Sao Tome and Principe is the second smallest country in Africa, with a population of about 206 000 in 2018, following Seychelles, and one of the least visited.
The crumbling, former plantations of banana, cacao, coffee and sugar cane called "roças" which dot both islands, which were uninhabited till the 16th century are vestiges of its sometimes brutal colonial past until it became independent of Portugal in 1975. Both islands are whitewashed in the emerald forest and are marked with beaches and secret golden sandy coves with peaks such as the São Tomé Cao Grande, a 663m above the jungle of the other world's granite. Although its beauty cannot be defined the big question here is, is Sao tome and Principe safe to travel?
It felt like you have left the modern world behind when you travel to the 86mi (140km) from São Tomé to the nearby Unesco Biosphere Reserve Príncipe. Turtles nest on its deserted beaches and whales roam the surrounding waters on their backdrop of sparrow mountains and a luxurious jungle.
Another drawing of many native plants and bird species that can go nowhere else on Earth is the dazzling biodiversity of the islands. There's still a lot of tourism here.
Learning a few Portuguese terms would make your stay here even worse because English is not commonly spoken. Stranded by the line of the equator, life in these islands is slow, in fact, it's a word for the Santomeans, leve leve, or "easy, easy."
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Crime Rate in Sao Tome and Principe
Crime is not something that tourists encounter extensively, in keeping with its relaxed nature, but common sense can prevent you from having problems. Crimes, including theft and snuffing, are uncommon and serious crimes are rare, such as armed robbery or rape.
Keep your belongings with you at all times and do not leave valuables unattended – the most attractive things for opportunistic thieves are potentially Cell phones.
It is strictly prohibited to take pictures from the Presidential Palace, military or other government buildings.
However, LGBTQ travellers may be discriminated against, and Sao Tome and Principe have in place no legislation against discrimination.
Vaccinations and health tips You Should Keep in Mind Before Visiting Sao Tome and Principe
- Malaria deaths in Sao Tome and Principe have not taken place since 2014. Nevertheless, some people are living with malaria, and most health authorities consider it to be a malaria region. Before travelling, it is recommended that you consult your doctor on antimalarial drugs.
- In order to avoid insect bites, insect-repellent should always be used, preferably with 50% DEET and wear long-sleeved clothing in dawn and dusk, to prevent mosquito bites.
- Vaccines for tetanus or diphtheria, hepatitis A and typhoid should also be revised.
- Cholera is a common disease, and although it is a minor risk for passengers, strict food and hygiene precautions should be followed. Do not consume raw salad or fruits that are not peelable; do not eat undercooked mushrooms or shun ice in your drinks and do not drink tap water.
- Take your plastic waste a reusable water bottle down.
Jungle safety Rules You Should Follow in Sao Tome and Principe
Nearly 90 per cent is covered with a thick jungle in Sao Tome and Principe, and this natural beauty is definitely a significant part of travellers' attraction.
The whole island is a biosphere reserve of Unesco. It is not advisable to walk on the jungle alone as a local guide is easy to get lost.
Ensure that you wear shuttles with good grip, particularly during rainy weather, as roads can be slippery.
Stay on trails recommended and eat no trees, fruits or berries – unless you know exactly what they are.
When you visit beaches with pigs, keep your shoes on like 'matacanha' or jigger fleas, bind them to your feet and cause scratching and infection (include jiggling, etc.).
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Transport safety Tips to Follow in Sao Tome and Principe
The transport infrastructure of Sao Tome and Principe is fundamental. An international airport is linked with Africa and Lisbon, and boat and ferry services go from and to many ports in West Africa, but the ships are mostly poorly repaired, with low-security standards.
Boats with errant departures that can be overcrowded with passengers. The best recommendation is to fly between the two islands internally. There were a number of deaths in 2019, culminating in a ship carrying passengers and freight sunk off the coast of Principe.
Please book your seats in advance for a tiny aircraft travelling between Sao Tome and Príncipe.
In Sao Tome, there are shared yellow taxis and buses, but in Sao Tome and Principe, there is no other public transport.
The roads are paved in Sao Tome area, but there are big potholes. Major roads outside the city are also paved, but are mostly poorly repaired; the most significant threat can lie to peasant farmers, pedestrians, motorbikers and livestock, and in rural areas small slides following heavy rainfall may be found.
Beyond the area, street lighting is not present, and drivers are supposed to frequently turn the car's horn as a warning signal.
Just a few miles of improved roads on Príncipe can become easily hazardous and impassable on rainy weather roads. We recommend that you use a four-wheel-drive vehicle and seek advice locally to get started.
Drivers often stop to travel to and from school in remote areas, especially in Prícipe. Road signs are also rare in Santo Antonio, the capital of Príncipe. So bring an offline map/download, so you don't have to get lost.
Sao Tome and Principe Visa
Visas are valid on arrival at the international airport if you stay less than 15 days in Sao Tome and Principe. You can apply online at Tourist Visa Online if you're staying longer, they can arrange you the Visa Online without facing much problem. They also give you the best of Customer support if you face any issue while filling up the Sao Tome and Principe Visa Application.
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The answer to the big question Is Sao Tome and Principe Safe to Travel? is Yes, you can safely travel in Sao Tome and Principe if you follow proper safety rules and tips. So plan your trip to this beautiful nation.