Central African Republic, Sao Tome and Principe - 13 days - price starts from 6995 USD pp - limited groups and 4 scheduled departures per year - excluding international flights. (prices can fluctuate due to seasonality and availability)
Day 1: Sunday – Arrival in Libreville, Gabon
Upon arrival at Libreville International Airport, a representative of Africa’s Eden will meet you and bring you to your hotel. He or she will help you with the customs procedures and collecting of your luggage. Please note that you will need to show your vaccination booklet. After that you will be brought to the Hotel Intercontinental.
You can spend the evening as you like; there is no organised programme. If you would like to go out for dinner, the "Quartier Louis" is Libreville's most lively neighbourhood with many restaurants. In addition, Tropicana (near the airport) is also a good spot for a nice dinner or a relaxing drink by the sea.
Accommodation: Intercontinental Hotel is perfectly placed base for the exploration of Libreville and the fascinating countryside of Gabon. The hotel has everything necessary in-house to ensure visitors are nice stay. Informal and formal restaurants serve local and international cuisine. Swimming pool, basic gym, shop and tennis are all available.
Day 2 -5: Monday - Thursday - Dzanga-Sangha Reserve, Central African Republic
In the morning you will be picked up from your hotel and brought to the airport for your Africa’s Connection flight to Bayanga, which will take approximately 2 hours. In Bayanga, the Doli Lodge staff will help you with your luggage and drive you to the lodge where you will have some time to settle into your room before having lunch in the restaurant, on a terrace above the river. After lunch, the group will be divided into smaller groups for the programme in and around the Dzanga-Sangha Reserve. All forest activities are accompanied by trained guides who speak French and also some English. The following days it will be you who decide what you want to explore and do. We give you some suggestions:
Gorilla Tracking (1 x half day) At sunrise, a team of researchers and pygmy trackers leaves the camp of Bai Hokou to find the nest where the gorillas slept the previous night. As soon as this nest site is found, the team then follows the traces left by the gorillas while moving on and feeding. To do this, one takes elephant paths and narrow trails. Sometimes it takes one or two hours before establishing contact with the gorillas. Once the position is known, it is communicated to the camp by radio so the relief team can set off in the right direction. Encountering the gorillas is not guaranteed, but in previous years nearly 90% of those taking part in this activity have seen gorillas in close proximity.
Observing Forest Elephants (2 visits) To observe the timid forest elephant in the wild is an experience usually reserved to a limited circle of researchers. At the clearing (saline) of Dzanga Bai in Dzanga-Sangha, visitors have this chance. Early in the morning, as the grey parrots alight at the Dzanga Bai to savour the mineral-rich grass, emitting their extensive repertoire of whistles and squawks, the first elephants have already laid claim to their choice watering-holes. From the platform you can observe them while they feed, drink, engage in games of (social) rank and maintain their social bonds. More than 3000 individual elephants have been identified visiting the saline of Dzanga Bai. At the same time, the open clearing allows you to observe other species typically found in the Reserve: sitatunga, buffalo and sometimes bongos, boars and storks.
Hiking around the Saline (1 x - duration dependant on group)
By taking elephant paths you are led to these animals’ favoured spots. Often these are clearings and saline, traversed by streams, and kept open by the elephants. With a bit of luck you will not only see elephants and buffalo, but also bongos, monkeys and traces of other animals. The sounds, smells and luminous green of the vegetation create a very unique atmosphere.
Accommodation: Doli Lodge
is found on the wooded banks of the river. It is constructed of wooden buildings, most raised above the ground on stilts. The living quarters have a terrace with view of the river and are equipped with a bathroom and a fan. This is no "great luxury", but you will find all the necessary comforts to recuperate after your activities in the Reserve and to pass a pleasurable moment. At sundown, one sometimes has the chance to see hippos from the restaurant terrace, before they leave the water for the pastures on the marshy banks of the tributaries.
Day 6: Friday – Flight to Príncipe
On Saturday after an early breakfast, the Doli Lodge staff will bring you to the airstrip at Bayanga, where the private charter plane departs to Príncipe.
You will arrive in Bom Bom Island Resort in Principe just in time for lunch, which will be the first of many treats this place has to offer. At night, the ocean, endlessly ebbing and flowing along the beach will lull you into a deep, contented sleep.
Accommodation: Bom Bom Island Resort The resort offers accommodation in 25 bungalows. All rooms are comfortably furnished with a lounge suite, table and chairs, mini-bar and satellite TV, hair dryer, telephone, air conditioning and a built-in cupboard including a safe. Rooms have an en-suite bathroom with shower, basin and toilet.
Day 7: Saturday - Príncipe
While Bom Bom is a wonderful place to relax and recharge your spirit, there is also plenty there to explore and discover. Its up to you do do a few of the following activities:
Santo Antonio City Tour It is a photographer’s dream: the rustic town of Santo Antonio tells the colourful story of a colonial Portuguese village that is now home to the people of Príncipe. Enjoy the warm, friendly atmosphere of the town as you stroll through its streets, visit the fish and fresh produce markets, and step into some of the old shops with their assorted goods and trinkets. Sample some of the local delicacies or see what natural remedies the chemist might prescribe.
Hiking Circumnavigate Bom Bom Island by foot, and discover its beautiful rock pools with their own ecosystems varying from one pool to the next. Or go on a leisurely hike through the forest to experience the sounds of the jungle and catch glimpses of a Mona monkey or the African grey parrot.
Whale Watching*) From mid-July to mid-September, humpback whales visit the waters around Bom Bom as they migrate from their low-latitude summer feeding grounds to more tropical mating and calving areas. *) Please note that sightings cannot be guaranteed and this excursion is not included in the package price of this programme.
Day 8: Sunday – Thursday São Tomé
On Sunday morning you will fly to São Tomé or Principe with the connecting flight. Th staff from Omali Lodge will be waiting to meet you at the airport. In the afternoon you can explore the island.
São Tomé City Tour Visit the old city centre and get a feel of what São Tomé was like during the colonial era. At the lively Mercado Central, you will discover the islands products and the Calilu’s secret ingredients. With a visit to the National Museum, our guide will tell you about the life on the plantations and São Tomé’s
Day Trip by Car to East Coast São ToméYour first stop is the Roça Agua Izê, a working cocoa plantation, with its colonial buildings and warehouses. You will then continue along the coast, passing typical fishermen villages and admiring some of the best views of the island. Roça São João is your final destination, where you can relax and enjoy São Tomé’s best-kept culinary secrets for lunch. Famous cook and artist João Carlos Silva welcomes guests to visit his plantation and colorful guesthouse, an eclectic blend of modern art, colonial patrimony and rural Santomean craftwork. On your way back to the capital, you can stop for a swim in any of the numerous secluded beaches found on the East Coast.
Hiking in Ôbo National Park Ôbo Natural Park has only recently been created and helps protect the unique natural heritage of the island. The old cocoa plantation “Roça Bombaim” is a major point of entry to the Ôbo National Park. Surrounded by mountains and waterfalls, this old estate has been rehabilitated into a charming small hostel. One of the eco-guides will take you through the plantations and into the park to discover the secrets of the Santomean rainforest. After a refreshing bath and picnic at the waterfall “Formoso Cascade”, you will head back to the roça for a well-deserved locally brewed cup of coffee.
Sea Turtle Night Patrol Marine turtles have been coming to São Tomé for millions of years. Between October and April, five species can be seen on the island: the green turtle, the leatherback, the olive riddley, the hawksbill and the caouanne. We invite you to accompany our eco-guides on their nightly patrols of the beach to supervise and protect the sea turtles as they crawl ashore to nest.
Bird-watching Expeditions São Tomé is also an ornithologist’s paradise: 143 bird species have been identified here and rare endemic species like the São Tomé short tail, São Tomé giant sun bird, and São Tomé fiscal shrike may sometimes be spotted.
Accommodation: Omali Lodge is a luxuriously designed eco- lodge, set on a white sandy beach close to the cultural melting pot of São Tomé town. Omali, meaning ‘ocean’ and ‘source of life’, is an ideal place to explore the natural and cultural wonders available on the island. The lodge has 30 luxury suites, making it the perfect place to unwind amongst spectacular nature.
Day 13: Friday - Fly back to Dubai / Gabon
After breakfast you will be brought to the airport for your flight back to Libreville and your connecting flight to Europe / US / South Africa.