São Tomé, São Tomé and Principe

Through the Tropical Top of São Tomé

Boats on Gravel
Traditional wooden boats safe from waves, in the north of the island of São Tomé.
north inlet
Cove within sight of Roça Monte Forte.
The Carmo Church
The church above the Roça Agostinho Neto.
Blue Lagoon
Visitors delighted in the warm turquoise waters of Lagoa Azul.
Boat moves Away from the Blue Lagoon
Fishing vessel is far from the north coast of the island of São Tomé.
porcupine fish
Pescador shows a porcupine freshly caught in the Agostinhp Neto farm.
Students play soccer at the Roça Agostinho Neto school.
Cocoa Basket
A worker loads cocoa in a warehouse on the Agostinho Neto farm.
A funny scene of life on a wall of the Roça Agostinho Neto.
The Hospital lane
A boulevard that leads to the old hospital in Roça Agostinho Neto.
Roça Monte Forte
Nook of the main building on the Monte Forte farm.
Dark Water Baths
Children have fun in the dark waters of Ribeira Funda.
Roça da Água Funda
Riverside house on the Roça Ribeira Funda.
Santa Catarina Tunnel
The providential tunnel of Santa Catarina.
A herd from Roça Diogo Vaz occupies the road that surrounds the north of São Tomé.
Cowboy from Roça Diogo Vaz
Young herder poses with one of the many cows he takes care of.
Monument to the São Tomé Discovery
The monument that marks the place where the Portuguese discoverers disembarked on the island of São Tomé..
Corner of Roça Monte Forte
Another, more colorful corner of the Monte Forte farm.
With the homonymous capital behind us, we set out to discover the reality of the Agostinho Neto farm. From there, we take the island's coastal road. When the asphalt finally yields to the jungle, São Tomé had confirmed itself at the top of the most dazzling African islands.

In just a few kilometers, the route towards the northern interior of the island confirms a new journey through time.

The urgency that moved us was that of knowledge. Unexpectedly, the road to the province of Lobata leaves us at the base of a long cobbled ramp that grass was trying to invade.

It led to the old hospital building in Roça Rio do Ouro, despite the nearly half-century of degradation, still distinguished from the surrounding jungle by the salmon tone of the one-hundred-meter façade.

The hospital was built during the 20s in response to the growing population of settlers and workers of the Valle Flôr Agricultural Society, one of the largest and most influential in the archipelago.

Anyone, like us, is faced with the number of passersby who go up, down and live in the walled boulevard, are tempted to think that nothing has changed since the colonial era.

The Post-Colonial Life of Roça Rio do Ouro, now Roça Agostinho Neto

And yet, in the post-independence period of São Tomé and Príncipe, the farm was renamed in honor of the father of Angola's independence, Agostinho Neto.

Both the hospital and the farm in general lost their function and operational capacity. The hospital never recovered from the logistical abandonment that victimized it.

The garden, this one, only a few years ago showed productive signs of life, detectable, above all, by the resumption of cocoa production.

We reach the staircase of the central building. At the top, a rug spread over the front banister precedes the entrance. A patched wooden door, gaping open, serves as an invitation.

We entered. Instead of a reception of nurses, doctors and patients, we find two women who are ill-seated peeling and cutting the cassava for lunch.

They are preparing it next to a corner of the atrium adapted as a home, like so many others that we would come across, although most of the houses remain in the old shantytowns for workers and families.

We let ourselves get lost, for a while longer, in that hospital abandonment, under the gaze of the girls surprised by the intrusion.

The Santomense Bustle in the Old Sanzalas of Roça Agostinho Neto

Dismayed by the lack of other residents or interlocutors, we moved to one of the alleys of sanzalas.

Here, yes, the day-to-day life of the farm was concentrated: on clotheslines with colors that gleamed in the sun. In parents and children who shared tiny rooms and halls and each other's lives.

A young woman from São Tomé bursts out of a walled alley.

Hold us up with an unconditional smile that not even the next two generations she was carrying, one in her arms, the other in her very pregnant belly, seemed to bother.

A passerby from your neighbor, returning from the sea, shows us a freshly caught porcupine fish.

We arrived at an unobstructed courtyard, spread out in a flat area between sanzalas. From there, we observe, in panoramic format, its various levels.

The closest, added afterwards, covered by large plates. The older ones are bigger, still covered with Portuguese tile aged by the tropical sun.

And, overhanging, as was supposed in a former colony blessed by Catholicism, the church of Nossa Senhora do Carmo, almost as white as the white clothes on the flowing clotheslines.

The Timely Return of the Ever Valuable Cocoa

Below this kind of playground, finally, in plastic greenhouses and dismal warehouses, we witness how, in recent times, the garden had been inspired by history, how it sought to revive the times when São Tomé and Príncipe was the world's largest producer of cocoa.

A worker spread the beans that were drying in the stifling heat. Four or five others carried large, full baskets between greenhouses and warehouses.

In a nearby store, a team of women sitting or squatting, some with children, picked cocoa from large piles, with inexhaustible patience.

In recent decades, associated with chocolate popularization and derivatives, the demand for cocoa has greatly increased.

It justified its production in São Tomé and Príncipe, even if semi-craft and in tiny quantities, if compared, for example, with the great African rival, Ghana. São Tomé and Príncipe, Ghana and Africa in general are now working on their own.

They still celebrate their independence.

A panel with a black bust dominates, highlighted on the post-colonial plaque identifying the property: “Estatal Agro-Pecuária Dr. António A. (Agostinho) Neto.”

Not far away, we come across the worn green building that houses the local school.

There takes place a fierce football match, disputed by the kids in an open land.

On the other side of the wall that delimits it, a race of tires takes place, guided downhill by four or five young men with sticks.

Lagoa Azul, a Dazzling Piece of the North Atlantic

Turn after turn, we had been circling the farm for over an hour. The itinerary to the north of the island that we were supposed to follow by the end of the day comes to mind. We return to the jeep.

We point to the north coast of São Tomé.

We pass through Guadeloupe. Then, we cut to Lagoa Azul, a cove embedded in a peculiar earth appendage, enclosed by a grassy promontory from which a miniature lighthouse of the same name emerges.

At the same time, the beach we unveiled there is stunning and cozy, with its sample of sand revealed by the low tide, below an environment of pebbles and rocks of volcanic origin.

Translucent Atlantic waters bathe the beach, with an intense turquoise tone, more resplendent than the greens of grass and tamarinds and other surrounding trees. A portentous baobab also faces the beach and, until the fall came, leafy.

Some expats were enjoying themselves in the tepid lagoon, taking time off from the missions that took them to São Tomé. Meanwhile, they were joined by a family from São Tomé, who arrived from the stall that serves grilled fish and bananas there.

Let's catch up with a short break for bathing delight. Under the almost equatorial sun - the Equator line passes over Ilhéu das Rolas, we dry ourselves in three times. We return to the road.

We point to Neves, the capital of the district of Lembá. There we stopped for a few moments to buy snacks. We proceeded southwest.

The Roça Monte Forte Hotel Project

In the next village, we visited Roça Monte Forte, at the time, an accommodation project in which a Mr. Jerónimo Mota was engaged, who welcomes us with open arms, dressed in a jersey of the national team, commemorating his defeat by Greece in the final of Euro 2004.

Jerónimo shows us the main building, all of it made of wood, except for the roof, once again made of classic Portuguese tile.

The host makes us sit in the lobby on Super Bock terrace chairs. Serves us natural juices.

When the refreshments are over, he leads us to the porch and balconies, each with privileged views over the green slope and the edge of the North Atlantic.

Jerónimo hands us an agenda sheet, with the address and contacts scribbled in a contortionist handwriting that, no matter how hard we tried, we would always fail to imitate.

After saying goodbye, he accompanied us back to the asphalt.

The road from Monteforte to Anambó

Next comes Esprainha. And Monteforte, the village, now with the name all together.

As we passed the bridge over the Água Monte Forte river, we saw a herd of cows stretched out over the shallow stream, torn between drinking the water and devouring the tender leaves of newly fallen trees.

The cowboy who guards them, with an easy smile, approaches.

He informs us that the herd is from Roça Diogo Vaz and he laughs aloud when we jokingly alert him that, spending so much time in the river, the animals would turn into hippos.

The road becomes even more winding.

It is surrounded by a dense blanket of dry leaves with an autumnal look, even if autumn is yet to visit São Tomé. It slips into a dense tropical forest that insinuates itself into the sea.

From the Monument to the Discoveries of Anambó to the End of the Road

On the verdant, humid and volcanic seaside of Anambó we find the pattern of the discoveries that marks the place where, in 1470, João de Santarém and Pêro Escobar, the Portuguese discoverers of São Tomé, disembarked.

We went down the entire coast of Santa Clotilde and, in the meantime, that of Santa Catarina.

There, the road advances at the base of a steep slope, just over two meters above sea level.

We go through a picturesque tunnel that an advance on the cliff imposed on the itinerary.

A few more kilometers to the south, crossing the river Bindá, the road faces the wild vastness of the Obo Natural Park and give up.

Force us to reverse path.

With the sun already gone to the opposite side of the island, we only interrupted our return to Ribeira Funda.

We did it dazzled by the joy with which some kids, in a ball, repeated acrobatic dives into the deep river, covered by ducks. More than that, of suspicious color.

All the action and fun taking place in front of the colonial mansion of an old farm. Somewhere in the north, exuberant northwest of São Tomé. opposite end of the island.

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 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.
Rolas Islet, São Tomé and Principe

Rolas Islet: São Tomé and Principe at Latitude Zero

The southernmost point of São Tomé and Príncipe, Ilhéu das Rolas is lush and volcanic. The big news and point of interest of this island extension of the second smallest African nation is the coincidence of crossing the Equator.
São Tomé, São Tomé and Príncipe

Journey to where São Tomé points the Equator

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.
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.
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.
Brava, Cape Verde

Cape Verde Brave Island

During colonization, the Portuguese came across a moist and lush island, something rare in Cape Verde. Brava, the smallest of the inhabited islands and one of the least visited of the archipelago, preserves the authenticity of its somewhat elusive Atlantic and volcanic nature.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Masai Mara Reservation, Masai Land Travel, Kenya, Masai Convivial
Masai Mara, Kenya

A Journey Through the Masai Lands

The Mara savannah became famous for the confrontation between millions of herbivores and their predators. But, in a reckless communion with wildlife, it is the Masai humans who stand out there.
Braga or Braka or Brakra in Nepal
Annapurna (circuit)
Annapurna Circuit: 6th – Braga, Nepal

The Ancient Nepal of Braga

Four days of walking later, we slept at 3.519 meters from Braga (Braka). Upon arrival, only the name is familiar to us. Faced with the mystical charm of the town, arranged around one of the oldest and most revered Buddhist monasteries on the Annapurna circuit, we continued our journey there. acclimatization with ascent to Ice Lake (4620m).
Luderitz, Namibia
Architecture & Design
Lüderitz, Namibia

Wilkommen in Africa

Chancellor Bismarck has always disdained overseas possessions. Against his will and all odds, in the middle of the Race for Africa, merchant Adolf Lüderitz forced Germany to take over an inhospitable corner of the continent. The homonymous city prospered and preserves one of the most eccentric heritages of the Germanic empire.
lagoons and fumaroles, volcanoes, PN tongariro, new zealand
Tongariro, New Zealand

The Volcanoes of All Discords

In the late XNUMXth century, an indigenous chief ceded the PN Tongariro volcanoes to the British crown. Today, a significant part of the Maori people claim their mountains of fire from European settlers.
shadow of success
Ceremonies and Festivities
Champoton, Mexico

Rodeo Under Sombreros

Champoton, in Campeche, hosts a fair honored by the Virgén de La Concepción. O rodeo Mexican under local sombreros reveals the elegance and skill of the region's cowboys.
fortress wall of Novgorod and the Orthodox Cathedral of Hagia Sophia, Russia.
Novgorod, Russia

Mother Russia's Viking Grandmother

For most of the past century, the USSR authorities have omitted part of the origins of the Russian people. But history leaves no room for doubt. Long before the rise and supremacy of the tsars and the soviets, the first Scandinavian settlers founded their mighty nation in Novgorod.
young saleswoman, nation, bread, uzbekistan
Fergana Valley, Uzbekistan

Uzbekistan, The Nation That Does Not Lack Bread

Few countries employ cereals like Uzbekistan. In this republic of Central Asia, bread plays a vital and social role. The Uzbeks produce it and consume it with devotion and in abundance.
Efate, Vanuatu, transshipment to "Congoola/Lady of the Seas"
Efate, Vanuatu

The Island that Survived “Survivor”

Much of Vanuatu lives in a blessed post-savage state. Maybe for this, reality shows in which aspirants compete Robinson Crusoes they settled one after the other on their most accessible and notorious island. Already somewhat stunned by the phenomenon of conventional tourism, Efate also had to resist them.
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.
Namibe, Angola, Cave, Iona Park
Namibe, Angola

Incursion to the Angolan Namibe

Discovering the south of Angola, we leave Moçâmedes for the interior of the desert province. Over thousands of kilometers over land and sand, the harshness of the scenery only reinforces the astonishment of its vastness.
Indigenous Crowned
Pueblos del Sur, Venezuela

Behind the Venezuela Andes. Fiesta Time.

In 1619, the authorities of Mérida dictated the settlement of the surrounding territory. The order resulted in 19 remote villages that we found dedicated to commemorations with caretos and local pauliteiros.
Rainbow in the Grand Canyon, an example of prodigious photographic light
Got2Globe Photo Portfolio
Natural Light (Part 1)

And Light was made on Earth. Know how to use it.

The theme of light in photography is inexhaustible. In this article, we give you some basic notions about your behavior, to start with, just and only in terms of geolocation, the time of day and the time of year.
Bathers in the middle of the End of the World-Cenote de Cuzamá, Mérida, Mexico
Yucatan, Mexico

The End of the End of the World

The announced day passed but the End of the World insisted on not arriving. In Central America, today's Mayans watched and put up with incredulity all the hysteria surrounding their calendar.
Viewpoint Viewpoint, Alexander Selkirk, on Skin Robinson Crusoe, Chile
Robinson Crusoe Island, Chile

Alexander Selkirk: in the Skin of the True Robinson Crusoe

The main island of the Juan Fernández archipelago was home to pirates and treasures. His story was made up of adventures like that of Alexander Selkirk, the abandoned sailor who inspired Dafoe's novel
Boats on ice, Hailuoto Island, Finland.
Winter White
Hailuoto, Finland

A Refuge in the Gulf of Bothnia

During winter, the island of Hailuoto is connected to the rest of Finland by the country's longest ice road. Most of its 986 inhabitants esteem, above all, the distance that the island grants them.
Kukenam reward
Mount Roraima, Venezuela

Time Travel to the Lost World of Mount Roraima

At the top of Mount Roraima, there are extraterrestrial scenarios that have resisted millions of years of erosion. Conan Doyle created, in "The Lost World", a fiction inspired by the place but never got to step on it.
Preikestolen, Pulpit Rock, risky throne
Preikestolen - Pulpit Rock, Norway

Pilgrimage to the Pulpit of Rock of Norway

The Norway of the endless fjords abounds in grand scenery. In the heart of Lyse Fjord, the prominent, smooth and almost square top of a cliff over 600 meters forms an unexpected rocky pulpit. Climbing to its heights, peering over the precipices and enjoying the surrounding panoramas is a lot of revelation.
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.
Train Kuranda train, Cairns, Queensland, Australia
Natural Parks
Cairns-Kuranda, Australia

Train to the Middle of the Jungle

Built out of Cairns to save miners isolated in the rainforest from starvation by flooding, the Kuranda Railway eventually became the livelihood of hundreds of alternative Aussies.
Engravings, Karnak Temple, Luxor, Egypt
UNESCO World Heritage
luxor, Egypt

From Luxor to Thebes: Journey to Ancient Egypt

Thebes was raised as the new supreme capital of the Egyptian Empire, the seat of Amon, the God of Gods. Modern Luxor inherited the Temple of Karnak and its sumptuousness. Between one and the other flow the sacred Nile and millennia of dazzling history.
Era Susi towed by dog, Oulanka, Finland
PN Oulanka, Finland

A Slightly Lonesome Wolf

Jukka “Era-Susi” Nordman has created one of the largest packs of sled dogs in the world. He became one of Finland's most iconic characters but remains faithful to his nickname: Wilderness Wolf.

Amberris Caye, Belize

Belize's Playground

Madonna sang it as La Isla Bonita and reinforced the motto. Today, neither hurricanes nor political strife discourage VIP and wealthy vacationers from enjoying this tropical getaway.

Goa, India

To Goa, Quickly and in Strength

A sudden longing for Indo-Portuguese tropical heritage makes us travel in various transports but almost non-stop, from Lisbon to the famous Anjuna beach. Only there, at great cost, were we able to rest.
The Toy Train story
On Rails
Siliguri a Darjeeling, India

The Himalayan Toy Train Still Running

Neither the steep slope of some stretches nor the modernity stop it. From Siliguri, in the tropical foothills of the great Asian mountain range, the Darjeeling, with its peaks in sight, the most famous of the Indian Toy Trains has ensured for 117 years, day after day, an arduous dream journey. Traveling through the area, we climb aboard and let ourselves be enchanted.

the last address

From the grandiose tombs of Novodevichy, in Moscow, to the boxed Mayan bones of Pomuch, in the Mexican province of Campeche, each people flaunts its own way of life. Even in death.
Fruit sellers, Swarm, Mozambique
Daily life
Enxame Mozambique

Mozambican Fashion Service Area

It is repeated at almost all stops in towns of Mozambique worthy of appearing on maps. The machimbombo (bus) stops and is surrounded by a crowd of eager "businessmen". The products offered can be universal such as water or biscuits or typical of the area. In this region, a few kilometers from Nampula, fruit sales suceeded, in each and every case, quite intense.
Sheep and hikers in Mykines, Faroe Islands
Mykines, Faroe Islands

In the Faeroes FarWest

Mykines establishes the western threshold of the Faroe archipelago. It housed 179 people but the harshness of the retreat got the better of it. Today, only nine souls survive there. When we visit it, we find the island given over to its thousand sheep and the restless colonies of puffins.
The Sounds, Fiordland National Park, New Zealand
Scenic Flights
Fiordland, New Zealand

The Fjords of the Antipodes

A geological quirk made the Fiordland region the rawest and most imposing in New Zealand. Year after year, many thousands of visitors worship the sub-domain slashed between Te Anau and Milford Sound.