Sundy Praia


In 2011, South African tech entrepreneur, Mark Shuttleworth, bought Príncipe’s Bom Bom Island Resort and was granted six land concessions amounting to almost 1,700 hectares, including the largest, Sundy. His plan was to kick-start an ambitious eco-tourism project under the name HBD, a humorous reference to the phrase ‘here be dragons’ which was used by early mapmakers to indicate unexplored territory. Príncipe is the smaller of two islands that make up the Republic of São Tomé and Príncipe, 130 miles off the coast of Gabon. Its dense jungle is so abundant in endemic wildlife that it’s often referred to as ‘Africa’s Galapagos’.

Home to soul-stirring basalt peaks, some of the most biodiverse rainforests on the planet, golden beaches, and spirited communities who are deeply connected with the natural environment, the islands of São Tomé and Príncipe are truly special. Formed 31 million years ago by volcanic activity in the Gulf of Guinea, São Tomé and Príncipe is Africa’s second smallest country, yet perhaps its most spectacular. Its address at 1°N, 7°E places this archipelago as close to the centre of the world as it gets.


Príncipe is no desert island; it has 7,000 residents scattered throughout colourful towns and small fishing villages. Since independence from Portugal in 1975, the population has suffered from an economic downturn, and HBD hopes to use tourism to improve their lives. Alongside developing sustainable tourism, HBD supported the local government to have the whole island declared a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve and to put laws in place to protect nature in perpetuity.


Our ethos when HBD Príncipe was founded more than a decade ago was rooted in the understanding that what makes Príncipe so special already exists, and must be preserved. This is reflected in our:



Sustainable social and economic development in Príncipe and conservation of the island’s UNESCO Biosphere Reserve.



To become a global inspiration through sustainable integrated ecotourism, agroforestry, support services, and social initiatives.


While those roots have grown and our operations have branched out, our guiding principle has remained the same. Preservation of Príncipe and respect for its people underlines everything we do, and it always will.


Sundy Praia comprises fifteen tented villas that have been built with minimal impact on the land and echo the simple fishing huts that once stood on the same spot. Each room is tucked in from the beach and surrounded by a canopy of lush forest. Besides environmental experiences, guests are encouraged to immerse themselves in Príncipe’s culture and communities.


We hope that our achievements, now and as we evolve, will see Príncipe Island considered a leading example of sustainable development. As well as being an inspiration to the rest of the world, we aim to show how private investors can work with government, communities, and local organisations for the common good.

The 4Cs

Sundy Praia joined The Long Run in 2018 and committed to a holistic balance of the 4Cs – Conservation, Community, Culture and Commerce – as a means to contribute meaningfully to the biodiversity and the people of their local region.



Tourism is the foundation of HBD’s environmental mission — to protect Príncipe’s pristine ecosystem and rainforest, which covers most of the island. Unique species include 26 birds, seven amphibians, and of the 895 plant species, over 100 are unique to the country.


  • HBD’s sister organisation, the Fundação Príncipe (established to separate commercial and conservation activity), with a staff of both international and local conservationists, is expanding knowledge of, and protecting, the island’s biodiversity through botanical sampling, seabird surveys, coral evaluations, turtle conservation, whale observation and local education and empowerment.
  • HBD supports the island’s Biosphere Reserve through minimal impact tourism experiences, sustainable employment (as nature guides, marine guards, or through tourism) and payments for visits to the national park.
  • HBD will provide various kinds of support to the regional government as it completes the objectives in ‘Príncipe 2030’, the UN joint programme for the sustainable development of the island of Príncipe.
  • HBD guests pay a Conservation and Communities Levy. 100% of the Conservation and Communities Levy supports locally rooted conservation and social development initiatives—such as those led by our non-profit partner Fundação Príncipe—and the Parque Natural do Príncipe.
  • Other conservation projects include: reef check training for Príncipe‘s marine guards; the Arribada Initiative to monitor green turtles; and, the development of marine protection areas.


Thriving ecosystems and biodiversity are integral to the survival of people and our planet.


  • The communities of Príncipe are integral to everything that HBD does. The group’s biggest positive impact is through employment. At the start of 2022, HBD has almost 500 employees, 95% of whom are Santomean. Our salaries and conditions of employment are market-leading in the country.
  • HBD has built homes for many families, including the Terra Prometida (‘Promised Land’) project, which will provide 133 households with modern housing and enable them to move away from poor conditions in the old plantation buildings at Roça Sundy.
  • HBD has also invested in community businesses. One of these is the Waste Valorisation Cooperative in Porto Real. Here, ten women support their families by producing compost from food waste and transforming waste glass into jewellery.
  • A Conservation Leadership Program supports young conservationists through practical skills and work experience.
  • Meals at Sundy Praia support HBD’s organic agricultural operations, and menus are designed using as much local produce as possible.


People matter; it is the right of every person to have their basic needs met, and enhancing the well-being of communities is a fundamental obligation of all.



  • Principeans are proud of their island, which has little crime and is very welcoming to visitors.
  • HBD manages and funds a weaving apprenticeship programme to ensure that traditional basket-making does not die out.
  • Although it has negative connotations, having been based at one time on slavery, Príncipe’s agricultural heritage – particularly cocoa – is rich and fascinating. HBD not only farms cocoa, but provides tourists with the experience of seeing everything from the tree to the chocolate bar.
  • A sewing club is encouraging women to make handicrafts to sell in the hotels.


Celebrating cultural diversity and commonality nurtures understanding and fosters connections. Respecting cultural difference is crucial to our future.


  • Through its business operations of four hotels, agriculture and an advanced carpentry workshop, HBD can sustain jobs, continuous training, conservation projects and local commerce.
  • Under the Paciência Organics brand, HBD produces a range of food and cosmetic products, including chocolate made from our home-grown cocoa.
  • HBD is a shareholder in the Príncipe airport, and funded a complete rebuilding of its runway.
  • HBD’s owner does not seek a return on capital. Future profits will be reinvested locally in pursuance of our vision.


Trading has been central to the development of civilizations over thousands of years. Without financial sustainability, nothing is sustainable.



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