Known as Cape Verde from independence in 1975 until 2013, when it reverted to its native name. More natives live abroad than in the country. Although one of the healthiest countries with one of the highest life expectancies in Africa, geographically speaking, the islands are not part of the African continent. They lie over 200 miles beyond the African continental shelf. One of the islands that make up the country, Boa Vista, was once used as an affluent leper colony in the 1400s. That is, rich people with leprosy were sent there, instead of to a working class leper colony. I believe their motto was, ‘A Beautiful Place to Have Leprosy’, which some argued was a paradoxical statement. And there is one goat for every two people on the islands. Yes, we’re in the jewel of Africa, Cabo Verde.
The Republic of Cabo Verde is a country spanning an archipelago of 10 volcanic islands in the central Atlantic Ocean, 350 miles off the coast of Western Africa. The total area is around 1,500 square miles with a population of just over 512,000. The country’s name comes from a nearby Senegalese peninsula named Cap-Vert, originally Cabo Verde, discovered by Portuguese explorers in 1444, the name being Portuguese for ‘Green Cape’. The 10 stars on the flag represent the 10 islands, with the blue representing the ocean and the sky. The band of white and red represent the road toward the construction of the nation, with the colours of white and red representing peace and effort respectively. The country’s motto is ‘Unidade, Luta, Progresso’ or ‘Unity, Work, Progress’.
There is a vibrant Creole culture here, which was created by the mix of African and Portuguese cultures. Music and dance is highly important to the people, and songs of hardship, love and life in paradise are heard throughout the day and night across the islands, in huge gatherings of people. They are sociable, happy and friendly. The country has produced a large amount of poets and authors. It’s also a hotspot for wave sailing and kiteboarding, and football and church activities are a popular source of social interaction and entertainment. Despite a lack of natural resources, the country is internationally recognised for its economic growth and improvements in living conditions, and it has won many accolades for this. It’s your typical African culture, capable of putting a huge smile on your face at the drop of a hat. Where Cabo Verde excels, is within.
The wild and rugged landscapes are a widdendream of awesome delight, such as the extraterrestrial beach of Praia Grande and the domineering Monte Verde looming large in the background. Great wildlife can be found on the island of São Vincente, the feuillemort planes broken up with Brobdingnagian Martian mountains and the cyaneous ocean. The relaxing embrace of the Pedra Lume Salt Crater on the island of Sal. The rustic ruins of the world’s first Colonial Cathedral on the island of Santiago, a shame it’s ruined but still quite stunning. And Pico Do Fogo. Many regard it as the best sight of the country. I don’t. But it’s still a bloody impressive volcano, and indeed, does leave you somewhat lost for words.
The best sight of Cabo Verde, for me, is Cova Krater. It’s staggeringly beautiful. It’s like a painting, such grace is hard to fathom as being real. It is an incicurable landscape, a gallimaufry of unearthly joy. Its beatifical nature creates a suavité unlike no other.
Cabo Verde. The country of empyrean vistas, vibrancy and many goats.
Images: 1) The flag of Cabo Verde (credit: wikimedia.org), 2) Cova Krater (credit: tripadvisor.com), 3) Cova Krater (credit: tripadvisor.com)
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