Both main islands, São Tomé and Príncipe, are of volcanic origin and have low coastal and higher inland. The highest point is on the island of São Tomé; Pico de São Tomé, 2024 masl. Both islands have strong currents that flow down from the mountainous areas. The islands are separated by a ca. 140 km wide stretch of sea.
Read more about São Tomé and Príncipe and Plant and Wildlife at São Tomé and Príncipe.
The climate is warm and humid with few temperature variations throughout the year. The average temperature at sea level is about 26 ° C and the annual rainfall is about 1000 mm with a shorter rainfall period in June-August (tropical rainy climate).
Plant and wildlife on São Tomé and Príncipe
Tropical rainforest covers the lower parts of the islands that are not cultivated. It goes into mountain rainforest at altitude.
Because of the distance to the mainland, the mammalian fauna comprises only 8 naturally occurring species, mostly bats. Two of the bat species and a woodpecker are native (endemic). At least 135 bird species have been observed, of these nesting 49 on São Tomé and 35 on Príncipe. More than 50% of these are native. Among the most characteristic birds are herons, pigeons, icebergs, bluefish and weavers – as well as the famous parrot species jako.
Geography and environment
Both main islands are of volcanic origin with lowland along the coast and a higher inland. São Tomé’s highest point is Pico de São Tomé, 2024 meters above sea level in the middle of the island. The western slope is steeper than the eastern slope. The highest peak on Príncipe is Pico de Príncipe, 948 meters above sea level on the southern part of the island. Both islands have fast flowing waterways. The distance between the islands is about 140 kilometers.
It is humid with tropical rainy climate and few temperature variations throughout the year. The average temperature at sea level is around 26 o C. The daily maximum temperature is 29-30 o C and the minimum temperature 21-22 o C. The annual rainfall is about 1000 millimeters. The most rainy period is June – August.
The lower parts of the islands that are not cultivated are covered by tropical rainforest, which makes up about 74 percent of the land area. In higher areas there is mountain rain forest. About 895 species of vascular plants have been identified, including orchids, endemic (native) begoni species and many species of ferns.
There are few mammals. There are at least 114 bird species, of which 26 are endemic. The seven amphibian species are endemic.