Cape Verde is an island country in the Atlantic, about 500 km off the coast of West-African Senegal. As a country it is relatively young, having gained independence from Portugal only in 1975. It consists of 6 windward islands ((Santo Antão, São Vicente, Santa Luzia, São Nicolau, Sal, and Boa Vista) and 4 leeward islands (Maio, Santiago, Fogo, and Brava), all of volcanic origin and relatively arid with rainfall (if any) only from August until October. It’s greenest between september and january. Santiago is the largest Island, Mt Pico (2829 m) on Fogo Island is an active volcano and Cape Verde's highest peak. Not all islands are equally mountainous, and some are outright deserts.
The island group can be compared with the Canarian Islands, also dry and volcanic, but they are smaller, more the size of the Azores.
Most popular for hiking are the islands of Santiago, Fogo, Santo Antão, São Nicolau and São Vicente. Landscape, fishing villages, tropical vegetation combined with bizarre rock formations, it all adds to an exotic walking experience. Moreover, tourism has brought facilities, also inland, and cheap package holidays bring the islands within reach for everyone. Trails are sometimes marked, and it is possible to hire a guide locally. Hiking maps and trail descriptions are available.
- Santo Antão, 779 km2, 47.000 inhabitants, mountainous, exotic, walkers paradise
- Boa Vista, 620 km2, 5.000 inhabitants, flat semi-desert inland for the adventurous hiker
- São Nicolau, 338 km2, 13.000 inhabitants, marked trails around exotic Monte Gordo
- São Vicente, 227 km2, 83.000 inhabitants, dry and eroded
- Sal, 216 km2, 25.000 inhabitants, semi-desert and unique salt ponds
- São Tiago, Santiago, 991 km2, 290.000 inhabitants, mountainous and green interior, good for hiking
- Fogo, 476 km2, 39.000 inhabitants, climb the active volcano and enjoy the local coffee and wine
- Maio, 269 km2, 8.000 inhabitants, flat and dry but pretty, and good for hiking
- Brava, 67 km2, 6.000 inhabitants, green, rugged interior, and undiscovered by mass tourism