2024 m altitude, 2024 m prominence, 405.92 km isolation
The hotel offered us an early breakfast at 5am, but we politely declined as we were afraid it would take too long. We then drove for almost an hour to a resort where our guide, Zezito, was supposed to be waiting for us. When we arrived, the gates were locked and no one seemed to know anything about Zezito. We then went to the nearby village of Ponta Figo and asked around, only to find that everyone knew Zezito, but no one knew where he was. Finally, his family told us that he is waiting for us at the hotel. After checking again and finding no one there, we decided to walk and soon a motorbike with Zezito on it approached us – he only spoke Portuguese and French! We said bonjour and drove along a cobbled road to the start of the trail.
After a few miles we parked, changed and were ready to go. To our delight, Zezito gave us boxes of food for dinner. We began our walk through the plantations, taking shortcuts between the serpentines of an old road to the ruins of a former coffee farm. Easy and comfortable walk
We had an interesting trail and nature to explore, but not much to see. After the ruins the path got steeper but eventually we reached the lower summit with a shelter. The real summit was 600m to the west and there was a reasonably good trail leading up to it. There was a little re-ascent and some easy root scrambling before we reached the summit, which was marked by a concrete pillar with an inscription. Like many peaks on São Tomé, it was dated 1916. After twenty minutes of enjoying the clouds and a snack at the top, we descended by the same path.
Zezito showed us various plants and berries and we found that Portuguese and French were not too difficult to communicate in. Although it’s not technically necessary to have a guide, I would highly recommend hiring one, especially one as professional as Zezito.
Now that the core plan is complete, we have the freestyle programme. Our main interest is still to reach the high peaks. The Pico Cão Grande impressive, although technically difficult, is a 5.14 rock climb, few others are difficult to access. But tomorrow we will find few opportunities. Today, as time and daylight are limited, we will just stop at a random spot near the village of Diogo Vaz and enjoy the sunset.
Pico de São Tomé
2024 m altitude
2024 m prominence
405.92 km isolation
West Africa Mountains - Bight of Benin
São Tomé and Príncipe - São Tomé Province
9.00 km up
9.00 km down
1652 m gain
1652 m loss
370 m altitude
Passing through the village of Ponta Figo, we drove a few more kilometres along the cobbled road and parked the car on one of the bends. We then walked along a reasonably good, old, overgrown road with a few shortcuts. At one point we walked along the top of an aqueduct. From the old coffee farm ruins we climbed steeper jungle slopes, but never too steep or slippery. Most of the way to the top is in the shade. The lower summit was grassy and quite flat with a few trees. The path to the summit was not bad either, with some small re-ascents and a few steep root scrambles. The descent was fast enough, although slower than expected.
A few steeper sections of easy root scrambling before the summit can be slippery in the rain