Go birding in the forests surrounding several coffee and cocoa plantations, where the chance of spotting rare, endemic species is excellent.
Depart from the pier and drive south toward the center of the island, a land of tropical forests and volcanically formed mountains. The economy of Sao Tome was originally fueled by sugar exportation, but in the 19th century coffee and cocoa production ruled, and huge plantations were built. Today, they present some of the finest areas for bird watching.
However, the plantations also stand as a reminder that working conditions were once poor, as you will see at a monument in Batepa village that commemorates a 1953 massacre, when Portuguese landowners violently squashed a rebellion of plantation workers.
Following your visit, you will begin birding in the shade forest habitat so characteristic of the plantations. While there is no telling what you will spot, you might expect to see endemic species such as the Bronze-naped Pigeon, Giant Weaver and Sao Tome Paradise Flycatcher. In fact, there are as many endemic species here as in the more renowned and extensive Galapagos Islands, so your chance of viewing rare birds is excellent.
Next, it’s a stop at Governador Beach for refreshments before resuming your bird watching at other plantation locations. In similar habitats, you will get to spend additional time following rural trails, looking for indigenous and migratory birds. More than 135 species have been reported on Sao Tome, including many from the West African mainland such as Velvet-mantled Drongos. Following a stop for lunch in Chamiço, you will return to the pier.
Please note: This tour includes several hours of moderate walking/standing that includes some steps, natural and uneven surfaces as well as the possibility of mud. The tour is not available to wheelchair guests and may not be suitable for those with mobility concerns who are cautioned to carefully evaluate their personal level of stamina and ability. Guests should be in reasonably good physical condition. Light-weight clothing to include long sleeves and long pants; sun cap; sunglasses; sunscreen; insect repellant; binoculars; a bottle of water from the ship; and flat, comfortable walking shoes with a non-slip sole are recommended. Guests should be prepared for the possibility of rain. Restroom facilities on this tour are very limited and basic in nature. The order of the sites viewed or visited may vary and can be influenced by weather conditions.