North Africa

Sao Tome and Principe Sightseeing Places

Visa requirements

Passport: is generally required for trips to Sao Tome and Principe, the passport must still be valid for at least 6 months upon departure.

Visa: is generally required.

Application: Consular section of the embassy in Brussels (see Sao Tome and Principe – important addresses). No visas are issued at Sao Tomé Airport.

Documents: Tourist visa: fee (transfer) – a passport photo (not older than 6 months, not larger than 3 X 4 cm) – a completed application form – passport (still valid for at least 6 months) – proof of a yellow fever vaccination.

Business visa: in addition a letter (in French) from the company stating the purpose of the trip, address of the contact company, confirmation of continued employment in Germany and confirmation of the assumption of costs

The application by post should be accompanied by a return envelope franked with 6.00 euros and a proof of payment for the visa fees.

Visa fees: 40.00 euros, express processing 50.00 euros

Processing time: about 7 to 9 working days, express processing about 3 to 5 working days.

Period of validity: valid for three months from the date of issue for a maximum stay of one month, however, extensions in the country are possible.

Vaccinations: Information on international vaccination certificates that are required for entry can be found in the chapter Sao Tome and Principe – Health.

Entry with children

Germany: German children’s ID or own passport (children’s passport or electronic passport)..
Austria: own passport for children.

Switzerland: own passport for children.

The same visa requirements apply to children as to their parents.

Sao Tome and Principe Sightseeing Places

Money

National currency: 1 Dobra = 100 cêntimos. It is often possible to pay in US dollars or euros, and some hotels, airlines and car rental companies even expect this. The West and Central African CFA is not accepted as payment in Sao Tome and Principe.

Currency abbreviation: STD – ABBREVIATIONFINDER.ORG

Banknotes are in circulation worth 50,000, 20,000, 10,000 and 5,000 Dobra. Coins are valued at 2,000, 1,000 and 500 dobra.

Currency exchange: Foreign currencies can be exchanged easily in banks and exchange offices.

Exchange rate Sao Tomé Dobra:

Currency converter at OANDA

Credit Cards: Visa and MasterCard are only accepted in upscale hotels

Traveler’s checks: accepted in hotels, shops and banks and should be in euros or US dollars.

ATMs: do not exist in Sao Tome and Principe

Foreign exchange regulations: No restrictions.

Bank opening times: Mon – Fri 7.30am – 11.30am.

Health conditions

Before starting the trip, travelers should get advice from an experienced tropical doctor and, if necessary, get the vaccine.

The health service of the Foreign Ministry recommends as sensible vaccinations: protection against tetanus, diphtheria, polio and hepatitis A, for long stays of more than 3 months also hepatitis B. With special exposure (e.g. stay in the country, hunting or jogging), vaccination against rabies and / or typhoid can be very useful.

A valid yellow fever vaccination is mandatory for entry into Sao Tome and Principe.

HIV / AIDS is a major problem in the country and a danger for everyone who runs the risk of infection: Sexual contact, dirty syringes or cannulas and blood transfusions can pose a great risk.

Through hygienic eating and drinking (only boiled, nothing just warmed up) and consistent mosquito protection (repellents, mosquito net, covering clothing, behavior), most of the dangerous diarrhea and numerous infectious diseases can be completely avoided. This also includes dengue fever and malaria.

In mid-April 2007, according to press reports, a cholera epidemic with around 77 patients (including 3 dead) spread in the area around the country’s largest hospital due to poor drinking water quality. According to official government statements, the situation is now under control again.

Various prescription drugs (e.g. malarone, doxycycline, Lariam) are available on the for malaria prophylaxis. The selection and personal adaptation as well as side effects or possible intolerance to other medications should be coordinated with a travel or tropical doctor before taking chemoprophylaxis.

The medical care in Sao Tome and Principe is not comparable to European conditions and is often technically, apparatus and / or hygienically inadequate. Well-trained doctors who speak English or French are often also missing.

In addition to my general disclaimer, please note the following important note:

A guarantee for the correctness and completeness of the medical information as well as a liability for possible damage cannot be assumed. You stay responsible for your healthy.

Travel in the country

Airplane: The national airline Air São Tomé flies three times a week from Sao Tomé to Principe Island (flight time about 40 minutes). Early reservations are recommended.

The airline itself flies with a plane from the South African Naturelink and only carries out the organizational handling of the flights. You fly in a twin-engine propeller aircraft with 18 seats. You can pay for the tickets with a Visa card in the Banco Internacional. It is advisable to leave your contact address (name of the guest house) if flight details change.

Ship: Freight ships travel between the two main islands every few days, transporting both people and goods. However, a warning is given against a crossing, as boats are repeatedly in distress.

From Porto Allegre on São Tomé you can translate to Rolas. The boats leave in the bay opposite, behind Malanza, but the prices are very high.

Cars: The road network of the islands is only partially paved. Off-road vehicles with all-wheel drive are often necessary when driving outside of cities. Minibuses run several times a day from the Mercado Municipal to the towns in the north and south of Sao Tome. However, hardly anyone knows exactly when they are driving.

Taxis are also available. Rental cars can be rented from Navetur-Equator, Mistral Voyages or from the Marlin Beach Hotel. Documents: the international driving license is required.

It is possible to rent bicycles at the Mercado Municipal. For example, on Príncipe you can ask employees in the guesthouses who are happy to find someone who rents out their bikes. However, the bikes are usually not in the best condition and the roads get a bit bad out there, so you may not be able to ride there because the mud stops turning. Inquire about the condition of the road beforehand. Terra batida (rolled earth road) is relatively easy to drive on. The prices are based on the destination and duration of the excursion. Since the distances on Príncipe are relatively short, many destinations can also be reached on foot.

The transportation options on São Tomé and Príncipe are very different. The shared taxis are the focus of São Tomé. In the direction of São João dos Angolares and Neves, they are rather simple minibuses, while in the direction of Trinidade, they are more normal cars. Tourists are of course offered the more expensive individual taxis. Before departure, you should always ask for the price to your destination.

Exceptions are journeys from or to the airport. Upon arrival, it is advisable to use a taxi as you are not yet familiar with the area and are quickly surrounded by people who want to sell something. If you have to be at the airport early in the morning on departure, you can arrange a trip with a taxi driver the day before.

There are almost always shared taxis for all other major destinations, although it is always easier to get out of the city than back. On the way back you should keep in mind that it will get dark around 6:00 p.m. and you should have found a means of transportation by then. Driving in a shared taxi is usually not a comfortable one since the vehicles are always overloaded with people and cargo. But it is also a good opportunity to get to know people and ways of life. The more distant destinations such as Santa Catarina and Porto Allegre are only served once or twice a day (not on Sundays and public holidays). For the return journeys, you should inquire when and where the taxis will depart on arrival (or from the driver of the arrival). On São Tomé you are sometimes offered as a friendly European, to be taken along and you get the impression that the car owners would like to get to know someone from abroad. However, these ridesharing opportunities are often not very convenient, as you sometimes have to sit on the back of a pickup truck or truck.

On the other hand, there are hardly any cars on Principe. There are only a few transport options here. You can rent a car with a driver in individual cases, but one-way trips can cost 25 to 30 euros depending on the duration. However, a car is necessary for many interesting destinations.

When you arrive in Principe, you can be picked up by the staff of your pension and often brought back to the airport – both should be free of charge. There are very few shared taxis that drive to the airport at the old fish market. The departure times are never clear, however, the best thing to do is to ask people waiting at the fish market.

Attractions

The islands of Sao Tomé and Príncipe represent the tops of extinct volcanoes and are characterized by a rugged landscape covered with tropical rainforests and plantations, while the extensive beaches are lined with palm trees. The islands have so far been spared from mass tourism and exude a pleasant seclusion.

Approximately 90% of the country’s total area falls on the island of Sao Tomé with the capital of the same name. The capital Sao Tome is a sleepy town with old, slowly decaying Portuguese colonial buildings. The National Museum in Fort Sao Sebastiao is worth seeing, with evidence of the country’s history. The Mercado Municipal is a lively, colorful market with all kinds of products from the islands. In the Corallo Chocolate Factory you can taste and buy delicious locally made chocolate. There are many roças (decaying colonial cocoa plantations) on the island. The largest plantation on the island, Roco Agostinho Neto with Portuguese buildings and botanical garden is a wonderful example of the colonial past of Sao Tome.

Other sights are of course the white beaches of the island, the best include Praia Mikoló, Prai Capitainja (with sea turtles that lay their eggs here seasonally), Praia das Conchas and Praia dos Tamarindos. Lagoa Azul is particularly suitable for snorkeling.

The Pico de Sao Tomé is the highest mountain in the country (2,024m) that can be climbed in a two-day hike. The west of the island is very suitable for hiking, a particularly popular destination is Lagoa Amelia. The starting point is usually the Ecotourist camp Bom Successo.

The smaller island of Príncipe with the largest city, Santo Antonio, is 150 km from Sao Tomé. The Portuguese colonial past is still clearly visible here. The main attraction of Príncipe is the dense tropical rainforest that covers large parts of the island. There are also two cocoa plantations. The most famous beach in the country is Banana Beach – a Barcadi commercial was filmed here years ago.