Hello my name is Susanne and I am the latest addition to the Archipelago Choice team. The year started well for me, as I had my first day in the office in Keswick and the following day flew to Sal on Cape Verde. Ian thought that it would be better for me to get a feel for the Cape Verde experience first, do some walking, visit hotels, sample the food, meet our colleagues and mix and mingle with the locals. Two weeks later, I can honestly say that I have fallen in love with the country. I am perhaps still in a state of Sodade (Longing) as so beautifully sung by Cesaria Evora.
My Cape Verde Experience
I wanted to do some island hopping and decided to visit Sal, Sao Vicente, Santo Antao, Santiago and Fogo as part of my Cape Verde experience. It’s hard to believe that these islands belong to the same country, as they’re all so different and diverse. Sal is arid and barren with lots of all-inclusive resorts; Sao Vincente has Mindelo and offers plenty of culture and music; Santo Antao has the best walking; Santiago is a softer version of the African continent, whilst Fogo has its’ Volcano. It’s hard to pinpoint which one I liked best.
The accommodation I stayed in was beyond expectation as well. From small casas that served the most amazing food (Kasa D’Igreja on Santo Antao), to sleeping in a casa that was re-built on lava (Casa Marisa on Fogo). If boutique and luxury is more your style, then Pousada de Vassora (Santiago) and Kira’s (on Sao Vicente), tick all the boxes. Whilst the Morabeza on Sal is probably the most established and well-known of all the hotels in the country.
The food too is absolutely amazing, especially if you love to eat fish. As a diver I have seen beautifully coloured parrot fish underwater, but I have never seen it on my plate before. The way it was prepared by Katja, the owner of Kasa d’Igreja (who used to be a chef in France), was out of this world. For starters I had manioc (a very popular root vegetable similar to cassava) chips with a home-made papaya chutney. The parrot fish meat was, white, firm and very succulent and came with a delicious white sauce, couscous and vegetables, whilst the dessert was a small chocolate cake with a chocolate fondant filling and on top of it home-made coconut ice cream. Restaurants too, serve fantastic meals, like the Zum Fishermann on Sal, where you can choose from a huge selection of fresh fish dishes and wash it away with some German beers. All for less than 15 euros.
And then of course there are the people. The locals who will always greet you with a smile and ‘Bom Dia’ (good morning), ‘Boa Tarde’ (good afternoon) or ‘Boa Noite’ (good evening). There is a real difference between the people in the north (Sal, Sao Nicolau, Boavista, Sao Vicente, Santo Antao and Santa Luzia) and the southern islands (Santiago, Maio, Fogo and Brava). Not only culturally, but also linguistically (they speak different Creole dialects in the north and south). The people on the northern islands are more European and have a closer connection with Portugal and the rest of the European continent; Santiago, the oldest island, is more like the African continent, whilst the people on Fogo and Brava have close connections with the USA.
Start your own Cape Verde Experience
I believe that it’s this mixture, this diversity, this melting pot, that makes Cape Verde so special and interesting. If reading this has inspired you, and you want to know more about the Cape Verde Holidays we organise, do ring us on Tel: 017687 75672 for a chat or have a look at our specialist Cape Verde site here: www.capeverdechoice.com.