The Margouilla's Advice on Nightstopping in Sao Tomé

SAO TOME (FPST/TMS)

 

 

What airfield can I expect?

Despite being the main airport in the country, Sao Tome airport is small and has very little traffic. The runway is in fair condition, but its surface has become very abrasive due to lack of maintenance. Sao Tome is open H24, with Jet A-1 available at all times from trucks. No Avgas, tiedowns in the grass, hardly accessible.

Airport security is decent as long as you are parked on the main apron in front of the terminal. There is no airport fence.

All administrative formalities are dealt with in the Operations Office, on the first floor of the control tower building. The first bill will come from the airport authority, for landing and navigation fees. The second one will be for "handling" (non-existent yet mandatory) and is issued by the national air carrier Sao Tome & Principe Airways, which does not fly any aircraft, by the way... Both bills are issued in US dollars.

The tiny island capital is located only 4 miles away from the airport, a 5 dollar bill will get you there.


Where am I?

Sao Tomé is a tropical volcanic island, which holds the country's capital and the vast majority of its population.

The island was discovered by Portuguese explorers in 1470 and settled in the following decades as a trade base for commerce with the African mainland. The place soon became a major plantation center, initially for sugar and later on for coffee and cocoa. On the darker side, Sao Tomé also became a major platform for Portuguese slave traders enroute to the Americas. Many slaves from Angola served in Sao Tomean plantations, and the pratice continued into the 20th century disguised as forced labor. By 1908, Sao Tomé was the world's largest cocoa producer, and the crop still stands for 95% of exports today.

Independence occured only in 1975, and the country has known little development since. In 2001, offshore oil exploration started and may eventually raise the country out of oblivion.

With a population of only 140,000, its tiny capital filled with old Portuguese buildings has a distinctive charm to it. The friendliness of its population and its deserted sand beaches might one day make it a prime tourist destination.


Where do I sleep?

Omali Lodge (5mn from the airport)

Sao Tomé - Airport Road
Tel: +(239) 22 23 50

Pristine beachside resort located right next to the airport (formerly Marlin Beach Resort). Swimming pool and 30 luxury bungalows scattered in a nice tropical garden filled with palmtrees. Wi-fi, tennis court and excursions organised by the hotel staff. Expect around 120 EUR a night, and 5 EUR extra for breakfast.

 

Where do I eat?

 

What can I visit?

 

Where can I go out?

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