An amazing video!
mar 7, 2015Here a stunning video to start to feel what you will discover on the island of Santo Antão. It lasts a little less than four minutes, take the time to look it under comfortable conditions, it will cut your breath. Enjoy!
The secret islands
jun 13, 2014A wonderful exhibition is currently displayed at the Governer’s Palace (up the Rua de Lisboa, in Mindelo) until December, about the desert island of Santa Luzia and the small islands of Raso and Branco.
The event is organised by Biosfera, a Capeverdean NGO striving to protect the environment, which fought against the slaughter of Cory's shearwaters. The design and display of the exhibition is remarkable, but not as much as its rich content: beautiful pictures, interesting videos, and explanatory texts in English and Portuguese.
Do not miss this exhibition under any circumstance, if you are in Mindelo.
Everyday but Sunday, from 9am to 4pm.
dec 24, 2013The United Nations Organisation are currently financing a project in Cape Verde that should anticipate climatic changes. For the record, current forecasts predict an augmentation of temperatures of two and a half degree Celsius up to the end of the century and a precipitation decrease of 25% within 30 years.
Those changes would be rather disastrous for this small insular country, bearing in mind water is already scarce: a shorter rain season, a longer dry season with more frequent droughts... To complete this apocalyptic image, the country would experience stronger storms and intense flooding. Needless to say, agriculture and tourism - beside the population, of course - would be the first victims of these climatic changes.
Through the UNDP, the United Nations launched an Aloe Vera ("Babosa") planting program in Porto Novo and Ribeira Grande on the island of Santo Antão. More than 80 hectares of land, levelled into terraced fields, are now the home to about 273000 plants of Aloe Vera!
Why Aloe Vera? It is a natural weapon against erosion, as it facilitates the infiltration of water in the soil, therefore contributing to the regeneration of groundwater reserves. Beside its multiple use in pharmacology, cosmetic and even nutrition, Aloe Vera doesn't need to be protected from goats, as they don't like its taste - it's the perfect plant.
Two years without her
dec 17, 2013A bit more than two years ago, Cesária Évora left us. I heard the news as I walked by her house - there were a few people standing in front of the door. The star that was admitted into hospital the previous day had just faded away.
It just took a few minutes for the news to spread through the city - already, streets sellers were selling portraits of her. It just took a few hours for the world to find out about the passing of the barefoot diva.
The song you can discover here makes a strong statement: it's Cesária who introduced tiny winy Cape Verde to the vast continents. Before she interpreted Sodade, the rest of the world didn't know anything about this small country; it's her Creole and her voice that put the name of the archipelago on every mouth: in France, Russia, China, Peru, Norway, U.S.A, Turkey...
This video is a vibrant tribute to she who did every Cape Verdean (either from the archipelago or living abroad) proud. Allow us to salute the authors of the video, who managed, with very little, to demonstrate the respect and proudness the diva made them feel.
On the 17th of December 2013, the Cape Verdean radios were broadcasting songs from Cesária - some just her music. The city of Mindelo put on a white veil this day; even the Harmattan, this dry fog, attended the ceremony.
Watch the tribute of Leader Vocal:
(Translated from the french site Mindelo Info www.mindelo.info)
British Santo Antão?
dec 11, 2013Here's a little historic anecdote our British readership can relate to: how the inhabitants of the island of Santo Antão almost became subjects of Her Majesty the Queen of England.
Dom Pedro III, King of Portugal, gave the island to the Marquis of Gouveia. About twenty years later, in 1724, ruined by his frivolous escapades and after having abducted a young girl already married to a Portuguese aristocrat, the Marquis took refuge in England, mortgaged its possessions and finally sold them for the benefit of the English.
The 4th of December 1724, an English boat disembarked in Santo Antão, met little resistance, and start settling in. Backup (allegedly with weapons and cannons) was on its way - but in Lisbon, fearing the English would fortify the island and take over the neighbour island of São Vicente, the King Dom João V of Portugal sends troops over: on the 20th of June 1725, the English are expelled of Santo Antão, that re-becomes a Portuguese territory.
jun 29, 2013On the 28th of June 2013, the government, social partners and trade unions agreed on minimum wage: they settled for 11,000 Escudos per month (100? / £83 / $136).
It's a bit more than what the government and employers were recommending (10,000 CVE) - disunited, the trade unions were demanding from 10,000 to 16,000 CVE, depending on the business sector.
The Cape Verdean press often dealt with certain unscrupulous employers who paid paupers' wages to their employees - the Chinese shop owners are particularly criticised.
The statutory working time is 44 hours per week; social benefits charges are split between the employer and the employee, respectively 15% and 8%, paid to the INPS (National Institute for Social Planning)
jun 24, 2013The town of Mindelo on São Vicente hosted the very first Cape Verdean edition of the Gay Pride: a photo exhibition, a film festival and conferences took place from the 24th until the 29th of June 2013. The gay and lesbian community of Mindelo aimed to offer a forum for discussion and a platform to raise awareness on topics such as equality, same rights and respect of sexual diversity.
A big parade in the streets of Mindelo was followed by a closing party, the first of its kind on Cape Verdean soil, and hopefully not the last.
The São João
jun 23, 2013It's time to update our Cape Verdean "to-see" list: the country will open a new museum dedicated to the São João fest (on the 24th of June). The IIPC (Instituto da Investigação e do Património Culturais) announced the near opening of this museum in Porto Novo.
Deeply rooted in Santo Antão where it is one of the most vibrant and typical cultural events of the year, the São João fest is a mix of religious and pagan rituals.
It starts with a procession between Ribeira das Patas and Porto Novo. To the sound of drums and whistles, the statue of the Saint is carried around, during 6 to 7 hours (daytime), by an exulting crowd. Two days later, the pilgrims undertake the journey back, not without having danced the famous Colá San Jon - so suggestive it was banned under colonial administration). Fires are lighted and the crowd encourages the most audacious to jump over it; a few glasses of grogue surely helps!
The São João is also celebrated on São Vicente (a bit further away from the centre, in a zone called Riberia de Julião); in São Nicolau (Praia Branca) and on Brava. It is followed by the São Pedro on the 29th of June.
Towards a 100% coverage
jun 9, 2013In Cape Verde, the national company Electra is the one managing the electricity network of the entire archipelago. As the country grows and develops, the company has to meet bigger and bigger needs, by building new power plants or improving the ones already working.
However, some zones in some islands are still not connected to the electricity grid, or can just use it a few hours per day.
On Santo Antão, the coverage reaches 90%, with local disparities depending on the areas. Three localities well known by hikers were finally connected to the regional electricity grid; until then, Lombo de Figueira, Água das Caldeiras e Ribeirão Fundo were using a generator that would regularly break down. The inhabitants are surely enjoying something we don't usually consider a luxury, electricity available 24 hour per day.
As to limit its dependence to the fluctuation of oil prices, Cape Verde aims at improving its production of renewable energy; since a few months, the small and isolated village of Monte Trigo, in the Western part of Santo Antão, is provided with photovoltaic energy. The village is fully self-sufficient and was able to store the old generator running on diesel, and its 5 hours of daily electricity.
may 9, 2013Our prices include the tourist tax that applies to every accommodation business, regardless of its size, since the 1rst May 2013.
This tax will be used to fund the development of infrastructures (roads, energy, water supply, sanitation...)
On the 10th of Mai 2013, the government extended the tax to all kind of accommodation business, even for homestay or holiday flat rental.
All our proposals sent from the 1rst of Mai 2013 include this tax.
apr 24, 2013We were saddened to learn of the passing of our friend Carlos, who was a guide on his island of Fogo - no doubt that his spirit will accompany his friends during their ascension of the Pico, which he was so much fond of.
A new museum in Fogo
mar 18, 2013During his first official visit on the island of Fogo, the minister of Culture, Mario Lucio, announced the creation of a museum devoted to the culture of coffee, in the city of Mosteiros.
Mosteiros is in deed the area with the biggest amount of coffee trees (with about a 100 producers) on Fogo, island with the highest peak of the archipelago (2829 metres).
The production of this Arabica type of coffee, introduced in the archipelago something like 2 centuries ago, remains small-scaled - about 50 tons per year, its reputation managed to cross the seas. Recently, a consortium composed of Dutch investors and Cape Verdean producers set up a program aiming at improving and increasing the production, with, in the short run, the objective to plan 200,000 new plants.
The museum should be unveiled to the public in August 2013.
Hydroponics in Cape Verde
mar 18, 2013The National School for Hydroponics harvested for the first time its greenhouses located in Praia, the capital of Cape Verde.
Except a few experiences in São Vicente and Sal, soilless agriculture remains marginal within the archipelago - that disposes of only 20% of arable land, and where the scarce water hinders the development of many areas.
With this first harvest since its creation, mid-2011, the ENHCV officialises the beginning of its activities. The lessons will be used as a platform to exchange information and tips regarding this first experience, along with trainers and professionals of the field. The School intends to finance itself by selling fruits and vegetables and by growing and producing species that remain unknown in the archipelago.
feb 1, 20131 019 992, that's the number of passengers who transited in 2012 through the 4 international airports of Cape Verde. Thanks to the multiplication of charter flights, it's the first time that the symbolic step of a million passengers has been reached - it increased of 13% since 2011.
The airport of Sal attracts the biggest number of passengers (39%), followed closely by Boa Vista (34%) and by Santiago/Praia (21%). The airport of São Vicente/Mindelo gathers only 4% of the passengers - probably at is was recently opened to the international traffic.
The only airline company connecting the islands between each other, the TACV, observed a fall of 6% in the national traffic - with a larger choice of international flights, the travellers directly reach the island of their choice.
A free country
jan 22, 2013Published each year since about 40 years, the ranking of the American NGO Freedom House draws up a state of the world from a political aspect, by giving a mark to each country according to their efforts to guaranty democracy, individual and collective liberties. The marks go from 1 (excellent) to 7 (very bad).
According to the 2013 ranking, Cape Verde achieved the best score, along with 48 other states, a characteristic of truly free countries. It's the only African country to get a 1 - although other countries in Africa were rated 2, which is still a sign of a free country.
Freedom House judges a country is free when the political competition is open, when collective and individual liberties are respected, when both civic life and media are independent.
A protected city
jan 22, 2013Enlisted as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2009, the city of Cidade Velha (also called Ribeira Grande) on the island of Santiago will benefit from new actions aiming at protecting its historic and authentic character.
Seen as the cradle of the Cape Verdean identity, as a platform for trade slavery, as a site of uppermost importance in intercontinental trade, the small city will be under the supervision of the UNESCO, which will make sure the site is protected and highlighted. From the Cape Verdean point of view, this is a powerful argument to develop cultural tourism, sill not attracting many tourists on the island of Santiago.
The management committee recommended some major changes, in order to develop the protection of the site: improve the access to the monuments and archeological sites (21 have been identified), improve the signage, include the local communities with the protection program and finally, transfer the pigsties that are still located in the protected zone (210 hectares + 2000 hectares of buffer zone).
This program is meant to continue the efforts already accomplished the 10 last years, such as the renovation of the major monuments of the town and of its surroundings. Archeological research is regularly undertaken and brings up new discoveries that help understand and write the history of the country.
The town is wonderful and is worth a visit. Why not take advantage of our hikes, for instance The Azure, The Off-beat or even The Rythm.
jan 9, 2013The archipelago is sometimes visited by the Harmattan, a dry wind coming from West Africa. Carrying dust, it considerably reduces - if not hinders - the visibility. When the Harmattan blows, many flights must be cancelled and sometimes, international airports must close - also, as to avoid damages in the plane engines, caused by the micro-particles of dust.
The Harmattan also disturbs the maritime traffic, and the authorities usually forbid crafts to set out to sea, unless they are equipped with radars.
The archipelago may experience that kind of windy episodes once or twice per year, from December to April - they usually last three to four days.
Agricultural festival in Santo Antão
jan 8, 2013A big agricultural fair took place on the 15th and 16th of January 2013 in the small town of Ponta do Sol, to the Northeast of the island of Santo Antão.
It was a lot of fun, and a great opportunity to discover everything that is produced on the island: fruits, vegetables, cattle, jams, cheeses, coffee, alcohol, handcraft...
aug 25, 2012Like every year since 1995, Mindelo hosts in September the annual theatre festival Mindelact.
For the 2013 edition, the festival offered plays and shows created by Cape Verdean and foreign companies: from Brazil, Angola, Spain, France, Portugal, Italy... From the 7th till the 15th of September, 40 cultural events were programmed: street theatre, shows for children, workshops...
During one week, Mindelo vibrated, as usual, to the rhythm of this cultural event - do not miss next edition!
Music festival in Santo Antão
aug 22, 2012Unless its sisters São Nicolau and Sal, the island of Santo Antão maintained the 2013 edition of its music festival: like every summer, it took place on the beach of Curraletes, a few kilometers away from Porto Novo.
From the 24th of 26th of August, this festival was a great opportunity to party Cape Verdean style in an authentic atmosphere.
A festival-less São Nicolau
aug 22, 2012The municipality of Tarrafal, in São Nicolau (let's be precise: there are many Tarrafals in Cape Verde), cancelled the 2013 edition of its yearly music festival, usually taking place on the Praia de Tedja. This followed the decision of another municipality on the island of Sal to cancel its famous festival of Santa Maria.
These decisions are based on economic difficulties and recent municipal elections, and come up after the public opinion was raising questions about the multiplication of these festivals, funded by public money.
The state of the ocean
aug 22, 2012The scientific magazine Nature recently published a study that can be seen as a review of the seas and oceans of the planet. Beside an analysis of marine ecosystems, the scientists created an index number to classify the well being of oceans, state by state.
More precisely, the ranking is to be understood as a combination of the maritime diversity and how a country manages its territorial seas.
We couldn't wait any second and went directly to check the chapter about Cape Verde. The country reaches the 64th position (the 3rd best in Africa) with rather disparate results, depending on the objectives:
- 62th position for water cleanliness (index: 75, world average: 78)
- 56th position for the state of the biodiversity (index: 86, world average: 83)
- 31th position for the management of fish stocks (index: 27, world average: 24)
Being a small country with a fragile economy, Cape Verde can't afford to start big-scale protection programs; the country gets passing grades or is not noted at all, when it comes to evaluating the protection of coastal environments, the support towards maritime economic activities, etc...