São Tomé and Principe Travel Advice
Security travel advice for São Tomé and Principe
Threat level: Low
The current travel safety advice of São Tomé and Principe is to be aware of petty crime and the limited medical facilities available. If you carry out normal safety precautions your stay should be relatively trouble free.
Recent Security Risk Events
There are no known current terrorism threats for the country or incidents recently. Please be advised of the general threat globally, especially against western assets and persons. Due to the proximity of the other African nations which do have an elevated state, please be mindful of your actions and report anything suspicious.
Crime rates are lower than other countries in the region, however there have been incidents of civil unrest in the capital city. Crimes such as pickpocketing are common in busy areas such as markets and entertainment locations.
You should avoid showing levels of affluence, as violent crimes such as muggings/armed robbery do occur also when thieves perceive tourists as an easy target. If you find yourself in this situation please comply to avoid injury and report all incidents to the local police.
Avoid isolated areas after dark, especially beach fronts and beaches.
Respect local laws and customs when visiting, note that Sao Tomé & Principe decriminalised same-sex sexual relations following their acceptance of the United Nations Universal Periodic Review (UPR) recommendations, however local feelings may still not feel this way. It is advised that you act discretely during your visit.
Demonstrations and civil unrest can occur, which has the potential to turn violent. As with all large public gatherings please make you way to a safe place if you sense that they of a protesting nature. The demonstrations can impact on local services and transportation.
Travellers are only able to use their credit cards in a small number of places in the country and ATM machines are non-existent. It is recommended that you bring enough cash to last the whole trip however money can withdrawn using travellers cheques and visa cards from the main bank in Sao Tome.
São Tomé and Principe consists of two main islands and smaller ones off the coast of Africa and has a rich history with Portugal who settled its convicts in the area in the 1400s. With help from slaves from the mainland, the country established sugar plantations and was a main transit line for slaves.
It gained its independence from Portugal 1975. Its main collaborators internationally now are India, Portugal and United States of America, who of which has given military support and training.
Road maintenance is an issue within the country with many potholes on the roads leading to accidents and expensive damage to vehicles. Outside of the capital city, the roads are in extremely poor condition and often have little to no lighting. Driving along this when it is dark can be extremely dangerous and is highly advised against.
When driving your vehicle, be aware of animals and wildlife passing onto the roads as this has been known to cause accidents or lengthy disruptions to travel. Some roads can become impassable during the rainy season and it is advised that you stay updated with the local news and weather and ensure you have adequate supplies in your car at all times.
Maritime piracy can occur in the surrounding areas, please be mindful of this and take appropriate precautions.
Time now in Sao Tome:
All EU citizens, and many other African state nationals do not require a visa (for up to 15 days). Nationals of countries that require a visa may obtain it online through an eVisaST system. Please see: Visa Requirements for São Tomé and Principe
It is advised that visitors to Sao Tome and Principe are up-to-date with primary boosters such as MMR. It is recommended for most travellers to also get a Tetanus, Hepatitis A and Typhoid vaccinations.
There is a low risk of Yellow Fever across the country so some travellers may want to consider the vaccination. If you are arriving from a country where there is a risk of the disease, or transiting for longer than 12 hours in an at risk country, you will have to provide a certificate of Yellow Fever vaccination. Check with your local health professional prior to travel if you are unsure.
Other health risks
Medical facilities in São Tomé and Principe are poor. Emergency facilities are extremely limited. For serious medical treatment, medical evacuation to Gabon or South Africa will be necessary. Make sure you have adequate travel health insurance and accessible funds to cover the cost of any medical treatment abroad and repatriation.
The government of the United States does not have and Embassy in São Tomé and Principe. All Consular activities are carried out via the U.S. Embassy in Libreville, Gabon.
U.S. Embassy Libreville
Sablière B.P. 4000,
Telephone: +241 0145 7100
The British government does not have and Embassy in São Tomé and Principe. All Consular activities are carried out via the British Embassy in Luanda, Angola.
British Embassy Luanda
Rua 17 de Setembro, Nº 4,
Telephone: +244 222 334 582
Other useful info
General emergency services: 112
Police emergency: 2222222
Fire emergency: 112
Medical emergency: 112