São Tomé and Príncipe

Map of Sao Tome and PrincipeThe Democratic Republic of São Tomé and Príncipe, is a Portuguese-speaking island nation in the Gulf of Guinea, off the western equatorial coast of Central Africa. It consists of two archipelagos around the two main islands: São Tomé and Príncipe, located about 140 km apart. Both islands are part of an extinct volcanic mountain range. São Tomé, the sizable southern island, is situated just north of the equator.

With a population of approximately 200 000, São Tomé and Príncipe is Africa’s second smallest country (after Seychelles).

São Tomé is 50 km and 30 km wide and the more mountainous of the two islands, with its highest peak reaching 2 024 m. Príncipe is about 30 km long and 6 km wide. Both islands are characterised by fast flowing streams that flow through dense forest and cropland to the sea. The main crop on São Tomé is cocoa, which accounts for 95% of agricultural exports. Other export crops include copra, palm kernels, and coffee. Fishing is an important economic activity and a small industrial sector is engaged in the processing of agricultural products and consumer goods.

São Tomé and Príncipe are both part of the Cameroon volcanic mountain line, São Tomé is bigger and the more mountainous of the two islands. Swift streams radiating down the mountains through lush forest and cropland to the sea cross both islands.

At sea level, the climate is tropical—hot and humid with average yearly temperatures of about 27°C and little daily variation; at the interior’s higher elevations, the average yearly temperature is 20°C. Annual rainfall varies from 5,000 mm (196.9 in) on the southwestern slopes to 1,000 mm (39.4 in) in the northern lowlands.

São Tomé and Príncipe does not have a large number of native mammals. The islands are home to a larger number of endemic birds and plants. São Tomé and Principe is an important marine turtle nesting site.