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Cabo Verde
I visited all nine inhabited islands in July/August 2001

Link to Photogallery of Cabo Verde

The Cabo Verde Islands are in the Atlantic Ocean, at about 15 degrees northern latitude. The archipelago consists of ten large islands (of which nine inhabited), and many islets and rocks. The largest island, Santiago, measures some 1,000 square kilometers, and the smallest one, uninhabited Santa Lucia, about 30 square kilometers. The total population of the archipelago is about 400,000. Politically, the Cabo Verde has been independent since 1975; previously, it was a Portuguese colony. In times past, the islands were important as “stations” on the trade routes between America, Europe and Africa; e.g. slaves were often “refreshed” here during their transport from Africa to America.

All islands have a hot and dry climate; in fact, the islands are literally the westward extension of the African Sahara.

Like most other oceanic islands, the Cabo Verde Islands are of volcanic origin. Landscapes include fantastic hills, mountains, cliffs, rock formations, and sandy beaches. On many places volcanic activity is clearly visible.
The islands differ enormously in landscape. Roughly, we can state that the landscapes of the western islands of Santo Antao, Sao Vicente. Brava, Fogo, Santiago and Sao Nicolao are greener and more mountainous than the eastern islands of Maio, Sal and Boavista. The latter three islands have extensive sandy beaches. Sal is a top tourist island, simply because it has the international airport and many sandy beaches.

People, economy
With little rainfall and poor soil, the islands are by no means self-sufficient in food production – although the bulk of the work force is employed in agriculture. Fishing is, of course, the other traditional source of income.
The main town and main international port is located on the rather small island of Sao Vicente.
In recent years tourism has become an important cash crop.

Travel and tourism
Tourists can make fantastic mountain walks on the mountainous islands. Excellent water sports can be carried out from the eastern islands. Access to the islands is easy, with the international airport on Sal Island. A good website is . Who wishes to see many islands in a relatively short time should prepare his or her boat trips and flights between the islands carefully, or use a specialist travel agency, e.g. .

Island List

1. Santiago
2. Fogo
3. Brava
4. Sao Vicente
5. Santo Antao
6. Sao Nicolao
7. Sal
8. Boavista
9. Maio
10. Santa Luzia
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Photos and articles are © 2005-2020 Alex Ritsema