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Technically an African state, Cape Verde lies 620 kilometres off the coast of Senegal. Because of this disconnect between the scenic region and the rest of Africa, there’s far more of a tropical feel to the country. Sandy beaches are the norm, with lush areas of greenery dotted throughout.
Owing to its former colonial roots, there is a strong Portuguese flare present throughout the region, with the food, music and traditions reflecting that perfectly. This gives a feel of the Mediterranean despite being part of Africa.
Far from just one mass of land, the archipelagoactually consists of 12 islands,nine of which are inhabited. The largest of these, Santiago, is teeming withhistory, having at one point been a large trading port. It, much like its 11counterparts, offers the perfect climate for those looking to relax in the sun,while also absorbing local customs and traditions.
Unsurprisingly for such an exotic location, there’s a myriad of activities for any traveller to get involved with. Here are just a handful of fantastic options to choose from:
Snorkelling. Most of CapeVerde’s islands are perfect for snorkelling, but it’s arguably Sal whichprovides an unforgettable experience. Described as somewhat of a lover’sparadise, this spot is fantastic for those looking to experience a uniqueadventure with their partner.
The best spot comes about 50m off the coast of thetown of Papaia. Here you’ll find an underwater statue, which has been takenover by local sea life. Bright aquatic flowers of orange, red and yellow arethe perfect contrast to brilliant diamond blue of the ocean.
Kitesurfing. Onefor adrenaline junkies, this extreme sport is available to try on pretty muchany island within the area. The best variety for all skill levels can be foundon Boa Vista. The winds here are mild enough for beginners to cut their teeth,while further out from the shore wind speed picks up enough to make it achallenge for more experienced heads.
Once you’ve had enough of kitesurfing, you can relax on the beach with a mojito, while tucking into a traditional Portuguese BBQ. Don’t worry if you’re not a natural, to begin with. Kitesurfing is a tricky discipline, which can sometimes take years to master.
Hike up a volcano. Tacklingthe challenges of a volcano might sound like something from Greek mythology,but it can be a reality if you’re off on a trip to Cape Verde. Head to FolgoIsland where you’ll find the imposing figure of Pico do Folgo.
With a peak of 2,829 metres, this behemothdominates the entire island. The houses and local communities you’ll find hereare something completely different than your used to back home. After avolcanic eruption which occurred back in 2014, the Cha people evacuated thearea, only to move back once the chaos had settled.
Their profound connection with their ancestral homehas seen them rebuild on top of the wreckage. The result? A 700-strong community living inblackened huts, in the middle of a crater wroughtby the volcano. Truly unique.
Quad biking. Alittle more down-to-earth, yet no less exciting, quad biking is anotheradventure sport which simply cannot be overlooked. You can choose to dual-bikeit with an experienced driver, or take the quads out on your own (with a guidealso coming along on the journey with you).
Naturally, with such a high octane sport, it’sadvised that you take out the right kind of travel insurance.While spills are unlikely, there’s always the chance you could take a tumblewhile driving one of these powerful machines.
Bathe in the salt sea.For those looking to leave the excitement of quad biking and kitesurfingbehind, a dip in Pedra Lume’s salt sea is well worth a try. What was once agiant crater has become a basin for a vast expanse of salt-heavy water, idealfor relaxing in.
There’s actually a higher consistency of salt herethan can be found in the famed Dead Sea, so even those with absolutely noconfidence with swimming can get involved. The presence of this naturally-occurringsubstance means it’s practically impossible to sink.
It would be wrong to suggest Cape Verde is withoutdanger, but things are definitely moving in the right direction. Crime isusually an internal affair, with the Government reporting very few incidences involvingBritish tourists.
Robbery and muggings are the most common crimes totake place on the islands, so be sure to keep your possessions close at alltimes and only take out the necessities.
When it comes to natural elements, theaforementioned volcano on Folgo Island is technically still dormant. With thelast eruption happening as recently as 2014, it should be a long time beforethe next one.
Important numbers to remember when you’re in CapeVerde are:
If you’re a British tourist looking to get incontact with the embassy, you can contact them using these details:
Shell Cabo Verde Sarl
Av Amilcar Cabral CP4
Tel: 00 (238) 232 66 25/26/27
Fax: 00 (238) 232 66 29
It’s also worth noting the government in Cape Verdeis currently stable. There have been no terrorist attacks in recent years andthe likelihood of one happening is relatively small.
Let’s explore some of the other importantneed-to-knows ahead of a holiday to this African archipelago.
Flight time: Flighttimes to Cape Verde are what you’d expect, given the relatively remote natureof the islands. Average times are around six to six-and-a-half hours whenflying out of London Gatwick. Flights from other UK airports areavailable.
Capital city: Praia.Found on Santiago Island, this city has been the capital of the region since asfar back as 1770. To this day, it remains the cultural, political andeconomical hub of the country, housing roughly 30% of the total inhabitants ofCape Verde.
Language: People in theregion speak Portuguese and Creole (a language most commonly spoken inCaribbean regions).
Timezone: -1 GMT, meaning theregion is two hours behind the UK.
Currency: CVE –Cape Verde Escudo. At the time of writing, £1 is the equivalent to 123.28 CVE.
Population: The country has apopulation of 516,733 as of the last census check.
Weather: The averagetemperature in Cape Verde barely changes across the year. January is usuallythe coldest month, with an average conditions remaining around 24 degrees.September, the hottest month, sits at around 29 degrees.
Best time to visit: Withrainfall rare, and a breeze from the Sahara keeping climates moderate, the besttime to visit really depends on your own schedule.
Passport and visas:If you have a British passport, you’ll be able to stay for up to 30 days inCape Verde without the need for a visa. If you’re intending to stay for longer,apply for a visa with the Honorary Consul in London.
Excited about a trip to Cape Verde? Be sure tobrush up and learn as much as you can about the country before you headthere.
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