Ar Da Vida Eco Resort
The Ar Da Vida Eco Resort project sits on a pristine greenfield site. It’s located on the south-eastern corner of Príncipe island, West Africa. The Portuguese ‘ar da vida’ means air of life. The colonial name of this property was Roça Infante Don Hendrique and the site is situated 14 kilometres as the crow flies from Príncipe airport.
The area is situated in the Obo National Park, that covers the southern half of the island. There are no villages or permanent dwellings inside the Park. The site chosen for the new lodge lies around the beach area of Praia Seca.
The size of the Ar Da Vida Eco Resort property is about 125 hectares and includes 4 km of beachfront. From here you can enjoy majestic uninterrupted views of the Atlantic Ocean, overlooking Cap island (typically named after its shape, yes, it looks like a cap). Lush tropical rainforest covers the area, just like it does the rest of Obo National Park. Many fresh water streams criss-cross the jungle.
Environment and conservation
The Ar Da Vida Eco Resort will cater for different tastes and activities within a secluded, indigenous and natural setting. Emphasis is on the need for space, privacy and the appeal of tropical Africa. Conservation and the unspoilt beauty of the terrain is foremost in the minds of the owners. Therefore they endeavour to take the utmost care in the planning and developing of the project to ensure minimum impact on the environment.
Research camp, eco-lodge and eco-residences & boardwalks
The development plan of the Ar Da Vida Eco Resort project covers the following:
Research camp: The research camp situated at Praia Cabinda which will be available to scientists, students and environmentalists to study and explore the biodiversity of the unique island of Principe.
Eco-lodge: The eco-lodge at Praia Seca will cater for deep sea fishing, scuba diving and other eco-tourism activities such as birding, hiking and kayaking. The developer plans to construct the eco-lodge using rustic bamboo and timber structures. Visitors will stay in luxury tents.
Eco-residences: The area behind the beach of Praia Seca starting from the forty-meter contour line have been put aside for eco-homes. Each eco-residence will stand on nine steel columns to minimize the impact on terrain. Hydro and solar power generation will source electricity to the Ar Da Vida Eco Resort project.
Boardwalks: The protection of the sensitive ecological terrain in which the project will be done is of utmost importance to the developer. Boardwalk structures starting from Praia Seca will make Praia Grande beach area accessible where most of the sea turtle nesting and hatching activities take place on Príncipe island. Natural hiking trails on boardwalks through the jungle will further protect the natural environment.
Tourism sites and activities
The development of the tourism sector on Príncipe island in recent years is very positive. Because Principe airport was upgraded in 2015, the island is now easier to reach. It now sports a new runway, that was extended to 1800 meters, runway lights and the terminal building was renovated.
Until now, most of the island’s economic development on tourism has focussed on the northern half of the island, close to Príncipe airport and roads.
Príncipe is lucky in that it has many natural assets, and loves to put them on display for visitors.
- Unspoilt tropical beaches
- Dense virgin rainforests
- Pristine coral reefs
- Abundant marine life
- Sanctuary for nesting sea turtles
- Migration route for dolphins and Humpback whales
- Ornithological paradise
- World biosphere reserve
- Exquisite rivers and mountains
- Close to zero latitude
Still largely undiscovered, the island is an idyllic vacation destination for those of you seeking rest and relaxation. But it also offers possibilities for the more adventurous traveller out there, especially for travel fishing.
You can expect to do many exciting activities on Príncipe island while staying at the lodge on Praia Seca. These include, diving/snorkelling on coral reefs, deep sea game fishing (June-October), and a variety of other water sports. You can relax on one of the many unspoilt beaches, or take part in some of the eco-tourism activities such as whale (June-October) & turtle (November-February) watching or go trekking though the jungle. The island is also a bird watcher’s dream, and undisturbed bird watching to spot some of the endemic species is a must. While you’re there you can also sample the world’s finest cocoa (São Tomé and Príncipe is historically known as the Chocolate Islands) and coffee, roasted locally.
The first container is already on its way at the time of publishing this post. The base camp will open at the beginning of June 2018. All amenities will be ready, and if you don’t mind camp life without the luxuries, the camp will be ready for use from then. Contact Salty Dog if you’d like more information about visiting the camp at Praia Seca and to experience the development in its infancy.
Príncipe is one of the best kept secrets, until now. But don’t just believe our word for it. This new eco-lodge is going to be something really special, so be there first.
For more images of the Ar Da Vida Eco Resort site, click here. To receive updates on the project and its developments, please sign up for our newsletter.