Where paradise awaits
And adventure beckons
Unknown to the vast majority of people in the world is a tiny country known as São Tomé and Príncipe African island paradise. This is the world’s second smallest nation , made up of two islands and a rich plantation history of coffee and cacao trade.
Príncipe is an adventure. A tiny island topped by a canopy of green broken by spires of primordial rock, join us to discover this magnificent lost world, offering fantastic beaches, jungle exploration, snorkelling, fishing and birdwatching. As the smaller, northern major island of the country of São Tomé and Príncipe lying off the west coast of Africa in the Gulf of Guinea, Príncipe has an area of 136 square kilometres and a population of approximately 7,000.
The island is actually a heavily eroded volcano and it’s speculated to be over three million years old. Principe is like discovering a place that time has forgotten, where you feel as though you’ve stepped off the edge of the world.
Principe is distinctively West African with an intensely strong Portuguese influence. This influence gives the island its own rhythm, unlike anything in East or Southern Africa. Here, you really must slow down, embrace every moment and forget about anything you’ve ever experienced before. It’s all about connecting with your inner self, your fellow travellers and nature. You sit on a tiny island on the edge of the ocean surrounded by tropical rainforest.
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There is very little tourism infrastructure on the islands beyond the backpacking scene except for a handful of properties that have been carefully created by a man with a vision.
From space to paradise, the South African entrepreneur, philanthropist and space traveller Mark Shuttleworth is behind HBD Principe. This inspirational company is developing sustainable eco-tourism experiences on Príncipe Island. HBD stands for ‘here be dragons’.
Príncipe Island is part of the World Network of Biosphere Reserves, a global programme to foster the conservation of biological and cultural diversity, promoting economic and social development based on partnerships.
HBD Príncipe is committed to providing guests with exceptional experiences in one of the world’s most unique environments. Simultaneously, they aim to engage guests in the mission of contributing to the sustainable and responsible development of the island and conservation of its precious biodiversity.
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This is a tented villa paradise on the island, creating the idyllic balance between design, comfort and nature. It’s a playground beyond your imagination as you’re offered the opportunity to explore rainforests, the marine world or simply relax and indulge in the property’s pretty setting (our favourite is the infinity pool – the epicentre of activity during the hottest part of a summer’s day).
It’s ideal for families seeking a Robinson Crusoe experience and rainforest island expedition, couples retreating or pure adventure seekers and travel mavericks looking for the next best thing.
Activities abound at the resort and around the island. Expect island tours, plantation tours, community visits, scuba diving, snorkelling, boating, birding, whale and dolphin watching and monitoring sea turtles as part of conservation efforts.
It makes a huge difference to the local economy, community and conservation efforts just by you going to this African island paradise.
This beauty is open all year round and getting there is half the challenge. You can access the main island, Sao Tome from Lisbon, Portugal on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays or Luanda in Angola on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays. It’s then a short 35 minute flight over to Principe flying each day except Thursdays.
Hotel Bom Bom
Here life is pared down to the basics. You have beautiful beaches, rainforests and fishing villages to explore and feel all the more rewarded for it. Nestled in between two beaches with emerald green waters and golden sands, Bom Bom is a wonderful place to relax, unwind and reconnect. There is a lovely social atmosphere and ample space to retreat. It’s also great for the soul with a spa offering facial and body treatments inspired by the plants and natural products from the island particularly cacao, coconut oil, coffee and mango.
Luxury at Bom Bom is certainly defined by pure simplicity. The creature comforts are present and the senses are stimulated each day from the moment you wake and exotic scented flowers waft through the morning air to the sunset symphony of wildlife saying their final prayers before nightfall. Rooms are offered with four settings – the beach, sea, pool or gardens. Regardless of which you choose, you’ve got access to the entire property including the wonderful 140 metre wooden bridge that leads to the small islet.
This is a paradise for couples and families who want a private beach, remote island and loads of adventure.