Adventure, Africa, Beach and sun, Family

The Cape Verde islands stand just off the west coast of Africa, a little to the south of the Canaries. This volcanic group is a former colony of the Portuguese, and the distinctive cultural mix along with the glorious weather throughout the year make it a great holiday destination to get away from colder northern climes and soak up the sun. They’re a magnet for surfers, but there’s plenty else of great interest here.

The beaches are more than a match for anything in the Caribbean, and the island of Santiago oozes Portuguese charm, whilst Fogo is home to a live volcano and stunning natural beauties. December is the best time to visit Cape Verde as the daytime temperatures average 27 degrees Celsius and visitors can enjoy windsurfing, deep sea fishing and hiking in comfort.

Beaches in Cape Verde

The beaches here are as good as anything you’re likely to find in more familiar exotic locations such as the Caribbean, with the expected nodding palm trees and mile upon mile of white, fine sand slipping easily into the clear turquoise waters. Sal and Boa Vista are generally regarded as having the very finest beaches here and there are numerous water-sports to indulge in, along with fine dining at the local restaurants. Windsurfing is a particular favourite with visitors, and perfect surfing conditions are assured by the Atlantic trade winds that whip the water into a surfer’s paradise. The surf at Sal in particular is so good that it ranks in the top five of the world’s windsurfing destinations. Nearby Santa Maria is the place to head for after a day on the surf, for its lively cafes and bars and live music venues. November to June is the best time for the surf, so coming in December is just perfect timing.

Cape Verde nature trails

Cape Verde is a nature lover’s dream, with several of the islands provided with established trails through the tropical jungle. The volcanic island of Santo Antao, the second largest island in the Cape Verde archipelago, is also one of the most lush and fertile, and expert guides will take you deep into a primeval environment where you’ll half expect to see a dinosaur sunning itself around the next bend in the trail.

Check out capeverdeinfo.org.uk for more on nature trails worth trekking.

Big game fishing

Enthusiasts of the noble sport of big game fishing head for Sal, where just off the coast there are great numbers of wahoo, grouper, yellowfin tuna and albacore. Tiger Shark can be found further out, and wildlife photographers as well as hardcore big game fishermen will find challenge, excitement and great beauty in the waters surrounding these islands.

  • Check out marlincapeverde.com for more information on big game fishing.

Accommodation

There’s a wide range of places to stay on the Cape Verde islands, with smart hotels as well as family-run guesthouses and a choice of bungalows either close to the beaches or in a forest setting. Many are built around a central pool and offer a choice of suites, single rooms and more secluded honeymoon apartments. Couples as well as families are well provided for and all food is locally sourced from the sea and the surrounding forest.

For more hotel ideas in Cape Verde go to capeverde.co.uk