Birding Tour São Tomé and Príncipe: 10-day Birding Adventure

Dates and Costs


20 – 29 August 2023

Price: US$5,259 + US$306 for the domestic flight = US$5,565 / £5,187 / € 5,921 per person sharing.

Single Supplement: US$586 / £546 / €624


* Please note that currency conversion is calculated in real-time, therefore is subject to slight change. Please refer back to the base price when making final payments.


Recommended Field Guide

(Please also read our blogs about recommended field guides for the seven continents here)

Tour Details

Duration: 10 days
Group Size: 6 – 8
Tour Start: São Tomé
Tour End: São Tomé

Accommodation: The hotels and lodges are mostly of good or medium standard. At Ipassa we may stay at the research station with shared facilities.

Transport:  Transport will be by minivan, 4×4, and boat (where applicable).

Difficulty: The walking effort is mostly easy, but there may be slightly harder walks on Príncipe and São Tomé. You must also bear in mind the humidity, so taking adequate water is essential.

Climate: Mostly hot and humid, particularly in forest areas, with dry and sunny weather and some overcast and rainy spells (often heavy on the islands).

Price includes:

Guiding fees
All transport while on tour (including airport transfers)
Bottled water throughout the tour


Price excludes:

International flights
Airport taxes
Visa fees
Items of a personal nature, e.g. laundry, gifts
Drinks other than bottled water
Personal insurance
Gratuities (please see our tipping guidelines blog)

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São Tomé and Príncipe: 10-day Birding Adventure
August 2023


The scenically spectacular, equatorial islands of São Tomé and Príncipe boast 25 endemic birds! Needless to say, therefore, they are a “must” for any serious world birder. We aim for all 25 of these endemics during our comprehensive tour (but of course might not get them all). We are forced to spend some nights camping (which we try and make as easy as possible for you) during our tour. The rainforest-clad volcanic slopes of these islands make for amazing birding, including a host of other species apart from the endemics, which are the main focus for us. While our focus is very much on birds we’re likely to encounter a great diversity of other wildlife as a byproduct of the birding.

Sao Tome and Principe birding toursSao Tome Green Pigeon (Paul van Giersbergen) should be seen on this tour.


São Tomé is the larger island and has a population of just under 200,000 people, whereas Príncipe is smaller with only 5000 people. You will enjoy the friendly atmosphere and idyllic setting – a combo of stunning beaches and well-forested mountains.

This tour can be combined with our Birding Tour Gabon: 14-day Birding Adventure (30 August– 17 September) which immediately follows this tour.

Sao Tome and Principe birding toursSao Tome Paradise Flycatcher (photo Paul van Giersbergen) should be seen on the islet of São Miguel.


Itinerary (10 days/9 nights)


Day 1 Arrival by air on the island of São Tomé

We’ll meet you on arrival at the airport and take you to your hotel for checking in. Time permitting, we may be able to start a little birding today.

Overnight: hotel or guest house in or near the city of São Tomé


Day 2 Boat trip to São Miguel

Excited, we embark on a boat trip, which takes a couple of hours, to São Miguel, where we’ll set up camp. Here we hope to find some of the tantalizing endemics such as Giant Weaver, Sao Tome White-eye, Sao Tome Paradise Flycatcher, Sao Tome Green Pigeon, Sao Tome Olive PigeonIsland Bronze-naped Pigeon, Sao Tome Thrush, Sao Tome PriniaPríncipe Seedeater, Black-capped Speirops, and some more widespread species such as Whitetailed Tropicbird.

Overnight: camping at São Miguel


Day 3 Back to São Tomé

We try to clean up on this endemic-rich forest before heading back (by boat again) to São Tomé, where we might have time to bird in the late afternoon.

Overnight: hotel or guest house in or near the city of São Tomé


Days 4 – 5 Flight to Príncipe and birding there

Usually the first morning is pretty much spent getting to Príncipe (after breakfast) and checking into our hotel there. Then we spend one and a half hours birding this fabulous island. The list of possible new additions to our list is long and very exciting! We’ll search for several birds with Principe in their names – Principe Speirops, Principe Sunbird, Principe Starling, and Principe Weaver. We’ll also look for Sao Tome Spinetail, Dohrn’s Thrush-Babbler, and some more widespread but still very special birds, including Blue-breasted Kingfisher, Grey Parrot, African Green Pigeon, and many others.

Overnight: Hotel or guest house in Príncipe

Sao Tome and Principe birding toursPrincipe Speirops (photo Paul van Giersbergen) should be seen on Príncipe.


Day 6 Birding Príncipe, flight back to São Tomé, birding São Tomé

Hopefully this will prove to be another very spectacular birding day, trying to clean up in the morning on Príncipe and then after flying back to São Tomé. Here we will be birding Bom Sucesso Botanical Garden, Obo National Park, and other sites. A highlight in the national park is always Sao Tome Scops Owl, but we’ll also be looking for a lot of the species mentioned previously if we still “need” them, along with some more widespread birds.

Overnight: hotel or guest house in or near the city of São Tomé


Days 7 – 8 The forests of Monte Carvo for some tricky endemics

We’ll leave the city behind us for a couple of days. En route to Monte Carvo we plan to stop at Rio Grande for some widespread birds as well as for chances of Giant Sunbird and other endemics. After this we drive onward to Ribeira Peixe and say goodbye to our vehicle for the next two nights. We’ll do a lot of walking, accessing some of the higher-altitude sites within these mountains, camping for two nights. We’ll be looking mainly for the “Big 5” endemics of this area. The first one is Sao Tome Short-tail, aka Bocage’s Longbill – you’ve got to love these alternate names, enough to confuse even the most experienced world birders! The others are Sao Tome Ibis, Sao Tome Fiscal, Sao Tome Weaver, and Giant Sunbird. But we also should see several other São Tomé/Príncipe endemics, along with the “party-crashing” widespread birds.

Overnight: camping

Sao Tome and Principe birding toursYet another endemic, Sao Tome Ibis (photo Paul van Giersbergen).


Day 9 Back to São Tomé

This is a “cleanup” (for birds we’re still missing) and travel day.

Overnight: hotel or guest house in or near the city of São Tomé


Day 10 Departure and, time-permitting, north beaches

Time-permitting, we’ll bird woodland, savanna, and grassland areas for some more widespread birds to pad the list. Then we have to say our sad goodbyes after what was hopefully a very exciting and enjoyable tour.


Please note that the itinerary cannot be guaranteed as it is only a rough guide and can be changed (usually slightly) due to factors such as availability of accommodation, updated information on the state of accommodation, roads, or birding sites, the discretion of the guides and other factors.

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