A Travellerspoint blog

São João dos Angolares – Rolas Island

Rolas Island: The Middle of the World


View São Tomé and Príncipe 2018 - the Lost Islands in the Centre of the World on Grete Howard's travel map.

As we go for breakfast this morning, we are given a message from our agents that the rain has caused havoc with the roads, so they are going to be half an hour late picking us up this morning (Nino, the driver, and Agostinho, the guide, went back to São Tomé Town yesterday after lunch).

When we walk into the restaurant, we see two girls sleeping on futons in the bar. I can only assume that the hotel was full last night and they arrived late without a reservation.

Breakfast

This morning's breakfast consists of bread, home-made jam, cheese, chocolate cake, biscuits, star fruit, bananas, papaya and guava.

large_3753e5d0-7b77-11e8-bf58-6dd35ffd1f1a.jpg

large_b51cac40-7b77-11e8-bf58-6dd35ffd1f1a.jpg

large_bdb41320-7b77-11e8-bf58-6dd35ffd1f1a.jpg

large_f0147f80-7b77-11e8-bf58-6dd35ffd1f1a.jpg

large_1a23b5c0-7b78-11e8-bf58-6dd35ffd1f1a.jpg

As it turns out, Nino and Agostinho are only about 20 minutes late, by which time we are in reception with our bags, ready to go.

The road south from here is very bad in places, with large potholes and huge chunks of the road eroded away by the rain.

After a while we turn off the main road onto an unmarked, much smaller track, as we head for the jetty.

large_1cfe8830-7b85-11e8-b0a1-39b69cdab0a5.jpg

The ferry to Rolas Island

We arrive at the jetty where the ferry is going to take us to Rolas Island in plenty of time for the boat. In fact, the boat is not even here yet. A small band of performers are waiting to greet tourists, and two young French girls also waiting.

large_6d8cfde0-7b8a-11e8-bdec-9f1c9878004f.jpg

A small, open boat arrives, and all four of us are quite sure it is the one taking us across to the island. The girls are filled with trepidation. “I have known worse, much worse”, I reassure them, “at least it is not raining”. “You travel a lot?” one of the girls asks. “This is our 140th country” we explain. She is totally dumbstruck and keeps repeating incredulously “140 countries...?”, over and over again.

large_8344d630-7b8a-11e8-bdec-9f1c9878004f.jpg

When a large bus belonging to the Pestana Group (who own the hotel on the island) arrives, the musicians and singers burst into performance. This is a little too touristy for my liking.

large_9a7c5430-7b8b-11e8-bdec-9f1c9878004f.jpg

.

Soon afterwards, our boat arrives, and it is bigger and with roof cover.

large_a2e610d0-7b8a-11e8-bdec-9f1c9878004f.jpg

It seems the smaller, open boat is for staff transport.

large_8e105b20-7b8a-11e8-bdec-9f1c9878004f.jpg

As soon as we have all piled on board, we are off. Some people, including the two French girls we spoke to earlier, are just going to the island for the day. Most people, however, are staying for a week, we are here for two nights.

large_f275b0f0-7b8b-11e8-bdec-9f1c9878004f.jpg

large_fb73c8e0-7b8b-11e8-bdec-9f1c9878004f.jpg

large_f8cb6000-7b9d-11e8-9aa9-1569a75176b1.jpg

large_ec260f20-7ca7-11e8-b237-9b75d7fce8c5.jpg

Rolas Island

The ferry ride is quite short, and soon we can see the jetty on Rolas Island. By the time we arrive, however, we are absolutely soaked: one of the problems of sitting at the back of the boat, being drenched in sea spray.

large_2d8f5c00-7ca8-11e8-b237-9b75d7fce8c5.jpg

As I said before, the whole operation is quite commercialised and touristic, and on arrival at the island we are giving a welcome drink while we wait to check in.

large_7a6d8d30-7ca8-11e8-b237-9b75d7fce8c5.jpg

We watch the 'staff boat' arrive with all the luggage on board, and hope they don't drop our bags over the edge as they unload.

large_a86b14a0-7ca8-11e8-b237-9b75d7fce8c5.jpg
Our bags made it safely to dry land

Rolas island is a small islet, an ocean paradise with swaying palm tress and beautiful sandy beaches. Apart from this one hotel, there is not much else on the island.

large_57869610-7cab-11e8-b237-9b75d7fce8c5.jpg

large_61001f90-7cab-11e8-b237-9b75d7fce8c5.jpg

The rooms are all spread around the large grounds, with blocks of four rooms in each wooden cottage, offering plenty of privacy.

large_cadaaa20-7cab-11e8-b237-9b75d7fce8c5.jpg

large_20131220-7cac-11e8-b237-9b75d7fce8c5.jpg

We have a small covered balcony with a couple of lounging chairs.

large_9ce1c120-7cac-11e8-b237-9b75d7fce8c5.jpg

large_cb161a90-7cad-11e8-b237-9b75d7fce8c5.jpg

Complete with our very own lizard.

large_603d6470-7cae-11e8-ba57-b774c1fc69ec.jpg

The rooms are nice and big, all dark wood, with an efficient A/C unit, large wardrobe, a couple of chairs and some cosy mood lighting.

large_210aea30-7cad-11e8-9283-0daba28e2ab1.jpg

large_4a9b5380-7cad-11e8-9283-0daba28e2ab1.jpg

large_8f4aa3a0-7cad-11e8-9283-0daba28e2ab1.jpg

The hotel pool is said to be the largest in West Africa, and it is certainly impressive.

large_cc94d5e0-7cae-11e8-ba57-b774c1fc69ec.jpg

large_1a0471a0-7caf-11e8-ba57-b774c1fc69ec.jpg

Several bridges connect the patios, grassy areas and the islands in the free form pool, with the two 'islands' representing the islands of São Tomé and Principe. The pool comes complete with a pool bar, with a swim up area featuring underwater bar stools.

large_71cb51d0-7d61-11e8-b8ba-0b99d854711d.jpg

large_cb3e7d50-7d61-11e8-b8ba-0b99d854711d.jpg

large_3eeb11a0-7d62-11e8-b8ba-0b99d854711d.jpg

large_aca7d6d0-7e0f-11e8-acff-9b44fb6b4b0a.jpg

large_719220b0-7e22-11e8-9d4d-3dd2f8039757.jpg

large_4ba48b30-7e23-11e8-a237-c1307317b0ad.jpg

large_b20ba7a0-7e28-11e8-9d4d-3dd2f8039757.jpg

large_e5698b00-7e21-11e8-9d4d-3dd2f8039757.jpg
The restaurant and bar on the hill behind the pool

large_34435dc0-7e25-11e8-a237-c1307317b0ad.jpg
The bar

large_4130b140-7e25-11e8-a237-c1307317b0ad.jpg
The bar

large_4ff312e0-7e25-11e8-a237-c1307317b0ad.jpg
The bar

Lunch

This being a resort hotel, lunch is buffet style, with the usual selection.

large_845a0830-7e26-11e8-a237-c1307317b0ad.jpg

large_92bb0ff0-7e26-11e8-a237-c1307317b0ad.jpg

Equator

There isn't much here outside the hotel. A path leads through the jungle-like interior to the biggest draw of the island – the Equator marker.

large_4a32c400-7e29-11e8-9d4d-3dd2f8039757.jpg

large_2112b3c0-8921-11e8-9579-314acf932621.jpg

large_718ff9a0-7e29-11e8-9d4d-3dd2f8039757.jpg

large_cc523a60-7e29-11e8-9d4d-3dd2f8039757.jpg

large_f777ec00-88e5-11e8-a4ee-9121386c036a.jpg

This small island is the nearest landmass to the point where the Equator meats the Meridian – here we are 0° south and 6° west.

large_739e9b30-88e6-11e8-a4ee-9121386c036a.jpg

large_ee41bad0-88ea-11e8-a4ee-9121386c036a.jpg

large_8e962e70-88e7-11e8-a4ee-9121386c036a.jpg

large_9887c390-88e6-11e8-a4ee-9121386c036a.jpg

.
Agostinho points out a blowhole and gets soaked in the process.

large_611660b0-8922-11e8-9579-314acf932621.jpg

large_6bec1ed0-8922-11e8-9579-314acf932621.jpg

There is some spectacular coastline too.

large_751cb870-8922-11e8-9579-314acf932621.jpg

large_ce8c3a70-8922-11e8-9579-314acf932621.jpg

Pool time

The beach is deserted, and as it doesn't look overly inviting with its rocky approach and underfoot in the ocean, we opt for an afternoon in and around the pool.

large_13898880-88ec-11e8-a4ee-9121386c036a.jpg

.
Crabs on the beach

large_63752750-8919-11e8-9579-314acf932621.jpg

large_c01da250-891b-11e8-9579-314acf932621.jpg

large_b5a23930-891b-11e8-9579-314acf932621.jpg

large_cd277e80-891b-11e8-9579-314acf932621.jpg

large_da5ed350-891b-11e8-9579-314acf932621.jpg

large_e60db360-891b-11e8-9579-314acf932621.jpg

large_f0556250-891b-11e8-9579-314acf932621.jpg

large_fdbf5fe0-891b-11e8-9579-314acf932621.jpg

Wine for Dinner

As the afternoon draws to a close and the rain starts to come down, we grab a bottle of wine and head for the terrace of our cabin, where we stay for the duration of the evening with another bottle of wine replacing the first one. We miss dinner completely, preferring to chill with a drink and snacks, watching the rain from our balcony.

And so ends another day in São Tomé, as perfectly arranged by Undiscovered Destinations. Thanks again guys, you rock!

large_72e26030-891f-11e8-9579-314acf932621.jpg

Posted by Grete Howard 01:04 Archived in Sao Tome and Principe Tagged rain coastline wine crabs chilling swimming_pool equator blowhole meridian roca são_joão_dos_angolares rolas_island west_africa's_largest_swimming_ swim_up_bar middle_of_the_world postana

Email this entryFacebookStumbleUpon

Table of contents

Comments

It may be touristy but I do love a large hotel pool like that!

by ToonSarah

Comments on this blog entry are now closed to non-Travellerspoint members. You can still leave a comment if you are a member of Travellerspoint.

Enter your Travellerspoint login details below

( What's this? )

If you aren't a member of Travellerspoint yet, you can join for free.

Join Travellerspoint