At a Glance
Dates: December 10th - December 19th, 2022
Extension: We do not currently offer any extensions to this itinerary.
Prices: £4,995 pp sharing (with a £700 single supplement), excluding international flights.
In a sentence: Offering some of the most accessible and visually-stunning endemics anywhere on earth, the islands of São Tomé and Príncipe are a must-visit for any serious birder.
There is surely nothing as tantalising for a birder than the promise of a rarely-seen endemic. What makes São Tomé and Príncipe so special are that these islands, situated in the Gulf of Guinea off the coast of West Africa, are home to dozens of elusive, beautiful and varied endemic species. From sunbirds and kingfishers to speirops and scops-owls, even the most hard-to-please birder is sure to be blown away by this itinerary.
On your arrival into São Tomé, you will be met by your Pictus Safaris tour leader and local guide, before being transferred to your excellent local hotel. There is a pre-tour briefing in the hotel this evening, with the rest of the day set aside for rest and relaxation after your flight.
Our birding adventure begins in earnest at dawn this morning, with a two-hour boat journey to Sao Miguel. Arriving by mid-morning, the full day is dedicated to exploring the forests of Sao Miguel. Key targets include several endemics including maroon pigeon, São Tomé paradise flycatcher and São Tomé green pigeon. In the late afternoon, we will return to our hotel by boat.
Early today we head back to the airport for a short flight to the small island of Príncipe, where we will transfer to our very comfortable hotel. We will enjoy lunch here before heading off to seek out a number of Príncipe endemics, including Príncipe kingfisher, Príncipe speirops and Príncipe sunbird. Don't be surprised to encounter several of these endemics in our hotel's garden before our birding has even gotten seriously underway! Our evening will be spent relaxing in our hotel after a day of travelling and excellent birding.
This morning will be spent birding around the hotel before we embark on a two-hour boat journey to the remote Praia Peixe. After enjoying lunch on the beach, we will then head into the forests of this area with one key target - the Príncipe scops-owl. We will camp in the forest this evening to give us the best chance of spotting this elusive endemic.
We have several hours this morning to spend birding the forests of Praia Peixe before we return to our hotel on Príncipe - there will once again be ample opportunities for birding in the grounds of our excellent hotel before dinner.
This morning we return to São Tomé on a late morning flight. After lunch in our hotel, we will head to beautiful Obo National Park. This area is truly superb for birding, as are the nearby Bom Sucesso Botanical Gardens, and we can expect as many as half a dozen endemics this afternoon before returning to the hotel.
Our first stop this morning is the Rio Grande, which feels like it is a million miles from the city of São Tomé, and is a great spot for a rich variety of waterfowl, as well as the iconic giant sunbird. After ticking off our key targets here, we continue on to Ribeira Peixe and the Monte Carvo Forest. Camp will be set up for us deep in this stunning forest, and the afternoon will be dedicated to tracking down some of the very rarest endemics this island has to offer.
This morning we will intensively search the highest reaches of Monte Carvo, stopping often for photographic opportunities. Thereafter, we return to the town of São Tomé for some rest and recuperation after several long days.
Our final full day allows an opportunity to bird the northern beaches of the island, picking up any endemics we may have missed. Keep an eye out to sea, as you may spot several species of cetacean!
Guests are today transferred to the airport for their homeward flights.
Please be aware that whilst we make every effort to follow the above itinerary as closely as possible, circumstances may
occasionally arise that mean the tour deviates from the itinerary.
Dates and Prices
This tour will run in December 2022, aiming to take advantage of the excellent weather and plethora of birdwatching opportunities. The tour will run from December 10th to December 19th 2022.
The cost of this trip is £4,995 per person excl. flights, with a £700 single supplement. This includes all meals, accommodation and wildlife-focussed activities. Premium drinks are not included. To secure a booking, a deposit payment of £1,500 must be paid.
Flights and Visas
Pictus Safaris do not offer flight booking services. However, we do recommend the use of travel comparison websites such as skyscanner.net or momondo.com to identify the best fares, and then booking with the airline directly where possible. This will reduce the likelihood of complications and fees should any issues with your booking arise. If you wish to spend an additional night in São Tomé at the beginning or end of your tour, we can arrange this for you at an extra cost.
British nationals require a visa to enter São Tomé and Príncipe. Clients of other nationalities are advised to check well before travel whether they require an entry visa. The details concerning acquiring a visa for São Tomé and Príncipe will be shared upon booking, but visas generally cost 20 Euros and must be applied for in advance of travel.
Weather and What to Bring
The weather in São Tomé and Príncipe in December is warm and humid, with maximum temperatures of around 29 degrees Celsius. At night, temperatures will drop to around 22 degrees Celsius.
A full packing list will be circulated at least two months prior to departure. Pictus Safaris will be able to provide one extra set of binoculars and two spotlights per group, and clients are welcome to bring additional camera, videography and scope equipment should they wish to. Please note that the use of drones is not permitted in many protected areas. We strongly recommend bringing comfortable, loose-fitting and neutral-coloured clothing on safari - please do not bring camouflage clothing. We recommend against dark coloured clothing (e.g. black or dark blue) as this attracts biting flies. Worn-in hiking boots with ankle support are a must, as are sunglasses, sun protection and a hat.
Do also remember to budget for any expenses not included in the cost of the trip, including for gratuities and additional activities. We recommend bringing US Dollars.
Safety and Security
There are no security concerns in any of the areas visited by this tour.