Travelling in Portugal I got to know a photographer from Cabo Verde who invited me over so I took the opportunity and headed to West Africa. Thanks to my contact there I was able avoiding just being a tourist but stayed with the locals most of the time.
I visited three of the islands and every one was different. I first went to Sal, which is comparable to Fuerteventura cause besides sand and wind there isn’t much. You can wander for hours on the beach or practice Kitesurf but this is basically it. There is a nice small town with a fish market, some salt mines and sand, lots of sand. Theoretically there are also good surf spots but unfortunately the time I spend there, the waves weren’t what they are used to be and surfing wasn’t possible – at least not for a beginner like me. I stayed in Santa María which is a bit touristy but also has some cool spots like the peer and a nice little yoga studio. Food is quite expensive as everything needs to be imported. Just as an example, whereas an orange will costs 10 cent in Santo Antão, it is the double in São Vicente and in Sal you will have to pay 50 cents per piece.
From Sal I took an inland flight to São Vicente where I took the ferry from Mindelo the next morning and went to Santo Antão. Santo Antão is one of the most beautiful places I have seen so far. As it was November, everything was green and the mountains were covered by lots of sugar cane plants. The landscape was so amazing I felt like wandering in a dream. From the port I went by bus to the inland where they dropped me off somewhere in the middle of nowhere knowing that there is a hiking path bringing me to the coast where I had my guest house in Ribeira Grande. Having said that I was there starting my trip, first crossing a crater of a volcano, then going up a bit till I finally was on the highest point overlooking the way to the coast. Estimated time for this tour is around five hours basically going down the whole time which is bad enough but here we go, again my issues with height. I was on 1,800 meters above sea level and knew I had to go down till reaching the coastline. The problem was not the walking itself though on some points your knees will hurt but the altitude. The path itself was small and on some points not really existent. I appreciated the green landscape but this also meant that rainy season just finished and the ways haven’t been fixed yet. So there was I, alone, no hiking equipment and wearing most inappropriate shoes with no splines. I slipped twice and was the only people doing this hike alone and with no guide. I saw several groups on my way and felt a bit stupid that I was so ignorant doing this thing by myself and not prepared at all. I survived but really had to focus and contain my fear, mainly the first hours descending as there were parts were the little security wall wasn’t there but all the big stones were covering the path. The rest of the route was much more simpler and the longer I walked the lower I got which was quite a relief.
The day after I chose an easier route recommended by the guest house owner which was nice as well but thanks to my quite bad muscle ache every step down the mountain was a bit of a torture.
Bottom line: inform yourself before the hikes and try to get some experience before preparing your body to walk for hours. I´m pretty sure you can do amazing hikes in Santo Antão but make sure you know what you are expecting.
Before going back to Sal I spent some days in Mindelo in São Vicente. I have to admit I didn’t see much of the island itself but spend some crazy hangout time in a shared apartment of some students which was quite a contrast after my lonesome days in Santo Antão where I barely spoke to anyone during the day. Mindelo itself is a beautiful small city where you still have the colonial style. I also finally managed to learn some Crioulo, the Cabo Verdean language which is a mix between Portuguese which is the official language and African influences. The girls made Cachupa, the national dish and even so I spend only a couple of days with them, it was hard to say good-bye.
Foi um prazer conche bsot tud. Ta deseja bsot tud de bom!