The African Caribbean
Floating 500 kilometres off the coast of Senegal, the Atlantic isles of Cape Verde have been dubbed the African Caribbean. They’re still fairly new to the travel circuit, but with their out-of-this-world beaches and lively surf, they’re quickly making a name for themselves.
Cape Verde’s most popular island is cosmopolitan Sal, which is known for its striking, lunar-like landscape. It’s dotted with colourful, cobbled towns, like Santa Maria on the southern shores, where you’ll find surf shops, traditional restaurants and a pretty square lined with al fresco cafés. The main attraction, though, is the beach, which stretches along the coast for 8 kilometres.
You’ll find plenty more in the way of beaches over on Boa Vista, which translates as ‘beautiful view’. The sands here halo the coastline for 55 kilometres and easily rival those you’d find in the Caribbean. Praia Chave deserves a special mention, thanks to its snow-white swathes and shape-shifting dunes.
Cultural melting pot
Whichever island you opt for, expect a melting pot of cultures. The Portuguese originally discovered Cape Verde, so there’s a mixture of African, Brazilian and Portuguese influences. You’ll see it in the island’s music, fashion and – perhaps most clearly – the food.
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Mention Cape Verde to the man on the street, and it’s likely you’ll get a blank look in response. These islands, about 400 miles off the coast of Senegal, have only recently emerged from obscurity. But, in certain circles, they’re creating a real stir. The 10 isles, one of which is Boa Vista, are commonly referred to as the African Caribbean, and they’re home to the best beaches this side of the Atlantic.
Sal is part of Cape Verde, a group of 10 islands off the west coast of Africa. They’re relatively unknown in the mainstream market and, thanks to their location, they’re a unique melting pot of cultures. The islands were originally discovered by the Portuguese, and there’s a mixture of African, Brazilian and Portuguese influences. You’ll see it in the islands’ music, fashions and, perhaps most clearly, the food.