Created by Margaret Tully
Are you looking for a destination with a lot on offer and many choices of activity?
The Cape Verde or Cabo Verde island group, that lies in the West African part of the Atlantic ocean, is a superb vacation destination at any time of the year. You can choose from a variety of different activities on the islands, from hiking great volcanic mountains or through lush green gorges, to surfing the waves and strolling along the many long white sand beaches. In the evening the sound of live creole music can be heard, and the atmosphere of dancing and fun take you over. Let us at weholi introduce you, to just some of the ten islands that make up this archipelago and what they offer the traveller…
One word will sum up Sal, and that is beach. The stunning soft, white sand here seems to stretch for miles, as it skirts along the coast of this beautiful and buzzing island. Many people choose this island for the many water sports on offer, you can hire equipment for surfing, diving and snorkelling, so it is one of those places that you can learn a new activity, or just simply enjoy one in the best place possible. In the south of Sal, you will find Santa Maria, this is the hub of the excellent live music that the Cape Verde is famous for – a wonderful mix of all the cultures come together to produce an interesting and lively sound, that reverberates throughout the archipelago. You can sit in one of the many restaurants or bars and hear the sounds of accordions, drums, voices with a depth of soul and a history within them. Within the north part of Sal, it is far more rural and volcanic, it also has salt pans, where the name Sal comes from. It is worth seeing the both sides to this wonderful island.
The sound of music is said to be heard as you approach this exciting and historical island. In the city of Mindelo, the architecture tells the story of the days when this island was held by the Europeans. The language on every island is different and here in São Vicente there is a strong Portuguese influence yet the Creole is mixed in, making for an interesting and multi-cultural place to visit. Many artists and musicians come here for inspiration and many can’t bear to leave, it has that friendly, family feeling that makes you feel at home. Once a year, around February there is a huge Carnival, where the atmosphere of a South American carnival is re-created in the flamboyant and colourful costumes and the loud Latin dance music. From Mindelo you can catch a ferry, that will take you to the much more serene island of Santo Antão, and from the fishing port of Calhau you can take a ride on a fishing boat, to the uninhabited island of Santa Luzia.
This is where the “green” in Cape “Verde” comes from, it is quite a contrast from the dry and volcanic lands of the other islands. It is a paradise for hikers and those who enjoy the flora and fauna of this region, some not seen anywhere else in the world. There are lovely tall pine trees and great walking trails. There is a peaceful atmosphere, and it is really pleasant to come here and see the quieter and unspoilt part of this island group. You must visit the village of Fontainhas, it is here that you will see the ruggedness of the landscape, as this village is perched on the edge of a mountain. It is a beautiful island that will fill your camera with many wonderful vistas.
This is an uninhabited island, it has been habited in the past and there are many clues of the people who called this their home. It is a wonderful deserted island retreat for you to explore, and the boat ride from São Vicente makes it easy, although an adventurous journey, to be able to visit it.
This island has the strongest African feel, making it a warm and vibrant island, with a fantastic array of cafés and restaurants and open air markets. You can truly immerse yourself in the wonderful culture of its people and see into the past, through its historical buildings, including the old city of Cidade Velha, which is a UNESCO world heritage site.
The capital city of Praia is the best place to go for the energy and the music of this place, that is steeped in history, a once slave trading post, that now celebrates the freedom of the slaves by way of a festival once a year in the Summer. You can visit the Fort Real de São Filipe which is the site of the slave trading post. You can visit the smallest inhabited island, Brava, from Santiago by ferry.
This is a complete contrast to the bustling and lively island of Santiago. It is well known for its beautiful flowers. It is a wonderful island for hikers and people who like nature. You can climb the Pico de Fontainhas, for the challenge and the reward, the views from the peak are outstanding, you can see the island as it unfolds out to the sea, and on a clear day the other island around. It has a wonderful bay, named Faj d’Agua, which is a lush and green place to visit, with many interesting species of plants and animals around it, it is also a wonderful place to cool off. The ferry from Santiago is regular, so you will enjoy a few hours in this quiet place before you return to the exciting and vibrant Santiago.
The above are just a selection of the ten islands that make up Cape Verde, but we hope you will see the diversity and opportunities that await you in Cape Verde, from the islands we have chosen to share with you.