Island of Príncipe
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The Atlantic Isles of the Gulf of Guinea spread along the Cameroon geological fault, where they were formed due to eruptions in the tertiary period. The Island of Príncipe, named by King João II after Prince Afonso of Portugal, is a volcanic massif of complex topography, where peaks and basaltic massifs stand out and rocky shores from run-offs of ancient volcanic lava spread. Bordered by white sand shores, the island is covered by a luxuriant equatorial rain forest, in which endemic plants and animals abound, due to its isolation. About half of the island is nowadays a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. The human population gathers in the small administrative capital of Santo António, in scattered coastal fishing communities and in ancient cocoa and coffee farmsteads.
In Príncipe, the Grupo do Risco was supported by the Reserva da Biosfera and the Fundação Príncipe Trust. Along the coastline, we visited villages of cheerful fisherman, in beaches were cows and pigs wandered. In other beaches, the soft swell blurred in the white sands, surrounded by black rocks and coconut trees. The restless sea led us to remote beaches and twisted islets of bizarre names.
Santo António is a small big city, framed by mountains of dense vegetation and where everything is super light. In each corner a new angle or perspective stands out. In the old fish market, one trades plastic waste for beautiful and functional aluminium bottles.
The farmsteads are one of the development drivers and of creation of new opportunities for modern experiences. The forest has taken over them and nowadays they are slowly being recovered for new purposes. However, the old cocoa is back, keeping the tradition.
The Principe forests are dense and majestic, spreading out by steep orogenies. The Grupo do Risco followed rough paths and trails, listening to the twittering of rare birds, enjoying the myriad of plants that constitute the remarkable consistency of the Princípe’s botanics.