The Cape Verde Islands are the forgotten islands of the Atlantic if they were ever heard of at all. They are located about 500km to the west of Dakar, Senegal and are made up of 9 or so islands. The largest is Santiago, which has the capital Praia and is where I am staying. The islands are about as laid back as can be and have the highest standards of living for any country in West Africa. Formerly a Portuguese colony, they speak the language and have a lot of the traditions remaining. The island itself of Santiago is like the land before time. It has rugged rock formations seemingly jutting out of nowhere in the middle of anywhere. It’s very cool to drive around, which is what I did today.
Starting out from Praia and heading north toward the best beach on the island, my very polite Cape Verdian driver sped up the highway and showed the small little towns in excruciating detail along the way. He finally got the hint that I didn’t need every little detail, especially in Portuguese, when I fell asleep as I tend to do on long car rides. Finally, after nearly two hours, we arrived at Tarrafal Beach.
The beach was a semi-circle that had some sort of white sand and was surrounded by cliffs and mountains, it was really very cool. The sun was extremely strong and I baked for a while and then joined some local kids playing soccer and then watched as they showed off their pristine flipping skills straight into the sand. It was really funny to watch and they loved having their pictures taken and then being shown them on the digital camera.
After the beach, I just headed home through the center of the island to see the interior, I literally must’ve seen every single town on the island. After arriving back in Praia, I needed a haircut so for two bucks I got a cut from this local guy who had the Cristiano Ronaldo fro-hawk, so I was a little nervous but my hair is pretty easy to cut and he did a fine job.
Life is that simple and easy here in Cape Verde; sleep, eat, drink, beach and relax. There’s no reason to really do anything else and the people are as friendly and as kind as you could ever want. I will be sad to leave on my early morning flight to the Gambia but I highly recommend the Cape Verde Islands.