Private Tour of São Tomé - São Tomé Discovery Holiday

São Tomé (Private) Discovery

Style: TravellerCultural discovery away from the crowds
Duration: 8 days
Type: PrivateExclusive departures for you, your friends and family


Imagine travelling to a tropical paradise with white palm fringed beaches, crystal clear water, unexplored jungle and a friendly people who rarely see tourists. Welcome to São Tomé, a remote island off the coast of central Africa that few people have even heard of, let alone been to. On our tour we explore the colonial heritage of the island by staying in old plantation houses, walk through unspoiled forests in the interior and relax on pristine beaches. Explore a truly undiscovered destination.

Tour Rating

Fitness ●●○○○ | Off the Beaten Track ●●●●○ | Culture ●●●○○ | History ●●●○○ | Wildlife ●●●○○

Tour Pace


Tour Highlights

  • Discover a largely undiscovered, uniquely rewarding and safe destination with an exciting blend of African, Portuguese and Caribbean culture
  • Walk in the rainforest in search of hidden waterfalls and endemic bird
  • A relaxing and laid back holiday in a truly undiscovered destination

Tour Essentials

Accommodation: Comfortable hotel accommodation and basic ‘Roças’ (plantation houses)
Included Meals: Daily breakfast (B), plus lunches (L) and dinners (D) as shown in the itinerary
Group Size: Private
Start Point: São Tomé
End Point: São Tomé
Transport: 4WD or minibuses
Countries: São Tomé

Tour Itinerary Notes

While our intention is to adhere to the day-by-day itinerary as printed below, a degree of flexibility is built in. Overnight stops may vary from those suggested and on occasions alternative accommodation, of a similar standard to that named below, will be used.

Tour Guide

Our guides are a key strength, chosen for their knowledge of and passion for the areas in which they work. All of our guides are carefully hand-picked, and are not just passing through these countries, but are usually locally born. Unlike some companies it should be noted we do not send a guide or tour leader from Undiscovered Destinations in the UK as we have every confidence in our locally appointed representative who is responsible for operating the tour on our behalf. Where possible you will have the same guide throughout your trip but on occasions it may be necessary to change the guide at one or more points during the tour.

Day 1 – Arrive São Tomé

Arrive in São Tomé and transfer to your hotel with the rest of the evening free to relax after your flight. Overnight Hotel Miramar or similar 

Day 2 – São Tomé Town

Explore the island’s capital on a tour of the city. Among other sites we visit the National Museum, the local market and the cathedral. We continue by 4WD to the coffee plantation of Monte Café in the mountainous interior, where we can see how coffee is produced. We will end the trip with a cup of coffee at Cascata de Sao Nicolau (Saint Nicolas' waterfall) passing by the modern plantation of Nova Moca. Overnight Hotel Miramar or similar

São Tomé Town

São Tomé Town has to be the sleepiest capital city anywhere in the world. Founded in the 15th century by Portuguese slavers, the small town is full of fading colonial buildings, giving it a charming ambience and making it a great place to wander round, especially in the late hours of the afternoon. The town has a handful of good restaurants, many overlooking the water, which make for a scenic and relaxing place to grab some food and a beer and watch the fishermen bring in their catches.

Day 3 - São Tomé Town - Bombaim

We take an easy hike to Bombaim on the border of Obo National Park, passing a pretty waterfall en route. We stay tonight in Roca Bombaim. In the middle of the island of São Tomé, surrounded by forest, mountains and waterfalls, this plantation house is the ideal point of departure for trekking and losing your stress. Overnight Roca Bombaim or similar (BD) 


São Tomé’s initial raison d’etre was as a depot for slaves on their way from the African interior, and as effectively an enormous plantation. Portuguese traders imported unfortunate souls from the mainland, setting them to work on vast sugar cane plantations, and the island soon became the most important producer of the commodity in Africa, fuelled by slave labour under brutal conditions. Sugar cultivation declined from the 16th century onwards under competition from better quality cane from the New World, and in the 19th century São Tomé’s plantation owners turned to coffee and cocoa, establishing themselves as a serious presence on the world market. The Portuguese abolition of slavery in the late 19th century did little to improve conditions for workers, but pressure from international buyers eventually meant that minor changes were made to the plantations, which had schools and hospitals built on each property. After independence the plantations were nationalised and production declined enormously, and now, although reprivatised, they are a shadow of their former selves. Many of the old plantation guesthouses now allow tourists to stay, giving a unique insight into the history of this tiny country.

Day 4 - São João dos Angolares

Transfer by 4WD to São João, on the island’s east coast. Once we arrive there is time to explore the local area on foot, perhaps venturing down to the beach or checking out the tiny but relaxed town. We stay in a plantation house, near some of the most famous beaches of the island, this is a cultural centre and working ecological plantation in one. Overnight at the Roça de São João (BD) 

São João dos Angolares

The tiny settlement of São João dos Angolares sits on the east coast of the island, bordered by Obo National Park, takes its name from the Angolan slaves who were shipwrecked here in the 16th century, and whose descendants live here now. The inhabitants speak Angolar, a unique Creole dialect found nowhere else.

Day 5 – Rolas Island

After breakfast at the plantation house, drive to the southern tip of São Tomé island and transfer by boat from Ponta Baleia to Rolas Island, straddling the equator. Relax and enjoy the charms of this isolated outpost of the African continent. Overnight Pestana Equador Island Resort. (BD) 

Rolas Island

Miniscule Rolas Island sits off the southern tip of São Tomé, rising to a volcano in the middle and with fantastic palm fringed beaches. A number of walking trails take you into the middle of the island, where you can find an old lighthouse and the Equator mark, signifying the borders of the northern and southern hemispheres. The island itself is easy to walk around and makes for an early morning or late afternoon stroll. 

Day 6 – Rolas Island

A day at leisure to relax without any pre-paid sightseeing or activities included. Perhaps visit the Equator mark, enjoy the beach or visit the natural blowholes along the coast. Overnight Pestana Equador Island Resort. (BD)

Day 7 - São Tomé Town

Transfer back to the mainland and along the east Coast to São Tomé Town where the day is free to explore this charming sleepy capital further. Overnight Hotel Miramar or similar. (BD) 

Day 8 - São Tomé Town

A day at leisure to relax without any pre-paid sightseeing or activities included until it is time for your transfer to the airport late this afternoon (B)

Arrival and departure transfers
All accommodation
Services of English speaking guide / driver for transfers – otherwise this tour is unescorted
Meals as listed (B – Breakfast, L – Lunch, D – Dinner)
Entrance fees for sites listed as part of the itinerary

International flights
Any airport taxes
Travel Insurance

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