Cape Verde Islands: Sun, Wind and Sea
Cape Verde consists of 15 islands that are quite far out in the Atlantic, opposite the coast of Senegal and Mauritania. The name of the islands suggests that they are green islands, because verde means green. Perhaps they were green when Portuguese sailors discovered them in 1456. Or the boys had fun giving the name.
There is hardly any water on Cape Verde, very little fertile soil, a lot of wind and even more sun.
The Cape Verde Islands are divided into two groups depending on their location: Barlavento are the islands that are “in the wind” and sotavento are those that are “under the wind”. The northern, rainier islands are called São Nicolau, São Vicente and Santo Antão and are therefore also called “agricultural islands”. The green valleys on Santo Antão stand in contrast to the barren landscapes on the more southern islands.
Salt and sand are the hallmarks of Maio and Sal, the islands in the middle of the archipelago, while Brava is a paradise for flowers. Only a few people live here in small towns. Santa Lucia, Branco, Razo barlavento and the Ilhéus Secos sotavento archipelago are uninhabited.
Santiago is the largest island in Cape Verde. On it is the capital, Praia. The island experienced its richest times as a transshipment point for slaves on the way to America. The end of the slave trade meant the end of the wealth that went with it.
Boa Vista, in English beautiful view, is the easternmost island and benefited mainly from the trade in the salt from the existing salt pans. A characteristic of Boa Vista are the sand dunes. The other islands were enriched by the countless ships that were shattered and stranded there. The reason for this is said to have been inaccurate nautical charts and a natural disturbance of the magnetic field.
Rumor has it that in earlier times, at night, locals tied lanterns to the tails of their donkeys and then led them up and down the beach. Ships that were misled to run aground were looted.
The island of Fogo, in English means fire, is home to the Pico de Fogo volcano, which is 2,829m high. Its last eruption was in 1995, the 29th eruption since the mid-16th century. Fogo served as an island in exile during the colonial period. The Chã das Caldeiras at the foot of the volcano is worth a visit. The last mansions from the colonial era are in São Filipe on the west coast of the island. The whites lived on the first floor at that time, the mulattos lived on the ground floor, i.e. the children made with blacks, and the black slaves in the basement.
The second most beautiful bay in the world is located on São Vicente, supposedly after that of Rio de Janeiro. The second best carnival in the world is to be celebrated in the small town of Mindelo every February, after that of Rio de Janeiro. You will receive your charter yacht in Mindelo.
Most of the tourists today come from Portugal, Italy, France and Germany. The main destination is the island of Sal, where the largest airport in the island republic is located. On Sal there are miles of beaches, especially from November to June, particularly attractive for water sports enthusiasts, strong winds and high waves.
Water is scarce, landscapes are mostly barren.