São Tomé Island, at 854 km2 (330 sq mi), is the largest island of São Tomé and Príncipe and is home to about 133,600 or 96% of the nation’s population. This island and smaller nearby islets make up São Tomé Province, which is divided into six districts. The main island is located 2 km (1¼ miles) north of the equator. It is about 48 km (30 miles) long (North-South) by 32 km (20 miles) wide (east-west). It rises to 2,024 m (6,639 ft) at Pico de São Tomé and includes the capital city, São Tomé, on the northeast coast. The nearest city on mainland Africa is the port city of Port Gentil in Gabon located 240 km (150 miles) to the east.
The entire island of São Tomé is a massive shield volcano which rises from the floor of the Atlantic Ocean, over 3,000 m (10,000 ft) below sea level. It formed along the Cameroon line, a linear rift zone extending from Cameroon southwest into the Atlantic Ocean. Most of the lava erupted on São Tomé over the last million years has been basalt. The youngest dated rock on the island is about 100,000 years old, but numerous more recent cinder cones are found on the southeast side of the island.