Africa has always been a place of awe and mystery for the rest of the world. Even we resident Africans have not seen much of our continent and I assure you that the sights, sounds and experiences are second to none. From tropical rain forests to the Sahel and Namib deserts, the continent offers the most breathtaking experiences and adventures for guests of all ages to enjoy.
Today’s focus is on Cape Verde, one of the most underrated holiday destinations in the continent.
The Cape Verde archipelago was uninhabited until the 15th century, when Portuguese explorers discovered and colonised the islands, establishing the first European settlement in the tropics. Ideally located for the Atlantic slave trade, the islands grew prosperous throughout the 16th and 17th centuries, attracting merchants, privateers, and pirates. The end of slavery in the 19th century led to economic decline and emigration. Cape Verde gradually recovered as an important commercial centre and stopover for shipping routes. Incorporated as an overseas department of Portugal in 1951, the islands continued to agitate for independence, which was peacefully achieved in 1975.
Jutting up from the Atlantic, some 500km west of Senegal, this stunning island chain has a captivating blend of mountains, beaches and peaceful seaside villages.
On Santo Antão, craggy peaks hide piercing green valleys of flowers and sugar cane, ideal for epic hikes.
São Vicente is home to the cultural capital of the islands, Mindelo, which throbs with bars and music clubs. Small, stark and undulating, the island of São Vicente would be fairly forgettable were it not for the beautiful Mediterranean town of Mindelo, Cabo Verde’s prettiest city and home to one of Africa’s most raucous festivals.
On Sal and Maio, undulating windswept dunes merge with indigo-blue seas on unspoilt beaches of powdery white sand. Sal boasts more tourists than any other island. They fall into three categories: the package-holiday crowd, hard-core windsurfers and those in transit to more interesting islands. Sal has a fine restaurant scene, plenty of nightlife and some lovely beaches where you can unwind and enjoy some water sports.
Meanwhile, far-flung Fogo and Brava in the southwest offer their own enchantments, from surreal volcanic landscapes, to sparkling bays framed by towering peaks. The conical 2829m-high Pico do Fogo volcano, shrouded in black cinder, rises dramatically out of the floor of an ancient crater known as Chã das Caldeiras (‘Chã’). Bound by a half-circle of precipitous cliffs, Chã was born when, sometime in the last 100,000 years, some 300 cubic km of the island collapsed and slid into the sea to the east. The main cone has been inactive for more than 200 years, though there have been regular eruptions in Chã.
Throw in the constant beat of music that Cabo Verde is famed for and the renowned morabeza (Creole for hospitality) of its people and you’ll see why many have come – and never left.
There is water sports, hiking and organised tours that include
- Full Day Road Tour in Sal Island
- Segway Tour of Santa Maria
- Electric Bike Guided Tour in Sal
- Hiking Tour of Santa Antão
- Half Day Catamaran Tour
There are daily flights to Cape Verde on Royal Air Maroc which transits through Casablanca. There are hotel available from $120 a night and tours start at $36. A lot of the hotels and resorts offer water sports and are reasonably priced.
So let us plan your next vacation together to Cabo Verde!