Surrounded by the open ocean, Cape Verde is a group of ten islands and five islets, found off the west coast of Senegal (North Africa). Only recently opened to tourism some of the Cape Verde adventure travel on offer is rather remote, other outdoor activities in Cape Verde keep you closer to its few cities and population centres. One thing that stands out is how quick it is to get awa... +Surrounded by the open ocean, Cape Verde is a group of ten islands and five islets, found off the west coast of Senegal (North Africa). Only recently opened to tourism some of the Cape Verde adventure travel on offer is rather remote, other outdoor activities in Cape Verde keep you closer to its few cities and population centres.
One thing that stands out is how quick it is to get away from the hustle and bustle of the common tourist hotspots, and be the first of your friends to explore the natural scenery, environment and culture. Despite increasing popularity, there's still an adventure playground out there that needs discovering.
Across the islands Cape Verde adventure travel routes will have you traversing dramatic, rough terrain - these are volcanic islands. Strangely though, Cape Verde's nearly 4000sq km of terrain differs between islands. The southern Sotavento islands (meaning leeward wind) are composed of three volcanic islands named Brava, Fogo and Santiago which hold the highest population densities and Maio to the east, which is a flat desert island.
The northern Barlavento islands (meaning windward) are made up of the flat desert islands Sal and Boa Vista to the east, and to the west the rocky and volcanic Santo Antao, Sao Vicente, Sao Nicolau, Santa Luzia islands and Branco and Raso islets.
Praia is the capital of these explosive islands, and houses a population of over 100,000, more than a fifth of Cape Verde's population of almost 500,000.
Mt Fogo is the country's only genuinely active volcano; of the outdoor activities in Cape Verde the highest peak to climb is this one at 2829m. Previous eruptions still scar the sides of this volcano.
Visiting Cape Verde adventure travel lovers will enjoy a cooler climate than other North African countries. This is because of the currents which run past, and the constant North Atlantic Trade Winds which kick up reliable conditions for activities like windsurfing; however winter brings gusty winds.
Don’t let this put you off, as average temperatures are still in the mid 20’s(C) in the winter, and reach late 20’s during the summer months of July through to October.
Average sea temperatures are generally warm, being only a few degrees lower than the average air temperatures, perfect for watersports fanatics who want to hit the first waves of the day, right through to the last at sunset.
There is very little rain-fall on these islands, with irregular but heavy downpours from August through October, meaning they can be described as having a semi-desert climate. This also means that the islands don’t have a very apt name, with ‘verde’ being a Spanish word for the colour green, and only a limited amount of vegetation surviving in these conditions.
Start your Cape Verde adventure travel journey on the tourist hotspot Sal, where you are guaranteed great wind and waves for your watersports; be it surfing, kitesurfing, windsurfing or sailing there are perfect conditions from novice through to expert to be found in the various beaches on this island, making it a great place to start your trip and get in a good dose of watersports.
There are outdoor activities in Cape Verde for swimmers as well as mountain climbers: Scuba dive and watch humpback whales with their young, and check out the tropical fish and the island's coral reefs.
Take a quick trip across the water to Mindelo, on the island Sao Vicente to take in a bit of culture. This town is Cape Verde’s Riviera, with cobblestone streets and colonial buildings, spend an evening walking down the harbour and watch its bobbing yachts, then grab some fine sea-food before heading for a night on the town with a latin feel. If you are here at the right time of year, check out the Mardi Gras carnival for some flamboyant culture from Cape Verde’s African and Portuguese heritage.
From here, head to the Sotavento islands, checking out Praia, the capital of Cape Verde on Santiago, housing about a fifth of the island chain's population. Here you will really get a feel for the local culture. Island-hop onto Fogo, where you will come across Cape Verde’s only active volcano. Climb this and check out the views from its 2829m peak, before heading back to Sal for the plane home.
For something a bit different and drier on this watersports paradise, how about giving mountainbiking a try? There are around 1,350km of roads across the islands, and only about two thirds of these are paved, so there are plenty of beautiful ocean views to take in at sunset, and plenty of dirt tracks and tougher terrain to try out for the more experienced mountain biker. Or how about trying a bit of all the outdoor activities in Cape Verde with a multi-activity trip? -