Pico do Fogo, Fogo island Cape Verde

Pico do Fogo on the island of Fogo

If you are visiting Fogo, or passing through on the way to Brava, a visit to the caldera is a must. The landscape is extraordinary, more like a moonscape. Pico do Fogo, the highest mountain in Cape Verde towers over you. There are people living in the caldera, there are restaurants and hotels too and vineyards. The lovely Chã wine is produced from here. The road through the caldera was blocked by a lava flow from the eruption in 2014, but there is a new track around the blockage.

Rugged coastline of Brava, Cape Verde

Rugged coastline of the island of Brava

The eastern islands of Cape Verde are relatively flat with long stretches of beautiful soft sandy beaches. The western islands, however, are more mountainous and with a more rugged coastline. So whatever your preference, there is something for you in Cape Verde. This picture was taken on the island of Brava, which is sometimes known as the Garden Island. There is often cloud over the mountain, which means there is a little more rain here than on some of the other islands. Consequently, plants grow well and the gardens are attractive.

Cape Verde visa

European visitors no longer require a visitors visa

Cape Verdean Minister Fernando Elísio Freire announced recently that from 1 January 2019, European visitors to Cape Verde no longer require a visitor’s visa. The exemption is for 32 countries, also including Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and Lichtenstein.

The Cape Verde government first announced the intention to introduce this exemption for European visitors in the Spring of 2018. At that point, the intention was for it to come into force in May 2018. The government, however, delayed the implementation a few times, partly to give tour operators time to update their computer systems.

The Minister said that the reason for this exemption was to increase tourism to Cape Verde. The policy has caused controversy within Cape Verde, because Cape Verdean visitors to Europe don’t have a similar dispensation.

Whilst we trust the sources of this information, we are waiting for confirmation from European visitors entering Cape Verde.

For more information on travel to Cape Verde, visit our International Travel page.

Christmas scene Santa Maria Sal

Christmas Cape Verdean style

Christmas is almost here. One way it is celebrated in Santa Maria on the island of Sal is with this scene in the town square. Mary, Joseph and the baby in lights. All around the town there are illuminated stars and a feeling that Christmas is coming.

Scrimshaw pirate novel

‘Scrimshaw’ pirate adventure novel set in Cape Verde

Australian author Nazam Anhar contacted us to help promote his pirate adventure novel Scrimshaw. The story is set largely on the Cape Verde Islands. English schoolboy Nathan Whitford is taken captive by a notorious pirate and must find a way to escape the ship. He makes a dangerous journey from the island of São Nicolau to the port of Mindelo. Scrimshaw was first published in print by Scholastic Australia, and is now available as an eBook. It will be offered as a free download from Amazon for the next 5 days (as at 06 December 2018) through this link: https://amzn.to/2rmqrnK

 

Bitxe Rotxa beach, Maio, Cape Verde

European Union funded projects on Maio island

Hermínia Ribeiro the deputy director of the Instituto Marquês de Valle Flôr (IMVF) has been on the island of Maio this month. The IMVF became a Non-Governmental Development Organisation (NGDO) in 1988 in São Tomé and Principe. The IMVF is an organisation for development and cooporation and in the 1990’s extended its work to other countries that are Portuguese speaking. The organisation has been supporting initiatives on the island of Maio.

During her visit Ms Ribeiro visited several recipients of the support to monitor progress. She reported that renewal element of the project to promote and renew tourism on Maio was nearly completed. The creation of craft-making enterprises had already resulted in more handmade goods being sold in the shop adjacent to the Forte de São José.

Also the Salt Interpretation Centre is nearing completion and it is expected that this will be a useful addition for the people of Maio and visitors to the island.

Other projects on the island such as the Projeto de Turismo Solidário e Comunitário, which was started 12 months ago, has the aim to improve the living conditions of the people of Maio. It is intended to strengthen and diversify the tourism offer on Maio. Increasing tourism will increase those activities that generate income and are connected with sustainability. This will run for a further two years.

The projects are financed by the European Union, the IMVF and the Portuguese Co-operation and the Society of Tourist Development of the Boa Vista and Maio Islands (SDTIBM).

São Vicente's green hills

Hills in São Vicente

São Vicente is one of the most westerly of the Cape Verde islands. Not only does it possess lovely beaches, but there are also green hills in São Vicente. The capital of the island is Mindelo, which is a mecca for artists, musicians and poets. The island also holds several festivals throughout the year, including the famous Baía das Gatas (Bay of Cats) Music Festival and one of the few African Gay Pride celebrations. This island has something for everyone and the harbour in Mindelo makes a great place for yachting.

ARC boats in Mindelo harbour

Atlantic Rally for Cruisers boats in Mindelo

Since 1986 the Atlantic Rally for Cruisers (ARC) has been held in November. The event starts from Las Palmas on Gran Canaria in the Canary Islands and heads over the Atlantic to the Caribbean. Boats from all over the world come together for this event.

There are three routes for the sailors to chose from. One of those is via Mindelo on the island of São Vicente in Cape Verde. The boats stay in Mindelo for between three and five days before setting off for Saint Lucia in the Caribbean. This picture shows some of the boats at Mindelo.

Another route is similarly from Las Palmas to Mindelo then over to St. Vincent rather than Saint Lucia. The third route is direct to Saint Lucia from Las Palmas.

Organised by The World Cruising Club, the Atlantic Rally for Cruisers is open to all, including couples, families, racers, and large or small boats. It is not just a race across the Atlantic, because it is also a social event where friendships are made before the race commences and during the race by keeping in touch by radio. On arrival in Saint Lucia crews are met with a rum punch and a cold beer.

Mindelo is the main town on the island of São Vicente, and it is a tourist and cultural centre, with a lively atmosphere. It was discovered in 1462, but only really became developed in the 19th Century. The deep harbour meant that it became a refuelling stop for shipping. The restored buildings and refurbished squares are indicative of this being a prosperous town. There are many restaurants and also a cultural centre, and arts and crafts workshops and exhibitions. Mindelo is also home to the only marina in West Africa.

Main street in Santa Maria, Sal

New paving to the main street in Santa Maria, Sal

Work to re-pave the main street in Santa Maria on the island of Sal is now underway. When work is complete the new paving will be a great improvement and it is understood that the street will become a pedestrian zone. The new paving includes symbols associated with the island, such as turtles and sailing boats. This also enables bars and restaurants in the street to have more tables and chairs outside adding to the lively scene in the town.

Tall ship in Santa Maria, Sal

Tall ship moored off Santa Maria, Sal

This beautiful boat has been moored here for a few days. It adds interest to the lovely beach in Santa Maria on the island of Sal, Cape Verde.