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FT.COM - New frontiers for 2013

São Tomé and Príncipe This small island nation, 250km off the west coast of central Africa, is “the Galápagos of Africa”, according to Tom Barber of Original Travel. As in the Galápagos, isolation means there are numerous species of plants and birds that occur nowhere else and, depending on the season, visitors can also see migrating giant leatherback turtles and humpback whales. Unlike the Galápagos, visitors can stay on the islands (rather than on cruise ships), making it easy to explore the forests, extinct volcanoes and colonial towns.

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7 amazing islands for eco-tourists

Sao Tome and Principe, often referred to simply as Sao Tome, is a tiny nation that consists of an archipelago surrounding the country's two namesake islands off the coast of Gabon. In the past, this nation of 200,000 people relied heavily on cocoa exports. However, tourism (among other industries) plays an important part in the country's economy. Infrastructure is basic and tourism numbers still quite modest. Lush landscapes and a complete lack of crowds mean that this lusophone country is a nearly perfect African destination for eco-tourists. While few native mammals have crossed from the African mainland, both Sao Tome and Principe are havens for birds and rare plant life. Trails crisscross both these islands. Sao Tome's mountains rise sharply to over 6,000 feet above sea level and provide some stunning inland scenery. Beaches are another trait of this little known archipelago. Idyllic, palm-fringed sands are often deserted, except for those that are crowded by local fishermen (but not tourists).

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The Hawaii of Africa

The surf scene on remote São Tomé – one of the smallest island nations on earth – is as extraordinary as its setting is exotic, finds Michael Scott Moore.

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SurfTrip a São Tomé

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