Sailing & Island Hopping in Cape Verde
- Vessel: Oosterschelde
- Where: Cape Verde
- Duration: 11 days
- Embark: Palmiera, Sal - 16 March 2023, 17:00
- Disembark: Palmiera, Sal - 27 March 2023, 09:00
Sail & explore the beautiful archipelago of Cape Verde onboard Dutch tall ship Oosterschelde for active sailing and guided excursions ashore.
Step onboard historic tall ship Oosterschelde for a bucket list sailing holiday island hopping around Cape Verde.
The tropical climate and the trade winds make Cape Verde a real sailor’s paradise and this sailing voyage offers the perfect mix of great sailing, island exploration and life on board a traditional tall ship.
- Traditional tall ship experience
- Professional crew
- Private cabins
- All-inclusive sailing
A traditional tall ship sailing holiday in Cape Verde is the perfect way to see this fascinating archipelago. Situated in the Atlantic Ocean, about 600 kilometres before the coast of Senegal, the islands are home to diverse landscapes, steep terrace fields growing bananas and coffee plantations, sandy deserts, black volcanoes and a fiercely deep blue ocean. The sailing waters are a haven for spotting wildlife and are full of fly-fish, tuna, sea turtles and humpback whales making a sailing holiday in Cape Verde the perfect way to see this island chain.
Known for their warm tropical climate, floral landscapes, delicious cuisine and great sailing grounds, Cape Verde is made up of 10 enchanting islands each with their own unique personality.
Oosterschelde will organise excursions on each island but participating is not mandatory and you can also explore the islands at your own free will. During the sailing passages, you are invited to help with all the activities on board; hoisting the sails, steering and navigating. Guests are divided in shifts and are encouraged to participate in all duties onboard, like navigation, steering and trimming the sails. Those who dare can climb the mast to see the world from a big sailing vessel! After each leg, we will take the time to explore the island of our destination. At night, we will mostly be anchored, but in some cases, we will keep sailing through the night.
Arrive on to the island of Sal sitting on the most Easterly point of the archipelago. This island is a beach lovers paradise with golden sands lapped by azure blue waters giving a stark contrast to the volcanic, lunar-like landscapes inland.
Before we set the sails the following morning, take some time to explore, visiting the local town or swimming in the ocean before we set off toward the island of Santiago. The crossing to Santiago is approximately 110 miles so is likely to see some sailing into the night with the clearest starry skies.
Santiago is completely different from Sal with luscious green mountains and deep valleys. We will spend the day on the island taking a taxi bus to explore, starting from the beautiful village of Tarrafal. Our first stop is the village of the Rabelados where the locals have been living in the mountains for the past 70 years, preserving their traditions and culture. Our next stop is the huge reservoir of Agua Barragem, before having lunch in a traditional Cape Verdean restaurant. After lunch, we will drive down narrow winding roads into a green valley to the huge Kapok tree, probably the biggest you have ever seen! The last stop is the National Park of Serra Malagueta where we can take a walk before returning to the ship.
The next island destination will be São Vicente. This sailing is the longest leg of the journey with an overnight sailing passage. Close-hauled and with most of the sails set, we push Oosterschelde to her limits where she is happiest sailing. If the wind is strong, this could be a beautiful, but slightly more adventurous crossing. If visibility is good we can spot the active volcano Fogo, which rises 3000 meters from the sea. Upon sunrise, the island of São Vicente and then Santo Antão loom on the horizon and we should reach our destination of the bay of Mindelo.
The large harbour of Mindelo, on São Vicente, is the second largest city of Cape Verde. Spend time enjoying the local town, cuisine, cafes and souvenir shops or go swimming on the nearby beach. After dinner, one of the crew members will take you to a bar with live music where the local community gathers to dance.
Our next island stop is Santo Antão and is considered to be the most beautiful island of the archipelago. With the greenest and most fertile landscapes of the islands, take a taxi bus to the edge of the volcanic crater before taking a hike along the steep winding trail to Riberia Grande. (If the hike is too strenuous, you can also choose to join the driver and drive down an amazing route to the other side of the island, where we will pick up the hikers)
Set the sails as we pass close to several uninhabitied islands on our way to São Nicolau. We’ll pass the island of Santa Lucia where the sea is full of fish so we can throw out a fishing line to test our luck! Later in the day, we pass by Ilheu Raza and Ilheu Branco before São Nicolau appears on the horizon. On the leeward side of the island, where the sea is a bit flatter, we regularly spot big groups of dolphins.
The island of São Nicolau is also referred to as Tarrafal, a peaceful fisherman’s village where we will be welcomed with open arms. There is barely any tourism here and at least half of all fisherman sail instead of using motorised boats. On São Nicolau, we can visit the beautiful worn basalt formations and drive past the last remainders of a primeval forest in the national park, Monto Gordo. Here will take a walk where there are Grogue distilleries. If a distillery is open, we can make a stop to see how this process works before heading back to the ship.
The last leg of our voyage will take us to the popular island of Boa Vista. Drop anchor a considerable distance from the village where we can take the tender to go ashore. Boa Vista is one of the islands where tourism is developing but the beaches remain beautiful and the island is known for its remarkable moving sand dunes.
A guide will be waiting for us amongst the local fishermen on the pier to tell us about the island, its history and the turtle protection program he’s working for as they try to protect the second largest population of loggerhead turtles. Take a walk through the town for a small city tour and when we arrive in the town square, the 4×4 trucks are there to take us to Santa Maria Beach to visit the local shipwreck. Drive to ‘Deserto de Viana’, a fascinating snow-white desert with acacia trees dotted occasionally amongst pieces of basalt rock. We end our tour with a visit to a workshop where they make beautiful traditional crockery.
Our last crossing, from Boa Vista to Ilha do Sal will likely be made with help of the engine due to the strong currents. If we can see Sal, we will set the sails and tack a few times at the leeward side of the island before we drop anchor at Palmeira to celebrate our last night with a barbecue on deck.
All voyages for Oosterschelde
Guest berths: 24 Rig: Topsail Schooner
Oosterschelde is one of the largest and oldest Dutch tall ships to still be sailing today and is now registered as a Dutch Monument in the Netherlands.
Built-in Rotterdam 1917, she started life as a cargo ship sailing the coast of Morocco and later the Baltic Sea. In the late 80’s she was bought back home to the Netherlands where she underwent extensive maintenance to restore her to the authentic tall ship that she remains to this day.
With three masts, a topsail schooner rig and measuring over 50m in length, Oosterschelde is the largest boat in our fleet to date. Her impressive size and scale command interest wherever she goes and guests are always proud to have had the opportunity to sail on such a historic ship.
Below decks, her communal areas are spacious, with a generous saloon, bar, library and even piano to entertain. Complete with all the mod-cons and safety equipment, she also has underfloor heating and a wood-burning stove for sailing in colder climates. Her sleeping accommodation is located toward the bows with 6 two-berth and 3 four-berth cabins all with washbasins and communally sharing 5 separate bathrooms.
Sailing this beautiful ship is an experience you’ll never forget. The professional crew welcome all ages and abilities and find that most guests love to get actively involved with the authentic experience of sailing a tall ship.
Oosterschelde has sailed all over the world and shows no signs of stopping anytime soon! From European tall ship regattas to exploring Antarctica to sailing South on the Atlantic to the islands of Cape Verde, every voyage with Oosterschelde is one of wonder and discovery.
Deck planMore about Oosterschelde
Sailing with Oosterschelde is a trip of a lifetime and you don’t need any experience to join – just a lust for adventure! The crew are on hand to show you the ropes and they actively encourage gusts to get involved.
She sleeps 24 guests in a combination of private twin and four berth cabins. The communal areas are furnished comfortably with under-floor heating, a wood-burning stove, library and even a piano. An on board chef ensures all meals are freshly prepared aboard making use of local produce wherever possible.
Your ticket price includes breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks and hot drinks. Soft drinks and alcohol can be purchased from the onboard bar. Any food purchased ashore is at your own cost. (The currency is the Cape Verdean Escudo or CV ESC which can only be obtained in the islands. You can take Sterling or Euros to exchange, some islands accept Euro’s as currency as well as Escudo’s.)
All towels and bedding are included in the price although Oosterschelde does ask guests to bring an extra swimming towel. Excursions are option-able and are not included in your ticket price but are very reasonable. For example, to take part in all the excursions available, it would cost approx an extra £120 per person. You will be able to choose any or all of the excursions once onboard and these can be paid for at the end of your trip, along with your bar tab, in either in Euros or Sterling. We do not take card.
- All inclusive meals (breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, hot drinks)
- All bedding (pillow, sheets & duvet)
- Full crew plus tuition
- Marina and fuel fees
- All tender trips to and from the boat
- Use of onboard piano and library
What’s not included
- Any flights
- Transit hotels
- Travel to and from the boat on the day of joining/leaving
- Travel insurance
- Sailing Insurance (Please read our Sailing Insurance page for more information)
- Crew tips
- Personal expenses
Are all meals included?
Yes, all meals on board are included in the price. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner and hot drinks) Alcohol is not included.
Can you cater for dietary needs?
We can cater for Vegetarians only.
What language is spoken onboard?
Dutch & English
What are the sleeping arrangements?
6x twin cabins and 3x four-berth cabins
Do I need to tip the crew?
Tips are not mandatory but are welcomed by the crew!
How many toilet/showers does she have?
Is there WIFI?
No, but you should easily be able to reach 3G/4G from the shore.
Can I charge my phone/Camera?
Yes, please bring european adaptors
Are there life jackets provided?
Are Waterproofs provided?
Do I need sailing experience?
No, absolutely not! Just a lust for adventure.
Will I be sea sick?
Everyone reacts differently but we recommend if you are at all worried to take some medication 24 hours before departure.
From: Palmiera, Sal
To: Palmiera, Sal
To see where the ports are, along with your likely sailing area, please view the sail area & highlights.
There are several airlines that fly on Ilha do Sal. TAP Air Portugal flies via Lisbon, which is reachable from most airports in Europe. From some countries, for instance Germany, there are direct flights to Ilha do Sal offered by TUI. Or from the UK with Thomson or Thomas Cook Airlines. The costs for the flight tickets strongly depends on the period of the voyage and time of booking.
Most flights do not connect directly to the schedule of the ‘Oosterschelde’. In that case we advise you to book accommodation in Santa Maria on Ilha do Sal for the nights before or after the voyage. Please ensure that you are on board on time.
Cape Verde requires a full COVID vaccination incl. booster (3 doses) as mandatory.
Passports must be valid for at least 6 months after your date of departure from Cape Verde.