About 500km off the coast of West Africa is a scattering of islands that together comprise a fascinating nation. Cape Verde is a challenging place. But if you appreciate the sea, outstanding mountain landscapes with great hiking, and a convivial people with the time to strike up a mournful tune over a glass of thick red wine, then these barren lands pounded by a frothing white ocean are for you.
The dozen or so islands that make up this former Portuguese colony have become a popular destination for package holidays over the past few years, being under six hours by charter flight from the UK. Indeed, they are easily accessible for anyone in search of winter sun. But beyond the beach hotels, Cape Verde is fascinating in terms of both culture and scenery.
Volcanic islands at various stages of erosion, they range from more than 2,800m high to as low as 390m, and this translates into extremes of the landscape between the islands – from brooding volcano to flat desert, and from verdant, mist-strewn mountains to panoramic white and abandoned beaches.