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Sao Tome and Principe Weather - The Best Times To Visit

Learn all about the weather in this equatorial paradise

Alistair

Alistair

Africa Specialist
Published on

14 May 2019

Read time

5 Minutes

Principe Island Bom Bom Resort

When to go summary

Sao Tome & Principe is a place that can be visited at any time of year and the best time of year to visit depends on what you are looking to do.

Peak season tends to be Dec - Feb and June - Aug (the dry months).

Here is a summary of when it is best for what.

Dec - March - Scuba Diving with best visibility.

Jan - Feb - Good for bird watching as the birds are showing off their mating plumage.

August - Oct - Humpback Whales.

Mid Nov - Early Feb - Turtle Nesting & Hatching 45 days later. If this is of interest, take a look at our turtle watching and conservation trip.

Principe Beach1

Spend 10 days in Sao Tome and Principe from £2,865 on this island escape.

- exceptional, unspoilt beaches

- incredible snorkelling and whale watching

- endemic birds

- hike through forests to waterfalls

- watch turtles laying eggs and hatching

We caught up with Lídia Nicolau from HBD, the company behind some of our favourite Sao Tome & Principe lodges (including Bom Bom Island Resort & Sundy Praia), to put together this weather guide and to find out more about the unpredictable nature of tropical weather & to discover what it's really like out on the islands. All quotes in this article are the words of Lídia.

The seasons in São Tomé and Príncipe

The temperature in Sao Tome & Principe fluctuates very little throughout the year, hovering between about 25 - 30°C. So it's really the rain that you need to consider, and how it might affect your activity plans.

There are four seasons here, two wet and two dry.

I must say that in a tropical destination the weather is unpredictable. The main dry season, called "Gravana", is from June to September. And the short dry season "Gravanita" runs from December to April. - Lídia

June - August/September - the Main Dry Season

This season, known as the 'Gravana', is the longest period of dry weather on Sao Tome & Principe. Yet the skies are grey and cloudy rather than clear.

From June to August there’s no rain but no blue skies either.

The lack of rain means this is a perfect time to enjoy hiking in the lush rainforests, relax on the beautiful sandy beaches & take a dip in the crystal-clear waters surrounding the islands. This is also the hottest time of year, although the cloud cover does shield you from the intensity of the sun's rays.

The bonus of visiting around the end of August through until October are the Humpback whales, Killer Whales and dolphins which you'll be able to spot migrating along the northeastern coastlines.

August is also known for it's saints' feast days and cultural events, where streets come alive with open air food stalls, music and entertainment.

BEST TIME FOR: hiking, swimming, beaches, whales, bird watching.

Forest Hike
Trek deep into the isles rainforests
Roca Belo Monte Principe Whale Watching
Whale watching on Principe

October - November - the Short Wet Season

The short wet season is all about short bursts of rain

September & October are kind of a mix. November has grey skies & rain (the worst scenario), and in recent years November has been the most rainy month and not April.

Whale & dolphin watching is possible during October from the northeast shores.

However, if you’re looking to travel in November for the start of this nesting season, be warned, grey skies and rain are abundant.

BEST TIME FOR: Whale & dolphin watching, bird nesting.

Newtons Sunbird In Sao Tome And Principe
Newtons Sunbird in Sao Tome and Principe
Principe Beach And People
Principe Beach

December - February - the Short Dry Season

Traditionally the 'Gravanita', or short dry season, runs from January to February. Travelling to Sao Tome & Principe at this time is perfect for travellers wanting to explore Obo National Park (on Sao Tome), which is fantastic for birding, and seeing the bright breeding plumage. If you're lucky you might spot one of the endemic birds, like the Sao Tome Fiscal or Newton's Sunbird, so keep your eyes peeled.

If you’re a keen photographer, then contrary to belief you will want to experience some rain because it clears the way for brilliant blue skies, meaning months December through until May will create incredible photographic opportunities. Another bonus of travelling in the ‘wet season’ is the abundance of nesting turtles from mid-November to early February & witnessing the hatchlings making their way to the waters edge.

BEST TIME FOR: scuba diving, photography, turtles nesting & turtle hatching.

Turtle Baby Principe
Baby turtle on Principe
Principe Snorkelling
Snorkelling on Principe

March - May - the Long Wet Season

This period is characterised by long spells of heavy precipitation & intense humidity.

From December to May the weather could be rainy but also has blue skies. Imagine the rain cleans the sky. Rainy season days can be a mixed bag - with a few hours of rain, which then clears the air, bringing beautiful fresh afternoons, then a cloudy evening with showers. Sometimes it only rains during afternoons.

At the moment, the dry season is lasting until April, which is actually a great month to visit as it isn't as hot as December & January, and the skies aren't cloudy and grey like in June and July. April will see some showers, followed by bright sunshine & blue skies.

BEST TIME FOR: orchid spotting.

Michael Principe – View Towards Praia Abade
A wet Principe
Rainforest And Peak  Sao  Tome  Principe
Sao Tome rainforest

Although the weather on a tropical islet is unpredictable, that is what makes the unspoiled Atlantic islands so intriguing… every month has something different to offer making it a great treasure waiting to be discovered and explored.

Call us today on 01768 605 715 or click the link below to start planning your island escape..

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    Alistair

    Africa Specialist

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