Africa's Eden organises small-scale ecotourism excursions to all interesting sites in her destinations in west central Africa.
- Visiting gorilla sanctuary on Evengue
During your stay on Evengué Island, our experts of the Fernan-Vaz Gorilla Project will share their knowledge with you on the bush meat crisis and other reasons why gorillas are a critically endangered species, and they will give you information about the Fernan-Vaz Gorilla Sanctuary and Rehabilitation & Reintroduction Programme. Afterwards one of the guides will accompany you on a short bush walk leading to the gorilla family in the sanctuary.
- Game drives in Loango National Park / Tassi area
Game drives in a 4x4 jeep are an easy and comfortable way to view the park and see wildlife such as buffalo, elephant, red river hogs and sitatunga. In the rainy season from November to April, you can find large mammals roaming freely on the beach.
- Walking Safaris in Loango National Park / Tassi / Akaka area
You can venture out with one of our eco-guides into the forest. On foot is one of the best ways to learn more about the diversity of the park. You can encounter wildlife such as elephants and buffalo, but even more so, discover the more inconspicuous forest animals and birds.
- Cultural Walks in Loango National Park
From the lodge, you can go on a cultural walk to the nearby village or the “Operation Loango” school, which is sponsored by Africa‟s Eden‟s sister company “Société de Conservation et Développement”.
- Whale Watching in Pte. Ste. Catherine
From mid-July to mid-September, humpback whales visit the coastline of Loango National Park. Go out on a boat with our skipper to look for these impressive, playful mammals.
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São Tomé city tour
Visit the old city centre and get a feel of what São Tomé was like during the colonial era. At the lively Mercado Central, you will discover the islands products and the Calilu’s secret ingredients. With a visit to the National Museum, our guide will tell you about the life on the plantations and São Tomé’s tormented pre-independence history.
East-coast Sao Tomé tour
Your first stop is the Roça Agua Izê, a working cocoa plantation, with its colonial buildings and warehouses. You will then continue along the coast, passing typical fishermen villages and admiring some of the best views of the island. Roça São João is your final destination, where you can relax and enjoy São Tomé’s best-kept culinary secrets for lunch. Famous cook and artist João Carlos Silva welcomes guests to visit his plantation and colorful guesthouse, an eclectic blend of modern art, colonial patrimony and rural Santomean craftwork. On your way back to the capital, you can stop for a swim in any of the numerous secluded beaches found on the East Coast.
- Nature and wildlife excursions
Hiking in Ôbo National Park
Ôbo Natural Park has only recently been created and helps protect the unique natural heritage of the island. The old cocoa plantation “Roça Bombaim” is a major point of entry to the Ôbo National Park. Surrounded by mountains and waterfalls, this old estate has been rehabilitated into a charming small hostel. One of the eco-guides will take you through the plantations and into the park to discover the secrets of the Santomean rainforest. After a refreshing bath and picnic at the waterfall “Formoso Cascade”, you will head back to the roça for a well-deserved locally brewed cup of coffee.
Visit to Bom Sucesso Botanical Garden
São Tomé’s native flora (700 species including a hundred orchids) and fauna (birds and marine turtles) are of particular interest, as many of its species are endemic. Indeed, it is possible to see more than 100 different orchids from the island at the Bom Sucesso Botanical Garden.
Sea Turtle Night Patrol
Marine turtles have been coming to São Tomé for millions of years. Between October and April, five species can be seen on the island: the green turtle, the leatherback, the olive riddley, the hawksbill and the caouanne. We invite you to accompany our eco-guides on their nightly patrols of the beach to supervise and protect the sea turtles as they crawl ashore to nest.
São Tomé is also an ornithologist’s paradise: 143 bird species have been identified here and rare endemic species like the São Tomé short tail, São Tomé giant sun bird, and São Tomé fiscal shrike may sometimes be spotted.
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- Island tours by car, quadbike, or kayak
The town of Santo Antonio
The rustic town of Santo Antonio tells the colorful story of a colonial Portuguese village that is home to the people of Príncipe and a photographer’s dream.
Roça of Belo Monte
Visit the Roça of Belo Monte and enjoy the sight of hundreds of cocoa and banana trees growing on the hillsides. Here you will also be able to take in the beautiful view over Banana Beach in the background.
Sundi was once the home of the Portuguese royal family. Only by visiting this roça can you come to understand how self-sufficient such colonial farms once were. Sundi boasts a very large hospital, a church, a very big workshop, some stables, coffee- and cocoa-roasting facilities, an enormous mansion, the sleeping quarters for hundreds of labourers, a railway network with steam locomotive and various other outbuildings.
Circumnavigate Bom Bom Island by foot, and discover its beautiful rock pools with their own ecosystems varying from one pool to the next. Or go on a leisurely hike through the forest to experience the sounds of the jungle and catch glimpses of a Mona monkey or the African grey parrot.
From mid-July to mid-September, humpback whales visit the waters around Bom Bom as they migrate from their low-latitude summer feeding grounds to more tropical mating and calving areas.
Visit the “Leatherback & Green Turtle Breeding Programme” at Praia Sundi and witness the fight for survival as the little turtles scramble for the surf, their first steps in a long journey that only ends when they return years later to continue the life cycle on the exact same beach. This seasonal activity takes from December to March.
At sunrise, a team of researchers and pygmy trackers leaves the camp of Bai Hokou to find the nest where the gorillas slept the previous night. As soon as this nest site is found, the team then follows the traces left by the gorillas while moving on and feeding. To do this, one takes elephant paths and narrow trails. Sometimes it takes one or two hours before establishing contact with the gorillas. Once the position is known, it is communicated to the camp by radio so the relief team can set off in the right direction.
Encountering the gorillas is not guaranteed, but in previous years nearly 90% of those taking part in this activity have seen gorillas in close proximity.
- Observing Forest Elephants
To observe the timid forest elephant in the wild is an experience usually reserved to a limited circle of researchers. At the clearing (saline) of Dzanga Bai in Dzanga-Sangha, visitors have this chance. Early in the morning, as the grey parrots alight at the Dzanga Bai to savour the mineral-rich grass, emitting their extensive repertoire of whistles and squawks, the first elephants have already laid claim to their choice watering-holes.
From the platform you can observe them while they feed, drink, engage in games of (social) rank and maintain their social bonds.More than 3000 individual elephants have been identified visiting the saline of Dzanga Bai. At the same time, the open clearing allows you to observe other species typically found in the Reserve: sitatunga, buffalo and sometimes bongos, boars and storks.
By taking elephant paths you are led to these animals’ favoured spots. Often these are clearings and saline, traversed by streams, and kept open by the elephants. With a bit of luck you will not only see elephants and buffalo, but also bongos, monkeys and traces of other animals. The sounds, smells and luminous green of the vegetation create a very unique atmosphere.
Accompany the BaAka pygmies hunting and help with carving up of the game, let the BaAka women show you the medicinal and other plants of use, taste a typical dish of liana leaves with a sauce made from forest nuts, watch how they construct in the forest, in no time at all, a hut to protect against the rain. Getting to know this secret culture is an experience few have known.
The essence of the BaAka culture, which has been preserved over the millennia, is mainly expressed in music and dance, serving to maintain their bonds with their gods, spirits and ancestors. Each singer and percussionist chooses his or her own rhythm resulting in a wonderful array of harmony. This universe of movement, rhythm and sound is very difficult to describe – you have to experience it for real.
The best way to get a glimpse of daily life in Bayanga is a visit to the village with one of our guides. People are more than happy to show you around in their small shops and if you’re lucky they will demonstrate how they produce homemade palm oil wine. The local bar has a nice view over the Sangha River and is a good place to get a taste of the Bayanga spirit.