Our Friday started with leaving our great lodge at Sao Tomé de Principe. Unfortunately our schedule does not allow us to stay on this island any longer.
It took us quite some time to get all the paperwork done and the aircraft re-fueled. It all went in the fashion and manner we have come to get used to over the last weeks. Today we would fly to Pointe-Noire, in Congo.
Enroute we witnessed some spectacular thunderstorms and rainshowers before reaching the coast of Gabon. As we flew along the astonishing beaches of Gabon for hours we saw only one small village. The rest of the coast was completely deserted, with the rainforest starting a few meters from the shoreline. Seeing the coastline at a the height of a few hundred feet at the highest point happened to be quite spectaculair.
We arrived at Pointe-Noire at around 14.00 o’clock. Our aircraft had proven itself a trustworthy travel platform once again, and it had gotten us thorough cleanup in the process, thanks to the rainshowers we encountered enroute. All Sahara desert dust was completely removed from the aircraft, which made it look like we arrived in a factory-fresh airplane at Pointe-Noire.
As we taxied in, one large Airbus passenger-jet got pushed from the gate by a pushback truck. To our amazement the enthusiastic truck driver pushed the aircraft all the way to ánd on the active runway. The captain of the Airbus asked over the radio what they thought they were doing. His somewhat sarcastic “I never got pushed onto an active runway before” was replied to with a calm and happy voice from the tower: “Relax, you’re in Africa man!“
Our day at Sao Tomé de Principe started with some scuba diving. Being this close to the equator, 30 feet under water the temperature was still a sweetening 29 degrees Celsius. The scenery was spectacular however, and we spotted our first octopus.
We had lunch at our lodge, after which we decided to climb the mountain of Sao Tomé Island. With a Jeep of course. Enroute to the 9000ft-high summit we met some very nice people.
Our attention was first drawn by the sign saying ‘Mount Café.’ With Sjoerd Jan being a barista (link!) we took particular interest in this, and it appeared to be a coffee plantation.
We met with the friendly owners and employees, and a delicious cup of coffee was prepared for us on the spot.
No fancy cups and chrome coffee makers here: just a natural, pure Arabica coffee melange.
We had to leave the plantation again to further climb the mountain. Down the road we were greeted by some of the local school children.
All in all, we loved Sao Tomé. The people are relaxed and friendly, the coffee fantastic and the beaches great. However: time to leave again, back to mainland Africa: Congo.