Republic. Gained independence from Portugal in 1975.
Head of state:
President Manuel Pinto da Costa since 2011.
Head of government:
Prime Minister Gabriel Arcanjo Ferreira da Costa since 2012.
220 volts AC, 50Hz. Plugs with two round pins are used.
The little-discovered islands of São Tomé e Príncipe provide unspoiled beauty and isolation from the world now rarely found anywhere else. The islands lie on an alignment of once-active volcanoes, with rugged landscapes, dense forests and palm-fringed beaches, 250km (155 miles) off the coast of West Africa.
Exotic birds inhabit tropical jungles on islands that form Africa's smallest country. The picturesque town of São Tomé lies exactly on the equator, with colonial Portuguese architecture and attractive parks. The history of the islands is dominated by the slave trade and slave-worked plantations. The islands form one of the smallest countries in Africa.
Crime rates are generally low, but burglaries and armed robberies do happen. Beware of pickpockets.
The threat from terrorism is low, but you should be aware of the global risk of indiscriminate terrorist attacks which could be against civilian targets, including places frequented by foreigners.
This advice is based on information provided by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in the UK. It is correct at time of publishing. As the situation can change rapidly, visitors are advised to contact the following organisations for the latest travel advice: