Spend 12 days sailing & exploring the beautiful archipelago of Cape Verde onboard Dutch Tallship 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.
Cape Verde is situated in the Atlantic Ocean, about 600 kilometres before the coast of Senegal. The diverse landscapes are home to steep terrace fields growing bananas and coffee plantations, sandy deserts, black volcanoes and a fiercely deep blue ocean. The waters are a haven for spotting wildlife and are full of fly-fish, tuna, sea turtles and whales.
The tropical climate and the tradewinds make Cape Verde a real sailor’s paradise and this voyage offers a mix of active tall ship sailing while discovering at least six islands within this beautiful archipelago.
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. 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.
Below is an example of our intended itinerary which is, of course, subject to the change of weather and winds but gives a good idea of what to expect.
Arrive in Ilha do Sal and get a taxi to Oosterschelde. The island of Sal is desert-like, with miles-long sandy beaches and traditional harbour villages.
The following morning you have time to take a stroll, visit the town or take a dive in the ocean before we set sail. 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. The crossing to Santiago is approximately 110 miles; we expect to arrive sometime during the night.
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 crossing from Santiago to São Vicente is the longest leg of this 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 rougher crossing. If visibility is good we can spot the active volcano Fogo, which rises 3000 meters from the sea.
Upon sunrise, we will see land. First the island of São Vicente and then Santo Antão. To reach our destination of the bay of Mindelo, we will sail between these two islands. Mindelo, on São Vicente, is the largest harbour and the second largest city of Cape Verde. There are restaurants, an indoor market, cafés and souvenir shops. In the afternoon there will be time to explore the town or go swimming at 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.
From Mindelo, we sail to Santo Antão, considered to be the most beautiful island of the archipelago. It is also the greenest and most fertile of the islands. Today we will take a taxi bus to the edge of the volcanic crater, before taking a hike down a steep and narrow trail to Ribeira 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). The diverse landscape and the breath-taking views make this an unforgettable excursion.
Today we sail close past the coasts of several uninhabited islands. On our way to São Nicolau, we pass Santa Lucia. The sea is full of fish here, so we 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.
Our destination on the island of São Nicolau is also called 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 motorized boats. On São Nicolau, we will visit the beautiful worn basalt formations and drive past the last remainders of a primaeval 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.
DAY 9 & 10
This leg of our voyage will take us to the popular island of Boa Vista. We will drop anchor a considerable distance from the village. The rubber dinghy is used to go to shore, but due to safety precautions, we only undertake this crossing during daylight. Boa Vista is one of the islands where tourism is developing and along the coastline, several resorts have risen from the ground. But the beaches remain beautiful and the island is known for its remarkable moving sand dunes.
Our guide will be waiting for us amongst the local fishermen on the pier of Sal Rei to tell us about the island, its history and the turtle protection program he’s working for. They try to protect the second largest population of loggerhead turtles. We will walk through 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. We then drive to ‘Deserto de Viana’, a snow-white desert with acacia trees dotted occasionally with pieces of basalt rock. We end our tour with a visit to a workshop where they make beautiful traditional crockery.
DAY 11 & 12
The last crossing, from Boa Vista to Ilha do Sal, will probably be made with help of the engine. 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. The next morning, after breakfast, it is time to say goodbye to the crew and ship.
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 optionable 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.
|Voyage||Set Sail||Days||Cost p/p|
|Christmas & New Year Island Hopping in Cape Verde||21 December 2020||13||£1,530||Enquire now|
|Sailing & Island Hopping in Cape Verde||2 January 2021||13||£1,530||Enquire now|
|Sailing & Island Hopping in Cape Verde||14 January 2021||13||£1,530||Enquire now|
|Sailing & Island Hopping in Cape Verde||26 January 2021||13||£1,530||Enquire now|
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
- 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
- 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
There are several airlines that fly to Ilha do Sal. TAP Air Portugal flies via Lisbon, which is reachable from most airports in Europe. 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. Apartments and hostels can be found here for as little as £30 per night.