Cape Verde or Cabo Verde is a country made up of a group of islands in the Atlantic Ocean of the Coast of Africa (NW). Cabo Verde consists of 10 volcanic islands and has approximately 500,000 inhabitants, most of which is Creole. Official language is Portuguese but the common language is called creole
The Cape Verde archipelago was uninhabited until the 15th century, when Portuguese explorers discovered and colonized the islands, establishing the first European settlement in the tropics. Ideally located for the Atlantic slave trade, the islands grew prosperous throughout the 16th and 17th centuries, attracting merchants, privateers, and pirates. The end of transatlantic slavery in the 19th century led to economic decline and emigration. Cape Verde gradually recovered as an important commercial center and stopover for shipping routes. Incorporated as an overseas department of Portugal in 1951, the islands continued to campaign for independence, which was achieved in 1975.
Sun, sun and friendly people
We choose Cabo Verde for its promise of sunshine and it truly delivered. Cabo Verde is one of the few places where sunshine is guaranteed all year around.
This was our first visit to this island paradise and when searching for an early February holiday destination, Cape Verde was definitely very attractive with only an average of 2mm of rain in February and over 7 sun hours/day. It is almost another 2 hours flight time from say Canary Islands, but well worth it due to the almost 100% gurantee of great weather.
Ilha do Sal
Sal is one of the 10 islands, and the one we visited. In many ways it looks very much like Fuerte Ventura with a desert like landscape but lovely sandy beaches. Sal (Portuguese for salt) got it’s name from the salt mining that was once its main trade. But today the main business is tourism. Most hotels are located on the southern tip of Sal around the town Santa Maria. We stayed at Meliá llana beach resort & spa which was very luxurious. We have stayed at other Melia hotels and they never disapoint.
As this was our first time in Cape Verde we did not really know what to expect but the friendliness of the people really struck us. The country’s mantra is “No stress”, but don’t let that fool you, they are hard working but ever smiling.
We did leave our sun loungers a few times during our stay on Sal;
First we went paddling with the baby lemon sharks that inhabits the east coast of the island (close to Pedra Lume), with mummy shark swimming around 15m out in the deeper water. The baby sharks are only 30-50 cm but mum can be up to 3.5 meters!!
In Pedra Lume you can see the old Salt mining operation, and you can visit the salt crater where you can take a spa bath and float around in the salty water.
We also visited the town of Santa Maria where you can find some shopping, local cuisine and markets.
One evening I spoke to another guest in the bar, he had come to Cape Verde for several years and he asked if I would ever come back? My answer “In a heart beat”. Not only does the place offer great sunshine it also offers a very welcoming population. And a place where the mantra is “No stress” is definately the place to go on holiday.