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The Republic of Cape Verde is an 'island' country comprising of 10 islands located in the central Atlantic Ocean, 570 kilometres off the coast of West Africa. The islands, covering a combined area of slightly over 4,000 square kilometres (1,500 sq miles) are of volcanic origin and while three of them (Sal, Boa Vista and Maio ) are fairly flat, sandy and dry, the remaining ones are more mountainous and are substantially vegetated. It is an independent European country and although Portuguese is widely spoken, it is no longer a Portuguese colony.

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The Republic of Cape Verde is an 'island' country comprising of 10 islands located in the central Atlantic Ocean, 570 kilometres off the coast of West Africa. The islands, covering a combined area of slightly over 4,000 square kilometres (1,500 sq miles) are of volcanic origin and while three of them (Sal, Boa Vista and Maio ) are fairly flat, sandy and dry, the remaining ones are more mountainous and are substantially vegetated. It is an independent European country and although Portuguese is widely spoken, it is no longer a Portuguese colony.

History

The previously uninhabited islands were discovered and colonized by the Portuguese in the 15th Century and became an important location in the Atlantic slave trade due to their geographically advantageous position close to Africa. The islands' prosperity often attracted pirates including Sir Francis Drake, who twice sacked the (then) capital Ribeira Grande, in the 1580s. The islands were also visited by Charles Darwin's expedition in 1832. The decline in the slave trade in the 19th century resulted in an economic crisis. With few natural resources and without strong sustainable investment from the Portuguese, the people grew increasingly discontented with their colonial masters who nevertheless refused to provide the local authorities with more autonomy. This discontent festered and culminated in 1975, when a movement led by Amílcar Cabral achieved independence for the archipelago.

The country has an estimated population (most of it of creole ethnicity) of over 500,000, with its capital city (Praia), accounting for the majority of its citizens. Nearly 45% of the population lives in rural areas, about 20% lives below the poverty threshold, and there is a literacy rate around 85%. Politically, the country is a very stable democracy, with notable economic growth and improvements of living conditions, despite its lack of natural resources, and has garnered International recognition by other countries and international organizations, which often provide development aid. Since 2007, Cape Verde has been classified as a developing nation.

Tough economic times during the last decades of its colonization and the first years of Cape Verde's independence led many to migrate to Europe, the Americas and other African countries. This migration phenomenon was so significant that the number of Cape Verdeans and their descendants living abroad currently exceeds the population of Cape Verde itself. Historically the influx of remittances from these immigrant communities to their families has provided a substantial contribution to help strengthen the country's economy. Currently, the Cape Verde's economy is mostly service-oriented with a growing focus on tourism and foreign investment, which benefits from the islands' warm climate throughout the year, diverse landscape, welcoming people and cultural richness, especially in music.

Geography

The Cape Verde archipelago is located in the Atlantic Ocean, approximately 570 kilometres (350 miles) off the coast of West Africa, near Mauritania and Senegal. It is a horseshoe-shaped cluster of ten islands (nine inhabited) and eight islets, that constitute an area of 4033 km².

The largest island, both in size and population, is Santiago, which hosts the nation's capital, Praia, the principal agglomeration in the archipelago.

Though Cape Verde's islands are all volcanic in origin, they vary widely in terrain.

Most recently erupting in 1995, Pico do Fogo is the largest active volcano in the region. It has a 8 km (5 miles) diameter caldera, whose rim is 1,600 m (5,249 ft) altitude and an interior cone that rises to 2,829 m (9,281 ft) above sea level.

Climate

Cape Verde's climate is milder than that of the African mainland because the island is surrounded by the sea, therefore temperatures are generally moderate. Average daily high temperatures range from 25 °C (77 °F) in January to 29 °C (84.2 °F) in September. Cape Verde is part of the Sahelian arid belt, with nothing like the rainfall levels of nearby West Africa. It does rain irregularly between August and October, with frequent brief-but-heavy downpours. A desert is usually defined as terrain which receives less than 250 mm (9.8 in) of annual rainfall. Cape Verde's total (261 mm/10.3 in) is slightly above this criterion, which makes the area climate semi-desert.

Flora & Fauna

Cape Verde's isolation has resulted in the islands having a number of endemic species, particularly bird and reptiles, many of which are endangered  by human development.  Turtles are abundant around the coasts and are now under protection by local authorities.


Further information about Cape Verde and walking holidays there.Further information about Cape Verde and our walking holidays there...

Multi Island Cape Verde

Walking holidays in Cape Verde - Multi Island Cape Verde - Click Here For Larger Image Here is a brief description of the main walking holiday Cape Verdean Islands Santiago, the largest island in the Cape Verde islands archipelago, it is host to the capital of the country, Praia. It is extremely mountainous with hardly any flat land on the island. The highest peak is nearly 1400m, which is the focal point of one of many natural parks in the country. The walking is varied with mountainous and historic walks available. Fogo, is one of the most geologically dramatic of not only this group of islands but any worldwide. The island is dominated by a caldera, a partially collapsed giant volcano out of which is the relatively new volcano of Pico (2829m), the highest peak in Cape Verde, which you have the opportunity of walking to the summit. Or you can walk to the peak of a side volcano which was formed only in 1995. São Vicente. This island is the smallest Cape Verde walking island we feature and it has the closest link with the UK. Its beautiful harbour was a major coaling station for British vessels en route to all parts of its empire. When oil replaced steam the British departed but left behind their architecture and some of its culture and language still used today. Here there is a climb to the top of the highest mountain. Santo Antao. This is the most famous Cape Verde walking island being the second largest and we concentrate on the north east. Here is a spectacular landscape of jagged peaks either side of deep valleys (Ribeiras) where people live and farm clinging to the valley sides on perilous terraces. Bananas, cassava and sugar cane are grown as well as other seasonal fruits and vegetables. The coastline is no less dramatic with paths clinging to the side of dramatic cliffs and offering one of the best coastal walking experiences imaginable. Sal is visited in addition to the four Cape Verdean walking islands. You may have to travel via Sal and stay overnight as only this island has both a non stop air link with the UK and good air connections with the other islands. The island is flat and dull for a walker, but it does have some excellent hotels for overnight stays or a relaxing few beach days at the end of the holiday.

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Santo Antao - Hotel to Hotel Trek

Walking holidays in Cape Verde - Santo Antao - Hotel to Hotel Trek - Click Here For Larger Image Santo Antão. This is the most famous walking island and is the second largest. We concentrate on the north east. Here is a spectacular landscape where nature went crazy in Her creation!  Jagged peaks, strange rock formations, craters, volcanoes and plunging ravines and valleys filled with lush vegetation are just a few of the characteristics of this amazing island. Deep valleys (Ribeiras) are farmed by the local people and terraces cling to every corner and crevice of the almost sheer valley sides where bananas, cassava and sugar cane are grown along with other seasonal fruits and vegetables. The coastline is no less dramatic with paths clinging to the cliffsides and offering one of the most amazing coastal walks imaginable - anywhere!

  Walking holiday in Cape Verde - Santo Antao - Hotel to Hotel Trek - Click Here For Full DetailsVIEW FULL DETAILS   Send us an enquiry about this holiday SEND US AN ENQUIRY

Guided walking holiday - Click here to find out more about Guided walking holidays  Self Guided walking holiday - Click here to find out more about Self Guided walking holidays   

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