Principe: Praia Grande & Turtle Sanctuary

Praia Grande is the largest and most beautiful beach in Principe, it’s also the most isolated and least swimmable. It requires a 4WD ride and a steep hike to get down to the beach, where severe waves and fierce rip currents pound the sandy shoreline. Sand is deep here and the beach is wide, making it the premier destination in the entire African Atlantic Coast for sea turtles to lay eggs. Three species of turtles come here – Hawksbill, Green, and Leatherback – every night December to April. The entire beach is protected and rangers are on duty – marking where the eggs were laid and then monitoring when hatchlings appear (seabirds and crabs are primary threats to eggs). Little baby turtles are released into the violent waves every day (coming in the next post).