São Tomé, São Tomé and Príncipe

Journey to where São Tomé points the Equator

Pantufo bay
Tropical and fishing inlet in the town of Pantufo.
Freshly caught
Young family of fishermen displays freshly caught fish.
Pantufo fishing boats
Native of Pantufo passes among the fishing boats fleet of the village.
brown lady
Resident of Roça São João Angolares.
João Carlos Silva in Roça São João
Cook João Carlos Silva and helpers prepare snacks in Roça São João Angolares.
Brown Lady II
Resident of Roça São João Angolares.
Boca do Inferno
The slab and formation of volcanic origin off São João dos Angolares.
Angolares Kindergarten
Children play in a tropical nursery in São João dos Angolares.
Washers from Ribeira Afonso
Women from the surroundings of the Afonso river in an intense fluvial washing of clothes.
Angolares curve
Motorcycle completes a meander of the road, at the imminence of the São João de Angolares roça.
Porto Alegre residents
Inhabitants of buildings bequeathed by the Porto Alegre countryside.
Maternal washing
Woman washes clothes with a baby strapped to her back.
Fut Beach in Porto Alegre
Porto Alegre boys play ball on the low tide.
The Ducks of the Country
Flock of ducks at the entrance to the São João de Angolares farm.
spoils of war
Abandoned battle tank in Roça de Porto Alegre.
Porto Alegre
Brand image of the Porto Alegre farm, its boulevard of palm trees.
Building of colonial origin on the São João de Angolares farm.
Roça Sao Joao dos Angolares
Lawn and building in Roça São João Angolares.
Young Residents of Agua Izé
Young residents of the Água-Izé farm.
Roça Água Izé Building
Semi-abandoned building on the Água-Izé farm.
We go along the road that connects the homonymous capital to the sharp end of the island. When we arrived in Roça Porto Alegre, with the islet of Rolas and Ecuador in front of us, we had lost ourselves time and time again in the historical and tropical drama of São Tomé.

As for itself, the journey towards the extreme south of São Tomé had everything to drag on.

The fact that we were faced with an obligatory first stop in Pantufo did little to help.

Pantufo was a mere 3km away from the island's big city. With almost two thousand inhabitants, this outskirts on the capital's seafront planted together with abundant houses blessed by the church of São Pedro, in the vicinity of the lawn of FC Aliança Nacional, the club that concentrates the sporting passions of the land.

And yet, what catches our attention is the frenzy in which we found the sand below the Estada de Pantufo, at a time when its fishermen were returning from their work.

Groups of them join forces to pull the boats out of reach of the high tide. Others, already in the company of families, examine the caught fish.

Not sure how to deal with our unexpected interest, they choose the most voluminous and impressive specimens of fish, for example, a beautiful fish that still has a lot of the blue of the Atlantic.

Travel Sao Tome, Ecuador, Sao Tome and Principe, Pescador de Pantufo and BonitoAnd three or four, less exuberant, that a young family member gathers and shows us in a bunch, then slips between the artisanal boats in a dry dock and disappears behind the hedge of trees that separates the bay from the village.

The route remains close to the sea. At the doors of the yellow and pointed Church of Santana, the two directions separate.

South-North transit is almost over the ocean. On the opposite side below, we head towards Água Izé, a village and site of another unavoidable garden in São Tomé and Príncipe.

Roça Água-Izé. A Slave Project of a Black Made Baron

An unusual historical fact, it sets it apart from the rest. The Roça Água Izé was the work of João Maria de Sousa Almeida (1816-1869), a prince of black origin. Son of a landed colonel, member of a surprisingly wealthy and influential black family for the time.

According to his resources, the Baron of Água Izé, as D. Luís proclaimed in 1868, traveled the world. He has accumulated a curriculum and life experience that, in and of themselves, is a story.

He was a military commander, governor of Benguela and a trader in Angola.

He lived in Lisbon, from where he left for a European tour. Later, he crossed the Atlantic to discover South American Portugal.

In Brazil, Portuguese settlers maintained one of the largest plantations in the world, at the expense of the labor of millions of slaves kidnapped in Africa.

Also in this chapter of the Portuguese colonial era, João Maria de Sousa Almeida proved to be a case apart. Or not so much.

The Agricultural and Slavery Investments of João Maria de Sousa Almeida

Despite his black origins, the Baron got rich from the slave trade.

Returning from Brazil to São Tomé and Príncipe in 1853, he took with him a series of novelties that would prove the basis of the archipelago's colonial agricultural success: coffee, tobacco, palm oil and cocoa, which he claimed to be the tree of the poor.

Two years later, in Praia-Rei, now known as Água Izé, he planted the first cacao trees and inaugurated what would later be revealed to prolific cocoa production of the Principe Island Company.

And after half a decade, he already had such a command of the secrets of cocoa that he published a complete study on its planting and processing.

The obedience of her slave workers, this one, won her over by cruelty. Indifferent to his origins, João Maria de Sousa Almeida resorted, over and over again, to violence and heartless punishment.

When we descend to Boca do Inferno, a volcanic slab that generates exuberant marine geysers, such blows from the Atlantic are almost null.

Accordingly, the guide who takes us there places the emphasis of the visit on the myth forever associated with the place: “they know that Baron João Maria de Sousa Almeida so impressed the São Toméans that they began to see him as supernatural.

Travel Sao Tome, Ecuador, Sao Tome and Principe, Boca do InfernoIt was said that he had the power to ride into this Boca do Inferno and go straight out into Cascais.”

With regard to the Baron of Água-Izé, between mythical and real but surreal stories, it would make for a novel on its own.

The Free but Very Humble Life of Roça Água Izé Post-Independence

Returning to the houses surrounded by coconut trees, banana trees and other tropical flora of Água Izé, we find the old farm in full activity.

In a warehouse, a team of natives choose the cocoa, bag it and stack sacks, a job that is not enough for the more than 1200 inhabitants of Água Izé.

As we walk around, we cross your non-cacao day-to-day life.

Children who, in the street, wash dishes, pick freshly picked bananas or take school TPCs by light outside their home. Mothers who breastfeed newborns, others who grill fish.

Still others who rest seated against the walls of the old sanzalas, engaged in good-natured conversations.

Ribeira Afonso and his Unconformist Washers

Having completed another 6km to the south, a new expression of Santomean life proves too exuberant for us to ignore.

Travel Sao Tome, Ecuador, Sao Tome and Principe, washerwomen Ribeira AfonsoThe narrow way. Fits into a bridge. To both sides, the Ribeira Afonso, which we crossed, was full of washerwomen and already washed clothes, stretched out in the sun on the rocky banks.

In good African fashion, some women had babies strapped to their backs. They rocked the shoots with the rubbing and back and forth of their vigorous bodies.

Unsurprisingly, that profusion of washerwomen attracted the attention of foreigners who passed by. The women were more than fed up with being photographed, so our efforts met with near-immediate disapproval.

"Stop it! It's the same thing every day, do you think this is the zoo or what?”

From Ribeira Afonso down, the road gives way to a series of intricate meanders. It conquers the jagged coves of Micondo and returns to the interior.

A new sharp curve leaves us at the entrance to Roça São João dos Angolares.

Travel São Tomé, Ecuador, São Tomé and Principe, Angolares curve

In Roça with the Tachos in São João dos Angolares

It was about lunchtime. And it was the São Toméan dishes and snacks from the TV show “In the countryside with the pots” that made Roça São João and the cook João Carlos Silva famous.

We are greeted by an assorted flock of ducks too busy with their feather arrangement to make way for us.

Travel São Tomé, Ecuador, São Tomé and Principe, ducks from Roça São João de AngolaresWe went up to the house. We admired the simple, elegant decor that blended in perfectly with the colonial features of the doors and windows.

We pass to the terrace. We found it shared by groups of guests, friends and family, who enjoyed appetizers.

João Carlos Silva is also there, it couldn't be otherwise. The host starts his gastronomic show of the day.

Supported by some helpers, he creates a sequence of traditional snacks, made with banana, passion fruit, peanuts, chocolate, seafood and many flavors from São Tomé.

Travel São Tomé, Ecuador, São Tomé and Principe, João Carlos Silva, Roça São João AngolaresJoão Carlos Silva serves them on towels with African patterns that we could find in capulanas and handkerchiefs.

And with a privileged view over the surrounding property and the bay of Angolares in front. Such a meal and the setting in which it was served deserved the rest of the afternoon in contemplative rest.

Accustomed to photographic nomadism, we force ourselves to take up the itinerary again.

The Tropical and Eccentric Pico Cão Grande Mirage

As we had prepared it, we knew that the way to the southern tip passed through one of the strange and emblematic elevations of São Tomé.

We expected to catch a glimpse of him at any moment. The vision did not take long, lacking the vegetal purity it deserved.

After the village of Dª Augusta and Praia de Pesqueira, São Tomé, lined with its natural and endemic vegetation, gives way to an endless planting of palm oil palm trees, the same ones that Barão de Água Izé introduced to the island and which , increasingly, throughout this world, profane the tropics.

Travel Sao Tome, Ecuador, Sao Tome and Principe, Pico Cão GrandeWe saw the sharp mountain of Pico Cão Grande, towering above an endless number of palm trees and, from time to time, half sunk in a low cloud cover that drowned the dense and mysterious rainforest of the Ôbo Natural Park, a jungle, instead, protected .

We proceeded south. We left behind Monte Mário and Henrique. We arrive at Ponta da Baleia, which serves as an anchorage for boat connections to Ilhéu das Rolas.

We cross Vila Malaza.

Porto Alegre, its own Roça and the Funds of the island of São Tomé

On the other side of the bay that welcomed it, we arrived at Roça Porto Alegre, and returned to the historical sphere of the Sousa Almeida family.

Jacinto Carneiro, son of the Baron of Água-Izé, was founded.

Although remote and accessible almost only by boat, Jacinto Carneiro managed to expand it and turn it into a serious case of agricultural multi-production, to the point where, in a self-sufficiency regime, it became the second largest property in the south of São Tomé , with a vast territory that included the Ilhéu das Rolas and six dependencies.

Roça de Porto Alegre maintains a configuration that is unique, with an alley of palm trees leading to its main house, next to the employees' homes and the long swathes.

Travel Sao Tome, Ecuador, Sao Tome and Principe, Roça Porto AlegreOnce again, we find the garden given over to the kind of historic backwater that São Tomé found itself in after independence. Goats and chickens dot the pasture at the entrance, the palm lane and the dilapidated courtyards.

A single element clashed with the expected scenario of a Santomean farm. By some war contingency, rusted and taken over by vegetation, an old battle tank had found the last landing there.

Travel Sao Tome, Ecuador, Sao Tome and Principe, Roça Porto Alegre tankA few kilometers to the south, Inhame beach proved to be the last of the bathing spots on the island of São Tomé. A kind of geological finger inaccessible by road showed us the imminent Ilhéu das Rolas.

And, crossing it, the equator line that marks the tropical environment of the Planet.

Príncipe, São Tomé and Principe

Journey to the Noble Retreat of Príncipe Island

150 km of solitude north of the matriarch São Tomé, the island of Príncipe rises from the deep Atlantic against an abrupt and volcanic mountain-covered jungle setting. Long enclosed in its sweeping tropical nature and a contained but moving Luso-colonial past, this small African island still houses more stories to tell than visitors to listen to.
São Tomé and Principe

Cocoa Roças, Corallo and the Chocolate Factory

At the beginning of the century. In the XNUMXth century, São Tomé and Príncipe generated more cocoa than any other territory. Thanks to the dedication of some entrepreneurs, production survives and the two islands taste like the best chocolate.
Chã das Caldeiras, Fogo Island Cape Verde

A "French" Clan at the Mercy of Fire

In 1870, a Count born in Grenoble on his way to Brazilian exile, made a stopover in Cape Verde where native beauties tied him to the island of Fogo. Two of his children settled in the middle of the volcano's crater and continued to raise offspring there. Not even the destruction caused by the recent eruptions deters the prolific Montrond from the “county” they founded in Chã das Caldeiras.    
island of salt, Cape Verde

The Salt of the Island of Sal

At the approach of the XNUMXth century, Sal remained lacking in drinking water and practically uninhabited. Until the extraction and export of the abundant salt there encouraged a progressive population. Today, salt and salt pans add another flavor to the most visited island in Cape Verde.
Boa Vista Island, Cape Verde

Boa Vista Island: Atlantic waves, Dunas do Sara

Boa Vista is not only the Cape Verdean island closest to the African coast and its vast desert. After a few hours of discovery, it convinces us that it is a piece of the Sahara adrift in the North Atlantic.
Santa Maria, Sal Island, Cape Verde

Santa Maria and the Atlantic Blessing of Sal

Santa Maria was founded in the first half of the XNUMXth century, as a salt export warehouse. Today, thanks to the providence of Santa Maria, Sal Ilha is worth much more than the raw material.
Santo Antão, Cape Verde

Up and Down the Estrada da Corda

Santo Antão is the westernmost of the Cape Verde Islands. There lies an Atlantic and rugged threshold of Africa, a majestic insular domain that we begin by unraveling from one end to the other of its dazzling Estrada da Corda.
Fogo Island, Cape Verde

Around the Fogo Island

Time and the laws of geomorphology dictated that the volcano-island of Fogo rounded off like no other in Cape Verde. Discovering this exuberant Macaronesian archipelago, we circled around it against the clock. We are dazzled in the same direction.
São Nicolau, Cape Verde

São Nicolau: Pilgrimage to Terra di Sodade

Forced matches like those that inspired the famous morna “soda” made the pain of having to leave the islands of Cape Verde very strong. Discovering saninclau, between enchantment and wonder, we pursue the genesis of song and melancholy.
Chã das Caldeiras a Mosteiros, Fogo Island, Cape Verde

Chã das Caldeiras to Mosteiros: descent through the Ends of Fogo

With the Cape Verde summit conquered, we sleep and recover in Chã das Caldeiras, in communion with some of the lives at the mercy of the volcano. The next morning, we started the return to the capital São Filipe, 11 km down the road to Mosteiros.
São Nicolau, Cape Verde

Photography of Nha Terra São Nicolau

The voice of the late Cesária Verde crystallized the feeling of Cape Verdeans who were forced to leave their island. who visits São Nicolau or, wherever it may be, admires images that illustrate it well, understands why its people proudly and forever call it their land.
Ilha de Mozambique, Mozambique  

The Island of Ali Musa Bin Bique. Pardon... of Mozambique

With the arrival of Vasco da Gama in the extreme south-east of Africa, the Portuguese took over an island that had previously been ruled by an Arab emir, who ended up misrepresenting the name. The emir lost his territory and office. Mozambique - the molded name - remains on the resplendent island where it all began and also baptized the nation that Portuguese colonization ended up forming.
Okavango Delta, Not all rivers reach the sea, Mokoros
Okavango Delta, Botswana

Not all rivers reach the sea

Third longest river in southern Africa, the Okavango rises in the Angolan Bié plateau and runs 1600km to the southeast. It gets lost in the Kalahari Desert where it irrigates a dazzling wetland teeming with wildlife.
Annapurna Circuit, Manang to Yak-kharka
Annapurna (circuit)
Annapurna 10th Circuit: Manang to Yak Kharka, Nepal

On the way to the Annapurnas Even Higher Lands

After an acclimatization break in the near-urban civilization of Manang (3519 m), we made progress again in the ascent to the zenith of Thorong La (5416 m). On that day, we reached the hamlet of Yak Kharka, at 4018 m, a good starting point for the camps at the base of the great canyon.
Architecture & Design
napier, New Zealand

Back to the 30s – Old-Fashioned Car Tour

In a city rebuilt in Art Deco and with an atmosphere of the "crazy years" and beyond, the adequate means of transportation are the elegant classic automobiles of that era. In Napier, they are everywhere.
Totems, Botko Village, Malekula, Vanuatu
Malekula, Vanuatu

Meat and Bone Cannibalism

Until the early XNUMXth century, man-eaters still feasted on the Vanuatu archipelago. In the village of Botko we find out why European settlers were so afraid of the island of Malekula.
Moa on a beach in Rapa Nui/Easter Island
Ceremonies and Festivities
Easter Island, Chile

The Take-off and Fall of the Bird-Man Cult

Until the XNUMXth century, the natives of Easter Island they carved and worshiped great stone gods. All of a sudden, they started to drop their moai. The veneration of tanatu manu, a half-human, half-sacred leader, decreed after a dramatic competition for an egg.
Sydney, Australia's exemplary criminal city, Harbor Bridge
Sydney, Australia

From the Exile of Criminals to an Exemplary City

The first of the Australian colonies was built by exiled inmates. Today, Sydney's Aussies boast former convicts of their family tree and pride themselves on the cosmopolitan prosperity of the megalopolis they inhabit.
Obese resident of Tupola Tapaau, a small island in Western Samoa.
Tonga, Western Samoa, Polynesia

XXL Pacific

For centuries, the natives of the Polynesian islands subsisted on land and sea. Until the intrusion of colonial powers and the subsequent introduction of fatty pieces of meat, fast food and sugary drinks have spawned a plague of diabetes and obesity. Today, while much of Tonga's national GDP, Western Samoa and neighbors is wasted on these “western poisons”, fishermen barely manage to sell their fish.
Tombola, street bingo-Campeche, Mexico
Campeche, Mexico

200 Years of Playing with Luck

At the end of the XNUMXth century, the peasants surrendered to a game introduced to cool the fever of cash cards. Today, played almost only for Abuelites, lottery little more than a fun place.
combat arbiter, cockfighting, philippines

When Only Cock Fights Wake Up the Philippines

Banned in much of the First World, cockfighting thrives in the Philippines where they move millions of people and pesos. Despite its eternal problems, it is the sabong that most stimulates the nation.
Composition on Nine Arches Bridge, Ella, Sri Lanka
Yala NPElla-Kandy, Sri Lanka

Journey Through Sri Lanka's Tea Core

We leave the seafront of PN Yala towards Ella. On the way to Nanu Oya, we wind on rails through the jungle, among plantations in the famous Ceylon. Three hours later, again by car, we enter Kandy, the Buddhist capital that the Portuguese never managed to dominate.
Lifou, Loyalty Islands, New Caledonia, Mme Moline popinée
LifouLoyalty Islands

The Greatest of the Loyalties

Lifou is the island in the middle of the three that make up the semi-francophone archipelago off New Caledonia. In time, the Kanak natives will decide if they want their paradise independent of the distant metropolis.
sunlight photography, sun, lights
Got2Globe Photo Portfolio
Natural Light (Part 2)

One Sun, So Many Lights

Most travel photos are taken in sunlight. Sunlight and weather form a capricious interaction. Learn how to predict, detect and use at its best.
Mexcaltitán, Nayarit, Mexico, from the air
Mexcaltitan, Nayarit, Mexico

An Island Between Myth and Mexican Genesis

Mexcaltitán is a rounded lake island, full of houses and which, during the rainy season, is only passable by boat. It is still believed that it could be Aztlán. The village that the Aztecs left in a wandering that ended with the foundation of Tenochtitlan, the capital of the empire that the Spanish would conquer.
Africa Princess, Canhambaque, Bijagós, Guinea Bissau,
Africa Princess Cruise Part 1, Bijagós, Guinea Bissau

Towards Canhambaque, through the History of Guinea Bissau

The Africa Princess departs from the port of Bissau, downstream the Geba estuary. We make a first stopover on the island of Bolama. From the old capital, we proceed to the heart of the Bijagós archipelago.
ala juumajarvi lake, oulanka national park, finland
Winter White
Kuusamo ao PN Oulanka, Finland

Under the Arctic's Icy Spell

We are at 66º North and at the gates of Lapland. In these parts, the white landscape belongs to everyone and to no one like the snow-covered trees, the atrocious cold and the endless night.
Couple visiting Mikhaylovskoe, village where writer Alexander Pushkin had a home
Saint Petersburg e Mikhaylovkoe, Russia

The Writer Who Succumbed to His Own Plot

Alexander Pushkin is hailed by many as the greatest Russian poet and the founder of modern Russian literature. But Pushkin also dictated an almost tragicomic epilogue to his prolific life.
Fajãzinha, Ilha das Flores, Confins of the Azores and Portugal
Flores Island, Azores

The Atlantic ends of the Azores and Portugal

Where, to the west, even on the map the Americas appear remote, the Ilha das Flores is home to the ultimate Azorean idyllic-dramatic domain and almost four thousand Florians surrendered to the dazzling end-of-the-world that welcomed them.
Sheki, Autumn in the Caucasus, Azerbaijan, Autumn Homes
Sheki, Azerbaijan

autumn in the caucasus

Lost among the snowy mountains that separate Europe from Asia, Sheki is one of Azerbaijan's most iconic towns. Its largely silky history includes periods of great harshness. When we visited it, autumn pastels added color to a peculiar post-Soviet and Muslim life.
Young people walk the main street in Chame, Nepal
Natural Parks
Annapurna Circuit: 1th - Pokhara a ChameNepal

Finally, on the way

After several days of preparation in Pokhara, we left towards the Himalayas. The walking route only starts in Chame, at 2670 meters of altitude, with the snowy peaks of the Annapurna mountain range already in sight. Until then, we complete a painful but necessary road preamble to its subtropical base.
Cambodia, Angkor, Ta Phrom
UNESCO World Heritage
Ho Chi Minh a of Angkor, Cambodia

The Crooked Path to Angkor

From Vietnam onwards, Cambodia's crumbling roads and minefields take us back to the years of Khmer Rouge terror. We survive and are rewarded with the vision of the greatest religious temple
aggie gray, Samoa, South Pacific, Marlon Brando Fale
Apia, Western Samoa

The Host of the South Pacific

She sold burguês to GI's in World War II and opened a hotel that hosted Marlon Brando and Gary Cooper. Aggie Gray passed away in 2. Her legacy lives on in the South Pacific.
Martinique island, French Antilles, Caribbean Monument Cap 110
Martinique, French Antilles

The Armpit Baguette Caribbean

We move around Martinique as freely as the Euro and the tricolor flags fly supreme. But this piece of France is volcanic and lush. Lies in the insular heart of the Americas and has a delicious taste of Africa.
Armenia Cradle Christianity, Mount Aratat

The Cradle of the Official Christianity

Just 268 years after Jesus' death, a nation will have become the first to accept the Christian faith by royal decree. This nation still preserves its own Apostolic Church and some of the oldest Christian temples in the world. Traveling through the Caucasus, we visit them in the footsteps of Gregory the Illuminator, the patriarch who inspires Armenia's spiritual life.
Chepe Express, Chihuahua Al Pacifico Railway
On Rails
Creel to Los Mochis, Mexico

The Barrancas del Cobre & the CHEPE Iron Horse

The Sierra Madre Occidental's relief turned the dream into a construction nightmare that lasted six decades. In 1961, at last, the prodigious Chihuahua al Pacifico Railroad was opened. Its 643km cross some of the most dramatic scenery in Mexico.
Saphire Cabin, Purikura, Tokyo, Japan
Tokyo, Japan

Japanese Style Passaport-Type Photography

In the late 80s, two Japanese multinationals already saw conventional photo booths as museum pieces. They turned them into revolutionary machines and Japan surrendered to the Purikura phenomenon.
Casario, uptown, Fianarantsoa, ​​Madagascar
Daily life
Fianarantsoa, Madagascar

The Malagasy City of Good Education

Fianarantsoa was founded in 1831 by Ranavalona Iª, a queen of the then predominant Merina ethnic group. Ranavalona Iª was seen by European contemporaries as isolationist, tyrant and cruel. The monarch's reputation aside, when we enter it, its old southern capital remains as the academic, intellectual and religious center of Madagascar.
Fluvial coming and going
Iriomote, Japan

The Small Tropical Japanese Amazon of Iriomote

Impenetrable rainforests and mangroves fill Iriomote under a pressure cooker climate. Here, foreign visitors are as rare as the yamaneko, an elusive endemic lynx.
Full Dog Mushing
Scenic Flights
Seward, Alaska

The Alaskan Dog Mushing Summer

It's almost 30 degrees and the glaciers are melting. In Alaska, entrepreneurs have little time to get rich. Until the end of August, dog mushing cannot stop.