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Cape Verde

Cape Verde

General Information

At the cross-road of the three continents that border the Atlantic, there is an obligatory stop in the middle of the ocean, the Archipelago of Cabo Verde. Located 450 km off the coast of Senegal, it is composed of 10 islands and 8 islets. Of volcanic origin and positioned between parallels 15 and 17 of the North latitude, Cape Verde is made up of two distinctly different types of islands. Its six inhabited islands, located more to the West, are characterised by their mountainous landscapes, whereas the remaining three are distinguished by their long sandy beaches.
The islands are divided into two groups named according to the trade winds that reach them from the African Continent: windward and leeward.
The first group consists of the islands of Santo Antão, S.Vicente, Santa Luzia (disabitata), S.Nicolau, Sal, Boavista, and the second, more to the South, comprises the islands of Maio, Santiago, Fogo and Brava. The sun spreads its warmth the whole year round, soothed by the fresh sea breeze. The climate is tropical and dry.The average temperature is approximately 25°C and changes do not exceed 10°C.

With vast beaches that allow for all types of water sports, impressive mountains, high quality fish, various types of delicious seafood and the melodious beauty of its music all distinguish Cape Verde as an exciting tourist destination.

Where politics are, the country is known for its stability and absence of any type of conflict. Because it is strongly influenced by Western culture, the people are mainly Christian and the majority of these are Catholic.

With a total land area of 4,033 km Cape Verde is one of the five Atlantic Archipelagos of the Macaronésia.The others are Azores, Madeira, the Canary Islands and the Savage Isles.

A little about its History

In 1460, at the beginning of their adventurous discoveries, navigators in the service of the Portuguese Crown, landed in Cape Verde. Although there is no actual proof, there are indications that the Romans and the Carthaginians were aware of the existence of the Archipelago. It is also speculated that in the XII century, Arab seafarers may have reached the then uninhabited islands.

Two years after its discovery, the islands of the Archipelago were colonised and, soon after, Cape Verde developed a largely mestizo population with its own unique culture that had been influenced by many other countries. Free Europeans and slaves of the African coast intermarried to form their own way of life and their own dialect - the "Creole". Together these formed the roots of the country's culture. Consequently, side by side, there can be found the large wooden pestle and the European stone grinder, the drumming sound of characteristic of the African dances and the sound of the Portuguese triangle as well as the West African game 'banco de ouri' which is played by everyone.
Since the origin of their history, the Cape Verdeans have been a largely mestizo: 80 per cent of the population is mestizo, 17 per cent black and 3 per cent white. Little by little Cape Verde formed its cultural identity and then began to search for its own political identity. They finally obtained this with the National Independence, on the 5th of July 1975 after a long fight for the national liberation.
On the 13th January, 1991, they finally settled upon the multi-party system with all the institutions of modern democracy. Today, Cape Verde is a rapidly developing country that enjoys peace and social stability.
As far as health services, education and quality of life are concerned, Cape Verde is ranked the 4th in Africa.

Climate

Because it is situated in a zone where the Northeast winds predominate and increase intensity until the month of July, Cape Verde has a milder climate than those neighbouring countries located on the same latitude.
The rainy season is during August, September and October, and from year to year and island to island the rainfall is quite unpredictable. However, this does not prevent Cape Verde from enjoying Summer all year round. The East winds blowing from the African continent is extremely warm and usually arrives during January and February.
The climate is tropical and dry. The standard temperature remains around 25° and the changes do not exceed the 10° due to the influence from the ocean. In the sea the temperatures stay between the low of 21° in February and March and the high of 25° in September and October.

Agriculture

In the more humid areas, agriculture is based on the cultivation of corn, beans, squash, sweet potatoes and manioc. In the past the cultivation of sugar cane, coffee, pine nuts and Angola weed, amongst others, basically meant for export and which did in fact play an important part in the commercial balance of the Archipelago. Banana continues to be a product for exportation.

Flora and Fauna

The natural vegetation was practically destroyed to make way for cultivation fields, thus only in the highest areas those species are still to be found. There are still some rare species such as the "Dragoeiro", in S. Nicolau, and which is considered today one of the symbols of the country.

The wild life is not abundant and mainly consists of birds, of which there are about 75 different species distributed throughout all islands.

Sea- scape

One of Cape Verde's main riches is the sea, due to its very abundant maritime fauna, the underwater platforms and the purity and temperature of the water that varies between 21° to 25°. Among the many permanent species of fish there is the dory, the sawfish, the victor fish, the moray and the grouper. There are also many migratory species such as the tuna, dolphins, whales, sperm whales and killer whales. But it is for its abundant and varied shellfish that the seas of Cape Verde are often visited.

Lobster, various kinds of crabs and shellfish with magnificent shells, together with the coral are the delight of any collector. Turtles that are considered an endangered species all over the world, choose the beaches of the Archipelago for laying their eggs, and Cape Verde is considered the preferred habitat of diverse types of this species.

 

Information courtesy of Cape Verde tourism

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