With 10 individual and enchanting islands to discover, Cape Verde is the hidden gem of bucket list sailing destinations.
Jutting up from the Atlantic, some 500km west of the coast of Africa, this tropical archipelago has a charming blend of volcanic mountains, sandy beaches and peaceful seaside villages.
Situated on the North East trade wind belt gives Cape Verde a constant breeze – perfect for a good sailing holiday. Schooner Oosterschelde frequents these islands most winters and the usual force 4-7 wind speeds means she can effortlessly island-hop under full sail, making a new location most days. The distance between the islands paired these great wind conditions make sailing in Cape Verde the perfect destination for those seeking a sailing holiday discovering anchorages off the beaten track, away from the tourist hustle and bustle.
Exploring this chain of islands by boat is the easiest and best way to experience everything that Cape Verde has to offer. Known locally as Cabo Verde, (the “Green Cape”) the islands are famous for their warm tropical climate, floral landscapes, wonderful musicians and delicious cuisine. Each island varies wonderfully in its offerings to visitors with São Vicente home to the cultural capital of the islands while Mindelo throbs with bars and local music clubs.
On the island of Santo Antão, mountain peaks hide green valleys of native flowers and sugar cane, perfect for hikes with stunning views. On Sal and Maio, windswept dunes merge with azure seas washing into unspoilt beaches of powdery white sand. The most southern islands of Fogo and Brava offer their own enchantments, from dramatic volcanic scenes with deep gorges bursting with flora and fauna to sparkling bays framed by towering cliffs.
The sea isn’t just for perfect sailing though. Every day sees the local fisherman brave the surf in what seem like tiny lug boats to bring fresh Wahoo, Tuna and Seafood for the village markets. These produce markets are a real cultural treat with vibrant fruits and vegetables and artisan, handcrafted goods laid for all to buy and trade.
Cape Verde is rich with animal species both on land and in the water. There are many species endemic to the islands, with locals priding themselves on conservation projects with some of the most important turtle breeding sites in the world. Flying fish, whales, dolphins and sharks frequent the waters with over 75 bird species on land.
is the Creole word for the archipelago’s hospitality. Mixed together with the constant lilting beat of the music that Cape Verde is famed for and the charming offerings of each island, it’s easy to see why this little known sailing holiday destination is fast becoming a bucket list location for many.