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Introducing São Tomé & Príncipe

It won’t be too long before you come on and feel the leve-leve in these two tiny islands that comprise Africa’s second smallest nation. As soon as you touch down amid the palm-fringed beaches, crystal-clear water and barely explored jungles, you’ll become infected with the pervasive national mood that translates to ‘slowly, slowly’ and loosely means ‘it’s all good, take it easy’.

And because you’ll have this Portuguese-Creole flavoured tropical paradise almost to yourself (only about 20 tourists per week venture here), you can sip some of the world’s best coffee, eat fresh fruits and seafood, delight on gourmet chocolate, stay in the crumbling roças (houses) of the old colonial plantations in São Tomé Town, dive and snorkel in uncharted waters, trek the endlessly biodiverse jungles and explore sleepy fishermen’s villages at your own, leisurely pace, away from anything that resembles hustle and bustle. And in Príncipe, with one town and a total population of under 5000, you might be tempted to check your own pulse every few hours.

On these shores, the only way to raise your heart rate is to participate in the astoundingly sensual pelvis-mashing moves danced nightly in bars across the islands. São Tomé is the kind of place you may never have heard about, but once you visit, you just might never leave.