Sao Tome: Pico Cao Grande

São Tomé’s most famous natural attraction – an absolutely bizarre volcanic plug peak rising dramatically over 1000ft / 386m above the rainforest terrain. The volcanic plug formed when magma rose through a vent during an ancient eruption and then solidified. The erosion slowly destroyed the mountain, but the lava plug remained. It was first climbed by a Japanese team in 1975, after many failed attempts by the Portuguese. The Japanese however couldn’t descend back down and an emergency helicopter had to be flown from Gabon to take them down. It is a truly surreal site – like a nature-made skyscraper tower. Supposedly the entire base of the Pico Cao is infested with thousands of snakes making hiking to it a bit of a problem.