São Tomé / Príncipe: public holidays

The tours of Africa’s Eden are not effected by the public holidays in São Tomé & Príncipe. In the weekly newspaper, details are included of the events and celebrations, and the many saints’ days.

Dates Public holiday Details
January 1 New Year’s Day New Year’s Day on São Tomé is often celebrated on the beach. The locals have a tradition of putting on new clothes after a swim in the ocean to welcome the new year.
February 3 Heroes Day The massacre of Batepá in 1953 is commemorated on this day, with dancing, oral history, wreath-laying.
May 1 Labour Day International Workers’ Day
July 12 Independence Day Celebration of independence from Portugal in 1975 with festivities in the capital of São Tomé
September 6 Armed Forces’ Day Parades through the streets of the capital of São Tomé
November 1 All Saint´s Day Feast celebrated in honour of all saints, known and unknown
December 21 São Tomé Day Discovery of the island in 1470
December 25 Christmas Christmas Day

Source: Bradt Travel Guide, July 2008

Nature

São Tomé and Príncipe is the second smallest African country – larger only than the Seychelles in terms of population. São Tomé is 50 kilometers (31 miles) long and 32 kilometers (20 miles) wide and the more mountainous of the two islands. Its highest peak reaches 2,024 meters (6,640 feet).

Wildlife

The geographic isolation from Africa has resulted in high levels of endemism. Overall, Sao Tome and Principe has 143 birds, 15 mammals, 14 reptiles, and 9 amphibians. The waters of Sao Tome and Principe are still largely unexplored. So far, 230 fish species have been distinguished of which many are endemic.

Climate

You can visit the islands of Sao Tome and Principe all year around. The climate is tropical with average yearly temperatures of about 27°C (80°F) and little daily variation. At the interior’s higher altitudes, the average yearly temperature is 20°C (68°F), and nights are generally cool.

People

São Tomé and Príncipe is a place with a rich cultural heritage where people are happy to meet you. The lack of tribal, ethnic or religious conflict adds to the friendly “leve leve” (as the locals say, “easy-easy”) atmosphere. The human history on São Tomé & Príncipe begins in 1470, when the Portuguese settlers came to the islands.