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Tuesday, October 4, 2022

The Mythical Boca do Inferno of Sao Tome

The 'Boca do Inferno,' or 'Hell's Mouth,' is a tourist attraction in the eastern town of Agua Izé

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Raghu Gururaj
Raghu Gururaj
Ambassador of India to the Republic of Sao Tome and Principe

SAO TOME: The island of Sao Tome, located off the coast of the Gulf of Guinea, is home to a number of incredible natural wonders.

The ‘Boca do Inferno,’ or ‘Hell’s Mouth,’ is a tourist attraction in the eastern town of Agua Izé, which is only a half-hour drive from Sao Tome’s capital city. It is not simply one of Sao Tome’s most popular tourist attractions, but also one of its most intriguing and eerie.

Photo Credit: Raghu Gururaj
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Água Izé itself is a sleepy hamlet, on São Tomé Island, with a population of over 2000 people. Apart from the Boca do Inferno’, the other notable landmark is the Roça Água Izé, a former plantation complex, now converted into a museum.

The Boca do Inferno is situated on a coastline that has been subjected to years of rock erosion by the ocean waves, resulting in tiny rock passages and sea caves.

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When the ocean waves hit the shorelines, they funnel with such power into the vertical shafts or basalt rock channels that they generate water fountains via the caves’ apertures.

The rushing seas generate spooky howling sounds when the sea is wild and the waves are high, spraying gallons of water across the shorelines.

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Standing at a safe distance on the nearby dark black rocks, one may observe the sea’s full might and vitality while taking in the misty water blasted all over the region.

The incessant howling sounds created by this geological phenomenon can be heard across the shoreline of that area, day and night.

The dark black rocks, a furious rush of water, the mouth-shaped caves, the howling sound of the winds, and its scary name, have all combined to lend a sense of mystery to this cliff post.

Photo Credit: Raghu Gururaj

Many are mystified by a strange legend associated with Hell’s Mouth. The 19th-century legend has it that the notorious Baron of Agua-Ize actually lived in the cave and would appear now and then mounted on a horse from the hole in these rocks.

The residents of Água Izé are among the friendliest lot. The sight of children giggling and playing with pure joy, languid women folk with babies slung across doing their chores, and vendors selling plantain chips, stands in stark contrast to the unrelenting fury of the Boca do Inferno around them.

Despite its oddity, it is quite a place that dares the tourists. Many return for a second or third visit or at a different time of the day, just to get a new vibe or a new experience of Hell’s Mouth.

Also Read: The Quaint Fishing Villages of Sao Tome

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