February 2013: I travelled with my family to Cape Verde, an archipeligo of 10 islands and five islets roughly 500km west of Senegal. The islands vary significantly geographically and in character - from the tourist-filled beaches and scorched, flat, deserts of Sal to the lush, green mountainous valleys of Santo Antao, with the buzzing cities of Mindelo and Praia in between. 
We visited five islands, invovlng eight flights and two ferries, but only spent more than a day on three - Sao Vicente, based primarily in the capital Mindelo, in the spectacular Paul Valley on Santo Antao and just outside Sal Rei on the beaches of Boavista. 
While Cape Verde may be physically closest to Africa, the islands can feel at times West African, South American and even Cuban. And while some of these islands are clearly already on the package tour map, especially for the Portuguese and Italians, others feel comparatively untouched, and none of them feel ruined – yet. But everywhere we went, we saw building sites for new resorts and holiday homes. More tourists are coming. 
Mindelo, the capital of Sao Vicente, at dusk. 
Shipwreck of the Leopard, with Mindelo in the background, dawn. 
Shipwreck of the Leopard, Mindelo. 
The road to the airport and Sao Pedro from Mindelo, Sao Vicente, dawn. 
Central Mindelo, from our apartment, at dusk. 
Taxi driver, dusk, Mindelo. 
Market traders, dusk, Mindelo. 
Market traders, dusk, Mindelo. 
Market trader with her baby, dusk, Mindelo street market. 
Giant, Mindelo market. 
Jogger on Laginha Beach, north Mindelo, dusk. Fitness seems to be something of an obsession in Cape Verde, with lots of joggers - male and female - running along the beaches and using public exercise machines at dawn and dusk. It reminded me of Rio de Janeiro.
Cards in the afternoon, Mindelo. 
View from our apartment, dawn, Mindelo. 
Mindelo in the afternoon haze, from Monte Verde.
Mindelo at dusk, from Monte Verde. 
Praia Grande, with Baia das Gatas in the distance, Sao Vicente, late afternoon. 
The fishing village of Calhau, dusk, Sao Vicente. 
Fisherman, Calhau. 
Fisherman, Calhau. 
Fishermen, Calhau. 
Fisherman, Calhau. 
Fisherman, Calhau. 
With the guys, Calhau. 
The road to Calhau, Praia Grande, Sao Vicente. 
Monte Verde, Sao Vicente. 
Peaks on the road to Sao Pedre at dawn, Sao Vicente. 
Our Ford Ranger, dawn, on the road to Sao Pedro. 
Fishing boat, Mindelo, dusk. 
Two friends, dusk, Mindelo. 
Street trader, Mindelo. 
The Mar d'Canal ferry, which takes passengers and cars from Mindelo to Santo Antao twice a day. The journey takes about an hour. 
Shipwreck, Mindelo port. 
Boats, dusk, seen from the ferry. 
Ponta Do Sol, where the coastal road runs out, Santo Antao. 
Ponto Do Sol is a beautiful, sleepy fishing village in Santo Antao. 
Ponto Do Sol harbour. The high winds, blowing off the Sahara hundreds of miles to the east, don't always make for ideal swimming conditions, but Cape Verde is a very popular surfing and kite surfing destination. 
I wouldn't have believed it possible to navigate a boat through this gap, but we saw fishing boat after fishing boat make it look easy. 
Football on the beach, Povoacao (Ribiera Grande)
The view from the Santo Antao highlands, near the main crater. 
Harry and backpack, dawn, at the top of Ribeira do Paul. 
View down into Ribeira do Paul, where we were staying, dusk. 
Dusk, Santo Antao - you can see the lights of Ribeira Grande on the coast in the distance. 
Bus wreck, dawn, on the road from Vila das Pombas to Provoacao. 
The coastal road from Vila das Pombas to Provoacao, dawn. 
Vila das Pombas, dawn, Santo Antao. 
Vila das Pombas, dawn, Santo Antao. 
Eito, the first village you reach from Vila das Pombas as you ascend Ribeira do Paul. 
Tradesman in his workshop, Eito. 
Passagem, and the road to Lombo Comprido, Ribeira do Paul, Santo Antao. 
Boavista, where we spent two nights, is much flatter than Santo Antao or even Sao Vicente and tourists come for the beaches and stay in sprawling Dubai-style mega resorts. 
Nic on Chaves Beach, Boavista. 
Chaves Beach, Boavista. 
Fisherman on the pier, Sal Rei, Boavista. 
Back to Top