Príncipe is the second largest island in the archipelago and reached by a 30-minute flight north from São Tomé.
Smaller Príncipe is home to a mere 6,000 islanders. Just 19km long, its north coast is notched with castaway shores that include the perfectly curved Banana Beach, which is so definitively palm-fringed and golden it once starred in a Bacardi ad. In 2012
Príncipe was declared a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve on account of its rich biodiversity, and this is a choice spot to look for humpback whales and nesting turtles in season. As is the case with Sao Tome, visitors need to be aware that they are visiting a very poor country.
Three years ago, its principal hotel, Bom Bom Island Resort, was bought by Mark Shuttleworth, the South African philanthropist and billionaire who travelled into outer space in 2002. Now he is investing in both islands to help create a model eco-tourist destination. Birders will be able to seek various equatorial African species such as African grey parrot, Sao Tome green pigeon and Principe sunbird but do note that in general, bird populations are relatively low compared with some destinations on the continent.
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