With guaranteed year-round sunshine and idyllic coastlines, Cape Verde is a fantastic off-the-beaten-track destination known as ‘the African Caribbean’. It’s also, crucially, LGBT friendly.
Cape Verde is a small country comprising 10 volcanic islands. Two hours south of the Canaries, just off the west coast of Africa – with flights less than seven hours from most European airports – they remain unspoilt. These islands have managed to stay blissfully below the radar. It is an African country and has been described as ‘Africa for beginners’.
It is a great country for LGBT visitors; it was recently placed first in a survey of 33 African countries as the continent’s most tolerant country, with 75% of those polled unconcerned with having LGBT neighbours. So if you have wanted to visit Africa, but never felt confident in doing so, try Cape Verde.
The beauty of colonial towns and spectacular landscapes combine stunning beaches, salt flats, deep ravines and tiny villages clinging to the mountainsides. Activities include diving, snorkelling, surfing, hiking, quad biking or just relaxing on the miles of sandy beaches. Evenings provide atmospheric restaurants, bars and clubs with vibrant nightlife on the main islands. Giant humpback whales and loggerhead turtles can be seen from many of the islands, such as Sal, Maio and Boa Vista. Most islands offer diving where shipwrecks and reefs can be explored alongside whales, dolphins, octopus and parrot fish.
Open waters provide an abundance of aquatic life with plenty of big game fishing. Cape Verde is one of the world’s leading diving and surfing destinations – some say the best. Year-round warm, tropical waters and long hours of sunshine offer visitors a unique destination, with warmer weather and seas than the Canaries.
Sal island, famous for its beaches and perfect kite, wind surfing and paddle boarding conditions, frequently hosts international events with ‘Kite Beach’, a magnet for kite surfers. Santa Maria beach has recently been voted in the world’s top 25 best beaches by TripAdvisor, and the town has a lively nightlife.
The amount of art and culture packed into Mindelo on São Vincente is impressive. With its rich tradition of music and art, it’s the place to hear Cape Verde’s popular national music, morna. Galleries and cafés exhibit the work of local artists and many festivals are held. Mindelo also hosts one of the few African Gay Pride celebrations.
By contrast, Maio provides a more modest environment with long stretches of white beaches,
warm clear waters and the friendliest locals anywhere in Cape Verde. This is the perfect destination to
‘get away from it all’, and where tranquility comes in abundance.
A full list of all the islands and their characteristics can be found at cape-verde-holidays.net.
Flights are available from many UK airports including Gatwick, Heathrow, Manchester, Birmingham, Bristol and Glasgow. Depending on which island you choose, you may fly via Gran Canaria, Casablanca or Lisbon, but there are direct flights to the island of Sal and Boa Vista. More information can be found at cape-verde-holidays.net/sal/travel. Accommodation options in Cape Verde include B&Bs, self-catering villas, apartments and five-star luxury resorts.
Autumn is just around the corner and soon after the UK will be plunged into the depths of winter, but Cape Verde enjoys sun and warm temperatures all year round, so why not try Cape Verde for your next holiday? Peak season is November to February.