasure of swimming along with green sea turtles, different species of fishes and squids. Lagoa Azul is situated a little beyond the less-populated beaches of Praia das Conchas and Praia das Tamarindos.
Principe Island, the counterpart of Sao Tome, is no mean touring spot when it comes to topographic undulating formations of the terrain. Even if you do not get down from your boat for deep-diving, a mere circular boat-trip around green hillocks fills you with inexplicable joy.
The island of Principe is also home to thousands of parrots that soar freely in the green jungle. Bird watching is a special activity that entertains tourists of the island of Principe as well as the southern part of Sao Tome where more than 135 species of birds were identified enthusiastically by ornithologists.
Boca de Inferno is a natural blowhole from which rapid jets of compressed water shoot up through the orifices of dead volcanic rocks. The Cascata Sau Nicolau (Saint Nikolaus Waterfall) is a wide stream of water current by which the surrounding vegetation seems to be tickled pink with pleasure.