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sal cape verde tourism increase

Tourism in Cape Verde continues to increase

Once again figures for tourism in Cape Verde have shown an increase for the first half of 2018. During the period from January to June there were 383,500 guests recorded in hotels and more than 2.2m overnight stays. The figures represent an increase of about 10% compared with the same period in 2017.

Within those figures it was confirmed that visitors from the United Kingdom formed the majority representing over 25% of the total visitors. Portugal, Germany, France, Belgium and The Netherlands being the next largest in that order. Not only were the highest proportion of visitors from the UK, but they also tended to stay in he country the longest.

Of all the Cape Verde islands, Sal continued to be the most popular island, with Boa Vista second and Santiago coming third. This is perhaps not surprising given that these are the easiest islands to get to from Europe. It is however, a shame that visitors don’t aim to be a little more adventurous and explore some of the other islands, which are all so different in character.

bitxe rotxa beach maio island

Vila do maio beach

The main beach in Vila do Maio (Porto Inglês) on the island of Maio, is a lovely stretch of soft white sand. The beach is not often very busy, so it makes lovely place to be based for the day. The sea is warm and pleasant for swimming and food and drink are available from Bar Tropikal on the beach. At the right time of day you can see the fishing boats coming in and the fishermen unloading their catch.

fogo mountain sunset

Sunset on the hills of Fogo

Fogo is an island of contrasts and well worth a visit. The main town of São Felipe is an attractive, busting town with views over to the neighbouring island of Brava. There are wooded areas on the sides of the mountain slope and a National Park on the side of the caldera near Mosteiros. There are also coffee plantations near Mosteiros and guavas, papayas, grapes, oranges, quinces and mangoes are also grown in the area. Then the most unusual of all is a trip to the caldera (volcano crater). There you find a rugged landscape, which could be compared to a moonscape, together with the small houses, some buried by lava in 2014 and also hotel and restaurants. Wine is also produced within the caldera from the vines grown there. Fogo is also a stepping stone to neighbouring Brava.

ferry travel to maio

Travel to Maio – more choice

There is good news for people wishing to travel to Maio. There is now transport to the island six days a week from Praia. The flights remain the same – on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. The ferry now operates four days a week on Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Sunday. This means the only day when travel isn’t possible, except by private boat transfer, is Saturday.

santo antao fire damage map

Santo Antão fire damage

The forest fire on Santo Antão that we reported on last week has now been extinguished. However, the Cape Verdean Minister of Agriculture, Gilberto Silva, has stated that it will take a lot of hard work over more than five years for the area to recover from the fire damage.

Some 200 hectares (almost 500 acres) were damaged according to latest estimates. This area is some 13% of the whole forest area and equivalent to approximately 200 football pitches. The flames have destroyed trees, endemic plants and water pipelines. These pipelines were installed to provide water to the East Plateau (Planalto Leste).

The causes of the fire are as yet unknown.

bitxe rotxa waves

Bitxe Rotxa (main beach) in Vila do Maio

The main beach (Bitxe Rotxa) in Vila do Maio  is in the the centre of this small town. It is a lovely place to relax, swim and enjoy a drink or meal in the beach bar (Bar Tropikal). The soft white sand and lovely warm sea is a great attraction. Occasionally the waves are exciting and photogenic. Vila do Maio is also known as Porto Inglês (English Port). Maio is one of the nine inhabited islands in Cape Verde and one of the least spoilt and perfect for quiet, relaxing holiday.

santo antao forest fire

Devastating forest fire on Santo Antão

With fires breaking out in a number of countries in Europe, a new forest fire has now broken out in the forest on the island of Santo Antão in Cape Verde. This fire has been described as being more serious than the one in June 2017. It is thought that it might be the worst fire to have hit this forest.

The fire is reported to have started in the area of Espongeiro. It as already burnt a large amount of the forest, reports suggest as much as 30 hectares (74 acres) and some houses are threatened..

The fire is described as complicated, given that it is burning on at least three separate fronts. Some families have been evacuated from the areas at risk. This fire destroy an important part of the eco-system on the island. The smoke will also have unwelcome effects on the environment.

This is the third fire that has occurred in this forest in under two months. The Government set up a volunteer fire brigade only two weeks ago as a measure to protect this precious forest.

farming irrigation

Farming improvements for women on Santiago Island

At a time when much of Europe is in the middle of a heatwave/draught it is particularly good to hear that some farmers in Cape Verde have had their lives improved by the installation of a water irrigation system. Money from the African Development Bank has paid for this installation on the island of Santiago. It means that the farmers that have benefitted from it no longer have to hike for up to 20km in order to get water for farming and for daily use.

Santiago is the largest island in Cape Verde and it is an important centre for agriculture. Farming relies on water for its survival, but in country where there is little rain that has always proved problematic. A large number of farmers are women, so this is making life considerably improved for these hard working ladies. One lady farmer has reportedly been able to increase her production and can now send her son to university.

The Picos and Engenhos Watershed Management project will help to secure the future for farming on Santiago. It has already increased the yield of the 17 farming groups that has brought almost 1,000 women farmers together. The programme has seen wells, reservoirs and irrigation systems constructed over the course of 7 years. Currently Cape Verde has to import up to 75% of its food. It is anticipated that this improvement in agricultural production will reduce that figure.

cabo verde airlines

Cabo Verde Airlines’ recent problems

Cabo Verde Airlines’ recent problems has resulted in having to cancel some 52 flights since 2 July. The company explained that this was due to a shortage of planes. It is hoped that this situation will be resolved shortly, following the acquisition on lease of two new planes.

Icelandair managed the company until recently, in preparation for privatisation. That arrangement has now come to an end. The government of Cape Verde now hopes to be able to initiate the privatisation process shortly. The irregularity of flights brought about by the shortage of planes has resulted in permission for Cabo Verde Airlines to operate in Italy to be revoked. Consequently flights into and out of Rome’s Fiumicino Airport have been suspended. Passengers inconvenienced by the flight cancellations will continue to be protected until the full schedule is resumed.

Cabo Verde Airlines only operates international flights, following Binter CV taking over the internal Cape Verde routes. Cabo Verde Airlines was formerly known as TACV (Transportes Aéreos de Cabo Verde). The company rebranded earlier in 2018, in order to more closely identify it with the country in which it is based.

flower on brava

Lovely flowers on the island of Brava

Flowers and plants are in abundance on the island of Brava. This plant was photographed in Nova Sintra, the pretty main town on the island. Here visitors will find many attractive gardens and parks. The island also has a very attractive, rugged coastline and a mountainous terrain. Brava is often known as the Garden Island.