Show Trip | TQV

Undiscovered Trails of Cape Verde

Explore Cape Verde's stunning fertile valleys, mountains and incredible scenery.

Trip CodeTQV
Duration10 Days
ActivityWalking & Trekking
Group Size5-16
Minimum Age18
Moderate
Moderate
Prices (excl. flights & transfers) from

R37,359

To book   call us on 074 340 4587 or email info@earthwanderer.co.za

Explore Cape Verde's stunning fertile valleys, mountains and incredible scenery.

The Cape Verde Islands never fail to delight the senses and this exciting itinerary will allow us to experience the dramatic variety of landscapes to be found here. Predominantly on foot, we will explore the very best of these islands, starting with Santiago to discover the history of the Cape Verde Islands. We continue with Sao Vincente and Santo Antao to enjoy the breath-taking scenery; from fertile valleys and mountain ranges to salt pans and long stretches of coastline as well as the peculiar rock formations and microclimates which are characteristic of this region. 

Highlights

• Explore the old town of Cidade Velha, a UNESCO World Heritage site • Stroll in amongst the many plantations, including bananas, papayas, mangoes and sugarcane • Hike the stunning ribeiras of Santo Antão, and meet the locals • Visit fairytale-like villages such as Fontainhas • See São Vicente and vibrant Mindelo, the cultural capital

Key Information

• 5 days walking (5-6 hours), and 1 shorter day walk • Altitude maximum 1100m, average 700m • 6 nights hotels with ensuite facilities, 3 nights pensions with shared facilities • All breakfasts, 6 lunches/lunch boxes and 6 dinners included

What's Included

  • All breakfasts, 6 lunches and 6 dinners
  • All accommodation
  • All transport and listed activities
  • Tour leader throughout
  • Flights from London (if booking incl. flights)

What's Not Included

  • Travel insurance
  • Single accommodation (available on request)
  • Visas or vaccinations

Day 1

Start trip in Praia, Santiago

We begin our trip in  Praia,  Santiago - the capital city and the largest of the island nation. Upon arrival in Praia those on group flights will be met and transferred to the accommodation in Praia. Flight schedules can change throughout the year so the arrival time may vary from early afternoon to late evening. The day is free but if the group flight arrives early enough the leader will organise a briefing later this afternoon. If the flight arrives too late the briefing will take place tomorrow.
  • Hotel Oasis Atlantico Praiamar or similar

Day 2

Visit of Cidade Velha, Flight to São Vicente 

This morning we will transfer to the start point of our short hike through the fertile valley where we will have the opportunity to visit Cidade Velha, UNESCO World Heritage Site, where everything started for the Cape Verdians. The first settlement from the Portuguese was established here and it was the centre of the slave trade. In the afternoon we will take our flight to Mindelo, São Vicente. After checking in we will have a welcome dinner with live music in Mindelo. 
  • Hotel Porto Grande or similar

Meals included: breakfast,lunch,dinner

Distance travelled: 3km

Activity hours: 2 hours

Altitude loss: 120m

Day 3

Ferry to Santo Antão, hike to Caibros

In the morning we transfer to the harbour and enjoy the scenic ferry ride to São Vicente's neighbour island, Santo Antão (Approx 45-60 minute ferry crossing). Upon arrival, we transfer to the plateau of the island Espongeiros with time to take photos of the dramatic scenery along the way as we descend to our hiking start point of Caibros. From the ferry, our luggage will be transferred to our accommodation leaving us free to start trekking from the centre of the island following a descent down a steep valley and crossing to the other side of the island. This walk begins on even terrain but continues with a steep descent on rocky terrain, for around 3 hours, but the trail is wide with small walls for security. As you descend, you pass from the vegetated highlands through barren hillsides to the fertile valley. 
  • Pension Zeca or similar

Meals included: breakfast,lunch,dinner

Distance travelled: 6km

Activity hours: 4-5 hours

Altitude gain: 100m

Altitude loss: 1100m

Day 4

Hike through the valley of the Ribeira Grande 

After breakfast we will walk along the fertile valley of the Ribeira Grande and its lateral valleys, passing through Horta de Garça to Chã d'Igreja. The path climbs for an hour offering outstanding views of the valley, we arrive at the top of a pass and from here the valley can be seen on one side, and the Atlantic on the other. We then descend for an hour and stop for a drink at a family-run cafe. According to the season, the river becomes either a torrential river or a leisurely stream and alongside them with a bountiful amount of vegetation growing here. You will experience the local life at the riverside before arriving in Chã d'Igreja, a charming village situated on a picturesque canyon right in front of the Atlantic. 
  • Pension Casa Mite or similar

Meals included: breakfast,lunch,dinner

Distance travelled: 6km

Activity hours: 5 hours

Altitude gain: 650m

Altitude loss: 900m

Day 5

Move along the coast to Ponta do Sol

After breakfast you will start your hike, this being one of the most popular hikes on Santo Antão. It is no surprise, as the views are absolutely stunning having the ocean on your left, and the mountains on the right as you walk through tiny villages including, among others the famous Fontainhas. Part of today's walk is along a steep series of switch backs with the stations of the cross marked in stone reliefs, along the way. The colourful fairytale-like village of Fontainhas with intricate terracing is perched on very steep cliffs, and has a beautiful view of the surrounding area.
  • Hotel Tiduca or similar

Meals included: breakfast,lunch

Distance travelled: 18km

Activity hours: 5-6 hours

Altitude gain: 700m

Altitude loss: 700m

Day 6

The greenest valley of all... Paúl 

After breakfast we transfer (approx. 1 hour) to the Paúl Valley, the greenest valley of Cape Verde. The Paúl Valley is surrounded by towering steep rocks and by a bay of coconut palms. Following ancient mule tracks, we will walk along the stunning tropic vegetation consisting of sugar cane, mango and dragon trees and visit a grogue distillery. Our walk will bring us to the village of Sinagoga, we will visit the original site of the synagogue built by a small Jewish settlement who arrived on the island in the mid 1800s. In the afternoon, we transfer back to Ponta do Sol and enjoy dinner at a cosy restaurant. 
  • Hotel Tiduca or similar

Meals included: breakfast,lunch,dinner

Distance travelled: 10km

Activity hours: 4-5 hours

Altitude gain: 700m

Altitude loss: 300m

Day 7

Cha de Morte to Alto Mira

After a late breakfast, we will be transported to Cha de Morte (2 hour drive), from here we begin the hike up to Alto Mira. We will explore the lesser known northwest part of Santo Antão, remote and relatively untouched by tourists. This hike is very impressive because of the peculiar rock formations and the unique microclimate which is ubiquitous in Santo Antão. The trail is very steep as we ascend for the last hour of the walk. 
  • Casa Amadeu or similar

Meals included: breakfast,lunch,dinner

Distance travelled: 6km

Activity hours: 3-4 hours

Altitude gain: 550m

Altitude loss: 400m

Day 8

Ferry back to Mindelo, city tour and guitar workshop

After breakfast we head to the port to catch a ferry back to Mindelo on the island of Sao Vincente. Later we enjoy a city tour throughout the secret cultural capital of the country. If you have not experienced Mindelense music, you have not been to Mindelo at all! We will visit a local manufacturer, this is the best way to listen to these fine artists and after learning how guitars are made, we will enjoy an impromptu musical performance from the masters.
  • Hotel Porto Grande or similar

Meals included: breakfast,lunch

Day 9

São Vicente Island Tour 

After several days of hiking, we will explore the island today by bus. Amongst others we will drive to the oasis of Calhau, walking a little on the Sahara sand dunes of Praia Grande and visit the villages of Baia das Gatas and Salamansa. Afterwards, we will drive up to the highest point of the island, the Monte Verde, where we will have an amazing view of the islands as well as the islands of Santo Antão, São Nicolau and Santa Luzia. The rest of the afternoon is free for exploring the city, relaxing on the city beach of Laginha, or sitting by the pool. In the evening we will enjoy a farewell dinner. 
  • Hotel Porto Grande or similar

Meals included: breakfast,lunch

Activity hours: 2 hours

Day 10

Adeus Cabo Verde

After breakfast, transfer to the airport and check-in for the international departure from
  •  
  • São Vicente.

Meals included: breakfast

Trip for You

Activity level 3 (Moderate):
Please note that during some parts of the year (July-October) heat and humidity may make this trip more challenging. This trip is suitable for those with some level of fitness and a spirit of adventure. Some previous trekking experience is desirable but not vital as long as you are confident of your physical condition. Some of the areas we visit are quite remote and will have basic facilities. The walks are on uneven rocky terrain and may be slippery underfoot along with some steep sections so you need to be comfortable with this. There are also several sections of steep descent and ascent so walking poles are highly recommended. None of the trekking days are very long or strenuous, and the temperatures should be comfortable. While we are confident in the general quality of the vehicles used, due to the lack of local legislation in relation to seatbelt provision, we are cannot guarantee to provide transport with seatbelts fitted.

Eating & Drinking

All breakfasts, 6 lunches/lunchboxes and 6 dinners included. The food in the Cape Verde islands is generally of a good quality, particularly so by the coast where the seafood is excellent. The food of the islands is very much a reflection of its history and geography –  a fusion of South American and African ingredients influenced by the Portuguese history, as well as Southern and Western Europe. Expect a variety of soups and grilled meat/seafood as well as plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables owing to the fertile climate. Cachupa Rica is Cape Verde's national dish, a stew made with corn, beans, fish or meat and vegetables and usually served with rice. Even though the hygienic conditions on Cape Verde have improved considerably over recent years, along with stricter water testing, stomach bugs can occur. As a preventative measure, you should abstain from eating fruit that has not been peeled, bring purifying drinking tap water with tablets and/or portable water filters. Please bring a reusable water bottle as water will be provided throughout the trip, but you must provide your own water bottle. 

Transportation

Travel is mainly by small private bus. Most of this trip is on well-surfaced roads with occasional poor and bumpy sections. There is one internal flight from Santiago to Sao Vincente. Additionally, we take one ferry trip from São Vicente – Santo Antão – São Vicente.  

Joining Instructions

Travelling flight inclusive: 11 days from London
The group flight from London is a day flight, departing and arriving on  Day 1 of the itinerary. Flights will arrive in Santiago and depart from São Vicente, and you will be met by a representative at the airport upon arrival. We normally use the scheduled services of TAP Air Portugal (depending on availability). As flight timings and schedules change regularly we recommend you call one of our specialist sales staff or your agent to confirm up‐to‐date timings. Please note timings may change at a later date and cannot be confirmed until approximately two weeks before departure. Internal flights during the trip are normally with BINTER.
Travelling land only: 11 days starting in Santiago and ending in São Vicente
Your trip normally starts at our accommodation in Praia, Santiago in the evening of Day 1 of the itinerary. Details of how to reach the start point are provided in the Final Joining Instructions ‐ sent approximately two weeks before departure.

Transfer Details

Airport transfers are included for those on the group flights. Please note that transfers are not included for clients arriving on any other flight, even if Exodus has booked it. If you have arranged your own flights, you can easily reach the start hotel with a taxi from the airport. The distance is only approximately 6km and should take 15-20 minutes. If you require airport transfers, you may (by prior arrangement only) be able to join the group transfer. Transfers are arranged to coincide with the arrival time of the group flight - please check the group flight details 2 weeks before departure. If you do not take this transfer, or miss it, you must make your own way to the joining point at your own expense.

Weather Info

Its location in this part of the Atlantic Ocean gives the Cape Verde region warm weather all year round and there’s rarely a day when the sun isn’t shining. The average temperature ranges from 24°C to 30°C with slightly less sunshine in the summer because it falls within wet season. The best time to visit Cape Verde for trekking is outside of the wet season, which is spread over the months of August and September. Autumn and spring are dry with very little rainfall, making them the best time to go to Cape Verde for sunny and dry weather. If you are looking for the slightly cooler months, arrive in December or January for the coolest weather of the year.  

Essential Equipment

Your main luggage will be transported for you throughout the trip leaving you to simply trek with a day pack.   Lightweight clothing, to include at least one pair of long trousers and a long‐sleeved shirt (for protection against biting insects and scratchy plants) A warm sweater or fleece jacket (as nights can be chilly occasionally) Walking boots or training shoes with good tread Rain jacket (all year round) Thick socks for hiking Sunscreen Sunhat Sunglasses Water bottle Mosquito repellent Walking poles are very useful as the terrain is steep on most of the walk At the time of writing the standard weight limit for hold baggage on the recommended international carrier for this trip is 23kg. We recommend packing only one piece of checked baggage. Internal flights in the destination country are subject to a weight limit of 20kg. As advice about luggage allowances for both hand and hold luggage is subject to change, we suggest you check the airline's website for the latest information prior to your departure. We believe in reducing our negative environmental impacts wherever possible, this goes for when you need to spend a penny in the great outdoors! If no facilities are available there may come a time when you need to go to the loo behind a tree/bush/rock. To avoid leaving toilet paper behind we recommend taking biodegradable dog poo/sandwich bags with you. Once you have done your business you can pop the used toilet roll in here and take it off the mountain or trail at the end of the day and dispose of it when there are appropriate facilities available.

Optional Equipment

Binoculars Camera Swimwear Mosquito nets are not provided everywhere so you may wish to bring your own Earplugs if you have trouble sleeping Some clients might find walking poles useful.

Spending Money

We advise you to bring your spending money in £, Euros or US$ cash as these are easiest to change to local currency.  You are not advised to bring local currency into or out of the country.

Tipping

Our local staff are paid well and fairly for their work with Exodus. You may feel that your leader has performed well over the course of your time in Cape Verde and want to show your appreciation of their services. If you would like to tip your leader, we suggest a figure of approximately €35 per person. It is also courtesy to tip any extra guides/ drivers you may have over the course of the trip, to simplify this process, your tour leader will collect €35 per person towards a tipping kitty to cover all extra guides, drivers, hotel staff and others who may provide the group with services during the trip.  

(Please note, visa information cannot be guaranteed and should be checked with the relevant country's embassy prior to departure.)

Hotels and family-run guest houses

You will spend 6 nights in hotels, and 3 nights in family-run pensions. Please note that the 3 nights at the pensions have shared facilities.  All hotels are comfortable and all rooms have a verandah or balcony. There is a swimming pool at all hotels. The pensions are simple with basic rooms but bed linen and towels are provided. For groups of 8 or more, clients may be accomodated at 2 seperate pensions.  Please note that although all of the hotels are said to have a reliable electricity and water supply there may be instances in which you experience some gaps in supply - this is more a reflection of life in Cape Verde than the standard of the hotel. WiFi is available at the hotels but not in the pensions. 


Fabulous trip with stunning scenery

The walking was quite tough as there were long periods of continual steep ascent or descent but it was worth it for the views and remoteness of some of the locations. The heat was relentless without much shade so you need to be prepared for this and take a lot of water.
  What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?
There were many highlights.
  What did you think of your group leader?
Nicolin was excellent. He is passionate about his country and made sure we all fell in love with it. He was well organised, interesting, calm and very caring.
  Do you have any advice for potential travellers?
The grade may be underestimated so you need to be fit and able to stand the heat.

Undiscovered Trails of Cape Verde

The trip was different from what I was expecting but very enjoyable at the same time. Some of the trails were difficult for me especially when going down steep slopes and I was not the only one who felt it should have been graded 4 not 3. As I am interested in geology I found the island of Santo Antao particularly interesting with the frequent evidence of its volcanic past. Also the local guide was passionate about 'his Island' and very informative. One problem which could have been avoided was that when we were at Cha de Morte (I think that it was the name) we were kept awake all night from 9pm to 7am with extremely loud broadcast 'music' as it was their annual 'festival' just that night. To sum up I am glad I went!
  What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?
1. The exciting ferry crossing to Santo Antao (the sea was quite rough), and 2. the coastal walk on Day 5 to Ponta do Sol. The cliffs are geologically extremely interesting. Although the walk is very hilly there is a decent coastal path the whole way so the slopes did not bother me at all.
  What did you think of your group leader?
A very friendly helpful person.
  Do you have any advice for potential travellers?
To note that many of the paths require a good balance going down and the later suggestion by Exodus of bringing walking poles was necessary for those not so agile.
  Is there anything else you would like to add?
The Island are anything but 'green' as the name may suggest. It never rains but relies on moisture from clouds on the higher points similar to Madeira and the other Atlantic Islands.

Undiscovered Trails of Cape Verde

A good combination of walking and culture. Spectacular mountain scenery.
  What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?
Probably the walk from Cha de Morte to Alto Mira was my favourite, but all walks were very good. Also enjoyed the visit to the guitar maker, plus the musical recital.
  What did you think of your group leader?
Alveno was very enthusiastic and obviously enjoyed his job. Very aware of the environmental issues, as you would expect.
  Do you have any advice for potential travellers?
Be prepared for a strenuous walk in very hot weather.
  Is there anything else you would like to add?
The live music during meals could be intrusive and make conversation difficult.

Capo Verde Discovered

Until this Exodus trip appeared, I did not know where Cabo Verde was. We took a chance to go to a country emerging from the 3rd world, and I'm glad we did. Great hikes, interesting vistas, great guides.
  What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?
I was inspired by the people of Cabo Verde. They have struggled from poverty at independence in 1975, out in the Atlantic, without rain and with only the sun and seas around them, to build a liberal democratic country. The people are kind and seem to treat others with respect.
  What did you think of your group leader?
Alveno was great. He made all the arrangements work like 'clockwork'. He always made sure we had lots of Exodus-provided bottled water to drink. He also arranged for and joined us for meals outside of the Exodus programme. On each of the 3 islands, we were joined by a local island guide who led the hikes and walks around the sites. Alveno and local guides acted in tandem providing information and answering our questions.
  Do you have any advice for potential travellers?
In January 2019 Cabo Verde changed entry requirements and taxes. Members of EU-like countries do not need a visa, but pay CVE 3400 (currently euro 31) Airport Security Tax (TSA) on entry. In addition to the TSA, other non-Cabo Verde and non-EU-like nationals must also get a visa for euro 25. Many people who require a visa get one from their local embassy or consulate before arrival at the airport, but Canada has neither. There are 3 lines at Praia airport: International, one for nationals and Visa. We were directed by immigration staff to International, which was wrong, and then went to near the end of the Visa line. We were at least 30 minutes later than everybody else getting through. This was not because there was a problem with our entry but because, while we were getting processed, the rest of the staff appeared to be trying to balance and close up with the head who was on the Visa booth. The group leader along with the other Exodus travelers waited for us. Then the group leader sent us to currency exchange at the airport to buy CVE for the trip.
  Is there anything else you would like to add?
(1) This was the second time this trip was offered, the first time being in March. The group flight arrived at ~11PM for both trips, so there was no walk around Praia on day 1 as the trip notes state, which we knew. However, the group didn't know that there were lots of other trip note errors, and these errors helped create some less than pleasant discussions. Unexpected changes, e.g. from a ferry cancellation, are understandable. Exodus should correct the trip notes to reflect the trip that the local company is providing. (2) This trip is rated as moderate. Having done easy-moderate, moderate and more than moderate Exodus trips, I think moderate is the correct assessment. Poles are useful on some sections of some walks; boots are required most days. People can become sore or sick and miss a day or more (I have had both in past Exodus trips). But please don't expect guides and the rest of the group to cater to people who don't want to hike on a hiking trip.

Undiscovered trails of Cape Verde

This was a good opportunity to visit the lesser known islands of Cape Verde. Go prepared for hard walks in high temperatures and an open mind.
  What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?
The walk in the Paul Valley was a nice change from the very dry and desolate landscape of the other walks but the best part was completing the coastal walk and arriving at a very nice hotel!
  What did you think of your group leader?
This was our tour leaders first time running the tour. He was a very nice person but did get a bit stressed when it was pointed out that our itinerary was different to the one that he had been provided with. This was not his fault and there were several discrepancies despite the trip notes being recently updated. He was very proud of his country and very involved in social projects. All in all, he did a good job and was always on time and very cheerful.
  Do you have any advice for potential travellers?
Make sure that you are fit before you go. The walks are harder than described and these are made harder by the heat. The second walk was very difficult and may have been better if it had been done later in the tour so that you would be used to the walks. There is also an extra walk on the day that you would go to the farmers market. This is quite a long walk and does not really have any highlights to speak of. Poles are useful as there are lots of ascents and descents. Also wear decent boots with good grip as it is often quite slippery underfoot. Once you get used to the conditions, the walks become easier and you are able to take in the scenery. It hasn’t rained in the areas walked for 2 years so I wouldn’t bother with wet weather gear. Also the temperature was always warm, so a fleece or jumper was not needed.
  Is there anything else you would like to add?
The food provided is of a good standard and there is plenty of it. Lunches are generally sandwiches or a pasta/rice salad. Water is provided but make sure that you have enough water bottles to last the length of the walk as it is not always possible to get more on the walk.

Interesting and varied walking

Walking a new area in warm weather looked interesting – and it was. The first walk: a short steep descent followed by an interesting green valley to the coast, was a gentle introduction. The next, on Santo Antao, was hard work, culminating in a very long descent. Might have been better later in the trip when we were a bit more used to the terrain. Good paths in general, lots of cobbled paths plus a bit of loose stuff. Great scenery, rock formations, mountain and coastal views, assorted cultivation, even a couple of monkeys. Knowledgeable and considerate local guides.
  What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?
Volcanic mountain scenery.
  What did you think of your group leader?
Very good, proud of her country. Lots of information, good time keeping.
  Do you have any advice for potential travellers?
Be hill fit – Lakes, Dales, etc. Walking pole(s) useful for descents.
  Is there anything else you would like to add?
Simple graphical representation of each walk profile in the trip notes would have been useful.

Harder than expected walks

Although the trip notes said this was a cat 3 some of the treks especially the first day on Santo Antao were a bit harder but that di not detract from a fantastic holiday in a wonderful country. A mixed group ranging from 80's to 40's but all got on well. The guides were great.
  What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?
Walking the cliff path to Ponta do Sol, especially the "Stations of the cross" section.
  What did you think of your group leader?
She was very good, possibly a bit shrill, partly I think because thefe as an Exodus rep reviewing the trip. Like most leaders tended to treat everyone as if they were children. All in all I was very happy with her.
  Do you have any advice for potential travellers?
Be prepared for some hard walking and some rustic accomodation. Go with an open mind and you will not be disapointed.
  Is there anything else you would like to add?
no

Harder than expected walks

Although the trip notes said this was a cat 3 some of the treks especially the first day on Santo Antao were a bit harder but that di not detract from a fantastic holiday in a wonderful country. A mixed group ranging from 80's to 40's but all got on well. The guides were great.
  What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?
Walking the cliff path to Ponta do Sol, especially the "Stations of the cross" section.
  What did you think of your group leader?
She was very good, possibly a bit shrill, partly I think because thefe as an Exodus rep reviewing the trip. Like most leaders tended to treat everyone as if they were children. All in all I was very happy with her.
  Do you have any advice for potential travellers?
Be prepared for some hard walking and some rustic accomodation. Go with an open mind and you will not be disapointed.
  Is there anything else you would like to add?
no

New Trip

Wanted to visit Cape Verde for some time so jumped at the chance of this new trip. I very much enjoyed experiencing the islands but found the hiking challenging. This is graded "3 moderate" but almost everybody thought this was a misrepresentation. The tracks are all hard, mostly cobbled, paths so don't expect any soft grass! The gradients are pretty severe and coupled with the heat (quite a bit hotter than estimated in trip notes) the hikes weren't easy. I was not really fit enough for this trip and others who do more walking found it easier going. It is not suitable for anybody with knee problems.
  What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?
Staying in remote mountain village pensions
  Do you have any advice for potential travellers?
Do go but make sure you are hill walking fit and take poles if you use them as many of the descents can be quite slippery with loose sand/stones. Changing money is expensive so aim to do it once - between 150 - 200 euros depending on how many drinks/souvenirs you like to buy. Beer = 1.30; glass of wine 3.0; fruit juice 1.50 approx.
Sun 03 Oct 2021 to Tue 12 Oct 2021

Available

R 37,359

(Optional Single Supplement +R4,200)
Sun 19 Dec 2021 to Tue 28 Dec 2021

Available

R 38,829

(Optional Single Supplement +R4,200)