Sao Tome et Principe

Sao Tome et Principe

Facts & figures

Full name: The Democratic Republic of Sao Tome and Principe

Population: 172,000 (UN, 2012)

Capital: Sao Tome

Area: 1,001 sq km (386 sq miles)

Major language: Portuguese

Major religion: Christianity

Life expectancy: 64 years (men), 66 years (women) (UN)

Monetary unit: 1 dobra = 100 centimos

Main exports: Cocoa

GNI per capita: US $1,350 (World Bank, 2011)

Internet domain: .st

International dialling code: +239



President: Manuel Pinto da Costa

Mr Pinto da Costa is serving his second, non-consecutive term in office

Former strongman Manuel Pinto da Costa returned to power in elections in 2011, two decades after losing office.

Mr Pinto da Costa ruled Sao Tome with an iron fist for 15 years after independence from Portugal in 1975, and observers warned his return to power could herald a slide towards authoritarianism.


Visa & travel advice

We can arrange for you to get a visa from the immigration office in São Tome. Please allow up to 5 working days to receive your visa. Once the visa is acquired we will scan and email it back to you.

The process to acquire a landing visa is as follows: e-mail us  a scanned image of your passport's information page together with a completed visa information form for each applicant. We will send you an invoice for the visa and service. Once invoice is settled, we will make application on your behalf here in Sao Tome.

We scan and email you back the visa and receipt, both of which should be presented when you arrive at the airport. Please note: The landing visa is valid for 1 month, you can apply for extension when in Sao Tome. You will need to present both the entry visa and receipt at the airport desk.

The Immigration charges are below. Please note this excludes admin fee.


  • Best period

Because of their location near the Equator, São Tomé and Príncipe have a pleasant, tropical climate with little variation during the year. The rainy season lasts from October to May, but that shouldn’t affect your plans much. When it’s not raining, you can enjoy the best beachgoing weather of the year.

  • Safety

Despite the concerns associated with visiting any developing nation, São Tomé and Príncipe is a safe country to visit. Beggars are generally annoying but harmless. Refrain from showing your valuables or large amounts of money in public places. The U.S. Department of State’s consular website has a wealth of regularly updated information about safety in São Tomé and Príncipe.

The Mo Ibrahim Foundation has created a security ratings system called the Ibrahim Index, according to scores based on each country’s quality of government. Before traveling to São Tomé or anywhere on the continent, check the index and do your research.


The islands of São Tomé and Príncipe were uninhabited before the arrival of the Portuguese sometime between 1469 and 1471. After the islands were discovered by the explorers João de Santarém and Pêro Escobar,[1] Portuguese navigators explored the islands and decided they would be a good location for bases to trade with the mainland.

Arts & Culture

  • Music :

São Tomé and Príncipe is an island country off the coast of Africa. Culturally, the people are African but have been highly influenced by the Portuguese rulers of the islands.

São Toméans are known for ússua and socopé rhythms, while Principe is home to the dêxa beat. Portuguese ballroom dancing may have played an integral part in the development of these rhythms and their associated dances.

Tchiloli is a musical dance performance that tells a dramatic story. The danço-congo is similarly a combination of music, dance and theatre.

  • Literature

The Tchiloli is an original theatrical form. One piece, Tragedy of the maquis of Mantua and the Emperor Charlemagne is played every year since the sixteenth century by blacks of the island of Sao Tome forcibly brought by the Portuguese. The theme is the injustice of colonization. Charlemagne embodies the Portuguese king who shall judge his son who has committed a crime. The number of episodes increases with time because the original crime add packages later. [2]

Alda do Espírito Santo (1926-2010), poet, author of the national anthem total Independencia, also pursued a political career.

  • Film industry

In the early 2000s, Sao Tome and Principe does not clean  film industry. However, several foreign films on these islands, especially Früchtchen: Am ist alles möglich Äquator (Brödl Herbert, 1998), a sort of docu-fiction dedicated to the island of São Tomé and culture.

  • Famous places

Fort São Sebastião, built in 1575 and now the São Tomé National Museum is a really beautiful example of a well preserved 16th century Portuguese colonial fort. The real think is the fort itself to see but the Museum does have some interesting history of Sao Tome. Old Photos of the families and explanation of the slavery and way of life in the cocoa and coffee plantations.



The trip to the coffee plantation of Monte Café on Sao Tome is well worth the trip it happens to be the highest plantation on the island and the folks that live in the area are member of authentic Creole culture that did not leave for Portugal at independence. This was the biggest and most rich plantation in its hay day and one can still see the operation of a coffee plantation. You get the chance to see old plantation of Monte Café. Also, there is a beautiful waterfall on this trip where you sit watch the Saint Nicolas' waterfall and sip your coffee.


Climb Pico de Sao Tomé, the highest mountain in Sao Tomé 2024 meters or 6640 feet it will take two or three day and is a beautiful hike. During the climb one needs to climb several smaller mountains before you get to Mesa where you stay overnight.

  • Architecture history

Urban spaces were designed and built by the Portuguese colonial administration and include imposing cement administrative buildings, commercial houses, and the lodgings of the former colonial administrators and civil servants built in a Salazarist style known as luso-tropical. They were designed to evoke the grandeur and permanence of the Portuguese overseas empire. In the capital city and in the small towns, buildings are arranged in a centralized pattern with a Catholic church, the administrative building, postal and telecommunications offices, and a commercial house that formerly belonged to Portuguese overseas companies. Near these buildings are solid cement houses built for Europeans and now occupied by well-connected Forros. In São Tomé City, the streets follow a grid pattern. In small towns, concrete buildings are strung along the few roads that traverse the islands. Fort São Sebastião, built by the Portuguese in the sixteenth century to guard the entrance to the Bay of Ana Chaves and the port of São Tomé, houses the national museum.

Indigenous architecture consists of wooden houses raised on stilts that are surrounded by small patches of garden ( kintéh ). Most people in urban or rural spaces live in these small houses. There is no coordinated plan other than the continual subdivision of house plots as families grow and access to land in urban areas decreases. A variety of shanties and shelters can be attached to these houses as households engage in petty commerce and services. Footpaths that follow the contours of the smallholdings to reach the main roads connect these large and sprawling settlements. Public buildings are rare except for Christian meetinghouses. People on plantations are housed in large cement barracks and houses known as sanzalas above which loom the spacious houses of the plantation administrators.

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Upcoming Events

  • Agritech Expo Kenya, Kenyatta International Convention Center, Nairobi, Kenya (June 20, 2018)