Obo Natural Park - ecotourism hotspot
For those of us who enjoy outdoors activities in unspoiled nature the island provides excellent possibilities. The Sao Tome and Principe interesting volcanic geology, as well as its rich flora and fauna have been admired and studied by numerous travelers, scientist, and nature-lovers. There are over 700 species of native plants (including 100 unique orchids) and 143 birds, many of which are only found in Sao Tome and Principe. Scientist are still faced with a mystery how such a large diversity of species could develop in a remote location like the Sao Tome and Principe Island's.
Given its exceptional nature, the WWF classified the Sao Tome and Principe forests as one of the world 200 most important biodiversity area. The number of endemic birds has led the BirdLife International to classifies each island as a 'Endemic Bird Area' (EBA), and both islands are the only ocean small islands between the first 25% EBA’s of the world. The Island's have recently designated protected reserve areas to be known as the Obo Natural Park. Covering almost 60% of the islands territory, these area offers dramatic landscapes with torrents and waterfalls on its slopes, luxuriant mountains which culminates in Pico de São Tomé (2,024 m), sheer cliffs over the sea, as well as primary rainforests filled with exotic birds and lush vegetation.
The Obo Natural Park on Sao Tome is 30 minutes from the city and it provides excellent possibilities for hikers and for those of us who enjoy leisure activities in a natural context. Several circuits have been created within the Park in combination with staying overnight at the old plantations 'roças'.
The lightest rainforest trek is the round trip to Lagoa Amelia, which takes about 4-5 hours. For longer treks walkers need to organise transport, guides and in some cases accommodation or a tent. You can pick up guides from Bom Successo on the way if you haven’t already organised one.
A good trek is Bom Successo to Roca Bombain, overnight in Roca Bombain and then Bombain to Roca Sao Joao dos Angolares. This takes 2 days and 2 nights.
To climb the Pico de Sao Tome will take you 2 days and you need to be physically fit to do this. On day one you will climb several smaller mountains before you reach Mesa, where you will overnight in a tent. The next day you will climb the last section to the summit. The ground is tough and you need to be capable of about 8 hours hiking a day to complete it.
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