Harriet Chubb shares some of the best spots to visit in Cape Verde.
After never really considering myself a ‘fly & flop’ holidaymaker; (mostly I would prefer the term ‘intrepid traveller’ or ‘off the beaten track explorer’) when I was confronted with our annual holiday choice and the suggestion of a not-so-beachy destination, I found myself reeling in horror at the thought of not being able to forget everything on an empty beach. So when the Cape Verde was suggested I absolutely jumped at the chance to visit this enchanting collection of islands off the west coast of Africa. Fulfilling both the fly-&-flop and the adventure-travel, there really is something for everyone to discover. Below are my Top 5 must see’s and must do’s on the Islands….
Beach Chic – Must See
Beach lover’s and sun worshippers – you will not be disappointed. Due to its exotic location, the Cape Verde enjoys year round mild weather and an island in particular that is entirely covered in sand – even a couple of buildings have been swallowed by the 55km of beach on Boa Vista. Enjoy un-interrupted sun bathing and sapphire blue seas occasionally punctuated by a floating sea turtle. The nightlife is equally docile and except a few good restaurants and cafés, the evening remains as peaceful as the day.
Volcano Views – Must Do
The island of Fogo, with its black sand and dark rocks, unsurprisingly is a volcanic island that has the highest peak in the Cape Verde. The intrepid trekkers among you can even climb to the crater of Mt Fogo along with a guided tour. As an active volcano that last erupted in 1995, it should give the thrill seekers the extra buzz they are looking for and you can even have lunch in the restaurant at the top. That’s more like it.
Snorkelling & Scuba Diving – Must Do
With an abundance of dive sites, Sal is the island to begin exploring the diverse marine life and aquatic sports that Cape Verde has to offer. Start off gently snorkelling through shoals of trigger fish, then move onto the first class scuba diving and discover caves and canyons in a sea as inevitably clear as the sky.
Festival Fever – Must See
Live music plays a massive part in the Cape Verdean lifestyle – it is the unique mix of Africa, European and South American cultures that create this festival fever and you will always find a live band dotted around. There are however particular islands that are famous for their festivals, for example the Santa Maria festival in Sal on the 15th September which is a non-stop party in the streets or the ‘Our Lady of Pity’ festival on the 15th August which has swimming contests and mass processions along with jovial live music.
Surf Seekers – Must Do
Only the most experienced surfers should attempt to cut some shapes on the coastlines of the Cape Verde as the swell can be extremely high, but this is perfect for any diehard fan. Those wanting to ride the waves without surf experience or instruction; a body board will be enough of an adrenalin rush and should suffice. Trust me.
Harriet Chubb is a freelance writer and sub-editor and also works full time for Condé Nast Traveller magazine. Having lived in North America and Asia she has itchy feet and would love to travel the world again soon.