Cape Verde is a group of islands that lie 385 miles (620 km) off the west coast of Africa. Praia, on Santiago, is the capital. The majority of the population is Roman Catholic, but a flourishing Protestant mission is based in Praia. In practice, Catholicism is often enriched with African elements. The celebration of saints’ days, for example, may be accompanied by drumming, processionals, masks, and dancing in African styles, particularly on Santiago. The very limited water supply is a grave liability, and there are no domestic sources of energy except firewood, wind, and sunlight. The country on the whole relies on imported petroleum fuel; on the local level, most domestic energy needs are met by the use of firewood, although the resulting demand placed upon these resources poses an environmental threat. Fish, salt, puzzolane, rum, animal hides, bananas, and coffee are exported, but none in very large quantities. As Cape Verde is heavily dependent on imported food, its principal imports include cereals, fruits and vegetables, beverages, and other foodstuffs. Fuel and building materials are also important. Portugal and Spain are the country’s most important trade partners, although it also maintains significant trade linkages with other countries, such as the Netherlands, Belgium, and the United States. There are a number of holidays celebrated in Cape Verde—including Easter, the Feast of the Assumption, All Saints’ Day, and Christmas— which reflect the country’s majority Roman Catholic tradition. Other holidays include National Heroes’ Day, Children’s Day, and Independence Day, which are observed on January 20, June 1, and July 5. Although Portuguese is the official language and is used in formal situations, Crioulo, one of the oldest of the Portuguese creole languages, is by far the most widely spoken. The different dialects of Crioulo that exist on the islands may be broadly divided into Sotavento and Barlavento groups. Cape Verde’s population growth rate is similar to the world average. Both the birth and death rates of the country are among the lowest in sub-Saharan Africa, but, when compared with global averages, Cabo Verde’s birth rate is slightly higher and the death rate is slightly lower. The emigration of young males seeking employment abroad and one of the lowest birth rates in sub-Saharan Africa have served to limit Cabo Verde’s population growth. Life expectancy on average exceeds the regional average and is very close to the global average. Although Cape Verdeans enjoy a variety of sports, football (soccer) is perhaps the most popular. Matches are played at all levels of society, from pickup street games to larger competitions between the Sotavento and Barlavento islands.
Things to Do:
Visit the Viana desert in Boa Vista.
Explore the island of Santiago.
Visit the saltpans at Pedra de Lume.
Set sail on an island cruise.
Catch a wave at Estoril Beach.
View the windsurfers on Verandinha Beach.
Morabeza Beach Club, Hotel Morabeza.