Where is Cape Verde?

Located 500 km from the west coast of Africa, the stunning Cape Verde Islands are a stunning fusion of African, European, and Brazilian influences. This group of 10 islands is an undiscovered natural paradise waiting to be explored. With Cape Verde Islands’ tourism steadily going up the ladder, this fascinating nation is a place where you can appreciate the sea, see mountain landscapes where one can go hiking, and explore it’s barren lands pounded by a frothing white ocean.

Cape Verde is made up of more or less a dozen islands. This place has become a popular destination for package holidays over the past few years. Traveling to Cape Verde is convenient being that it is under 6 hours by charter flight from the United Kingdom. Indeed it is accessible for anyone searching to be somewhere tropical during the winter.

Cape Verde is fascinating in terms of both scenery and culture. It’s volcanic islands have various stages of erosion, ranging from more than 2,800m high to as low as 390m high, translating to extremes of landscapes between the islands. Cape Verde’s panoramic view ranges from brooding volcano to flat desert, and from flourishing misty mountains to captivating white and abandoned beaches. You will also meet locals with a unique race, part African, part Portuguese, part any kind of race that inhabited this isolated place since its discovery in the mid 15th century.

The islands of Cape Verde are warm and sunny for most of the year. The islands are at their greenest from January up until September. The most popular months for tourist to travel to Cape Verde are February– for the Sao Vicente Carnival, August– for the Baia das Gatas music festival, and May for the Gamboa music festival in Sao Tiago. These days, holiday makers travel to Cape Verde on a package trip to a luxury resort on the main tourist island of Sal. The islands of Sal and Boa Vista is a sun worshipper’s paradise. Warm crystal blue waters with deserted sandy white beaches as far as the eyes can see. Discover and explore the beaches of Santa Monica and Santa Maria on the tourist islands of Sal and Boa Vista. Visit the majestic island of Fogo and climb the natural wonder that is the fire mountain. Towering over the small village of Cha Da Caldeiras, Pico de Fogo awaits the fearless explorer. Venture onto Santo Antao, and experience one of the most jaw-dropping journey’s in the world. Rich vegetation, dramatic valleys and cliff tops await you here in this hiker’s paradise. Experience the wild excitement of Carnival in the cultural capital that is Mindelo on the island of Sao Vicente. Join in the biggest party of the year as you see all the vibrant colors, drown yourself in the music and exotic beats, and bring your dancing shoes. Discover Cape Verde’s rich colonial history by visiting Cidade Velha, the first European settlement in Africa and is now a UNESCO world heritage site.

Whether it’s a festival you’re looking to enjoy or the quiet serenity of the sea, you can visit Cape Verde for an escape from the daily hustle and bustle of your daily lives and unwind in the rich cultures and panoramic sights that the tropical islands Cape Verde brings.

Interval International Adds the Resort Group Vacation Club in the Cape Verde Islands to Global Vacation Exchange Network

Jan. 30, 2012

LONDON, Jan 30, 2012 (BUSINESS WIRE) — Interval International, a prominent worldwide provider of vacation services and an operating business of Interval Leisure Group IILG -3.43% , announced the affiliation of The Resort Group Vacation Club based in Cape Verde, a group of 10 islands in the Atlantic Ocean 350 miles off the coast of Western Africa. The first resort to be included in the multi-site club is the Tortuga Beach Resort & Spa on Sal, one of the islands in the Cape Verde archipelago. Two other resorts are currently under construction, both on Sal Island.

The Resort Group Vacation Club comprises spacious two-bedroom apartments at the Tortuga Beach Resort and Spa that also includes a hotel managed by Melia Hotels & Resorts, together with additional apartments and private villas. Each vacation club apartment has a private terrace or balcony, an Italian kitchen, and an open-plan living area with a 42-inch TV.

“The Cape Verde islands, already a favourite destination of British, Portuguese, Italian, and German tourists, are gaining renown as an international destination,” said Darren Ettridge, Interval’s senior vice president of resort sales and business development for Europe, Middle East, Africa, and Asia. “Sal is the most developed of the islands and the setting of Tortuga Beach Resort & Spa makes the most of the island’s natural beauty.”

In addition to spectacular ocean views and a pristine white-sand beach (a nesting site for turtles), the lushly landscaped resort offers a range of luxury amenities, including an adult pool with a swim-up bar and children’s pool, YHi Spa, a state-of-the-art gym, and several restaurants and bars. Guests can choose from AQUA – a gourmet restaurant specializing in Italian and Mediterranean-style cuisine, Spices – the resort’s main restaurant featuring an international buffet, and O-Grille Beach Club Bar & Restaurant, included in CNN’s “World’s 50 best beach bars,” which offers some of the island’s best seafood and is the ideal place to watch the sunset. There is also the stylish Late Bar, the first and only Champagne Bar in Cape Verde.

“Sal Island is one of the world’s most idyllic locations,” said Adam Ellis, marketing director of The Resort Group Vacation Club. “Tortuga Beach Resort & Spa has been designed to the highest standards, weaving luxury and impeccable service into a true oasis of tranquillity. We look forward to sharing it with Interval International members.”

Tortuga Beach Resort & Spa is five minutes from restaurants and shopping in the town of Santa Maria and only 15 minutes from the Sal airport.

About Interval International

Interval International operates membership programmes for vacationers and provides value-added services to its developer clients worldwide. Based in Miami, Florida, the company has been a pioneer and innovator in serving the vacation ownership market for 35 years. Today, Interval has an exchange network of approximately 2,600 resorts in over 75 nations. Through offices in 15 countries, Interval offers high-quality products and benefits to resort clients and approximately 2 million families who are enrolled in various membership programmes. Interval is an operating business of Interval Leisure Group, Inc. IILG -3.43% , a leading global provider of membership and leisure services to the vacation industry.

SOURCE: Interval International


Breathtaking Beaches Lure Tourists to the Cape Verde Islands

Santa Maria, Cape Verde – Soak up the sun, go for long walks on shimmering beaches and laze around on loungers – that is exactly what Uli and Heike are doing before the cold winter months begin.

The pair from Munich were not keen on flying to the Canary Islands again and so they chose a more unusual destination. ‘The Canaries get pretty full in the winter unlike the Cape Verde islands,’ said Heike.

Even in the main winter season there is little sign of hectic activity on Sal and neighbouring Boa Vista – even though these two are the most popular islands in the entire archipelago, which lies off the coast of West Africa.

Compared to the other eight inhabited Cape Verde islands, Sal, with its largely barren landscape, seems to have little of cultural or geographical interest to recommend it.

Santo Antaos boasts rugged mountains and fine hiking territory, Santiago is thoroughly African while Fogo has huge volcanic craters and the picturesque colonial town of Sao Filipe. Sal’s attractions are easily summed-up: Endlessly long white beaches lapped by a turquoise sea.

The island reminds 32-year-old Heike of Fuerteventura. The sparkling white beaches are certainly similar and the parched interior of volcanic cones, stony outcrops and shimmering red salt marshes reminds some well-travelled visitors of the Spanish-speaking island in the Atlantic. ‘The difference is that here it is not crowded and there are no architectural eyesores,’ said Uli. ‘The Cape Verde islands look like the Canaries must have done 60 years ago.’

This applies to the other Cape Verde islands but only to a certain extent to Sal. The international travel industry took some time before discovering the archipelago but it is now firmly on the tourist map. Sal already has its first high-rise hotels.

At the same time, Santa Maria can hardly be compared with established holiday resorts in Spain or Italy. The colourful housefronts in orange, yellow and turquoise are a legacy of the Portuguese colonial past, which has produced a colourful and enduring mix of Africa and Europe.

A good place to get acquainted with the locals is down at the harbour. The fishermen nudge up to the quayside in their boats and toss their catch straight onto the wooden pier. The area lies close to the handsome beach of Praia de Santa Maria which stretches more than two kilometres to Ponta do Sino. Thanks to the strong Passat wind, the south-west tip of the island as far as Ponta Preta ranks among the best of the world’s surfing spots.

Visitors who admire the lonely beaches on Sal will probably fall down in their knees in joy when they catch sight of the sandy expanses along the coastline of neighbouring Boa Vista. Around 80 per cent of the tourists venture no farther than the broad Praia da Chave beach, where two large holiday complexes have been built. This leaves the remaining Boa Vista beaches almost completely devoid of visitors. At Praia da Varandinha beach for example, the solitude is almost unnerving.

There is a logical reason for this. The unsurfaced tracks to most of the beaches behind dunes are difficult to negotiate. There are few signposts to go by and those without a good sense of direction and a robust set of wheels will simply not find them. Praia de Santa Monica, regarded by many as the most beautiful Cape Verde beach, is only reachable by four-wheel-drive vehicles.

Boa Vista has been dubbed Atlantic Sahara on account of Deserto de Viana with its huge shifting sands. Further inland the eye roves over a rocky desert with no sign of human life. The landscape is made up of eroded rocks and the stumps of volcanoes worn down by the eternal winds.

Source:  http://www.monstersandcritics.com/lifestyle/travel/news/article_1685894.php/Breathtaking-beaches-lure-tourists-to-the-Cape-Verde-islands

World Bank Provides Credit to Support Companies in Cape Verde

JANUARY 20TH, 2012 

Praia, Cape Verde, 20 Jan – The World Bank plans to loan Cape Verde US$1 million for its Growth and Competitiveness Fund (FCC), which is focused on supporting Cape Verdean companies, said the FCC’s representative at the Sotavento Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Services (CCISS) Thursday.

Mónica Vicente, said that this loan taken on from the World Bank was in its second edition, and in the first phase funding had totalled US$1.3 million.

“The FCC is part of the Project to Support Micro, Small and Medium-sized Companies and Electronic Governance, funded by the government by loans taken on from the World Bank, and is managed by the country’s Chambers of Commerce. Between 2005 and 2009 the Fund benefited over 100 companies and increased the competitiveness of companies,” she said.

According to a document from the CCIS, this Fund will provide assistance in technical specialities, in the areas of on-the-job training, information and other activities involved in the process of technology transfer. (macauhub)

Source: http://www.macauhub.com.mo/en/2012/01/20/world-bank-provides-credit-to-support-companies-in-cape-verde/ 

Boston Wine Expo: Pinotage Rosé to Cape Verde

Here is a sampling of some of the other wines that I found interesting at the Boston Wine Expoand I will be posting about even more wines this week too.

Long a fan of South African wines, I am even a lover of the Pinotage grape, a rather divisive variety which I don’t feel gets enough credit. The quality of Pinotage wines continues to improve all the time. At the Expo, I found a delicious Rosé wine made from 100% Pinotage, the 2010 Fantail Pinotage Rosé.

Fantail is the second label of the Morgenhof Wine Estatesituated on the slopes of the Simonsberg mountains outside Stellenbosch. The winery dates back to 1692 and is currently owned by Anne Cointreau, part of the famed French liqueur company, and she was the first women to invest in South Africa post-apartheid. The winery is small, with 74 hectares under vines and only producing about 35,000 cases each year.

The Pinotage vines for this wine average about 15 years, and the juice receives about three hours of skin contact. It is a small production wine, sells for under $15 and has an alcohol content of 12.75%. It possesses a rich pink color, with a nose of red fruit, and on the palate it is crisp and dry, with tastes of strawberry and bright cherry. It is more an Old World style, and does not possess any of the negative characteristics that some try to attribute to Pinotage. If you tasted this wine, you probably would not even guess it was produced from Pinotage. But you very likely would enjoy it and it is well worth giving it a try.

Several New England wineries were present at the Expo and one of my favorites is Turtle Creek Winery of Lincoln. I posted about some of their wines last year, have written other posts about the winery, and am back with an update on some of their new wines. Kip Kumler(pictured above) is the owner and winemaker of Turtle Creek, a small, artisan winery which produces around 900-1000 cases annually. Kip is very passionate about wine and I believe he is a skilled winemaker.

As a treat, Kip was pouring a barrel sample of his 2010 Pinot Noir, the grapes being from the Carneros region. Though a bit rough, it showed plenty of potential with excellent red fruit flavors, good acidity and a touch of earthiness. This promises to be a very good wine when it is ready for bottling and I look forward to its release. The 2009 Syrah seemed to me to be even better than the 2008, possessed of deep, rich flavors, and being powerful but not overly tannic. Its complexity was attractive and it screamed out for a hearty steak. Check this one out.

Kip is introducing a special Reserve line and those wines will be identified with a black backed label rather than the usual white (and you can see that label above). Most of Kip’s wine are priced $18-$20, and the Reserve line will be priced around $30. The 2009 Cabernet Franc Reserve appealed to me, possessed of ripe black fruit flavors, a spicy backbone, and no green, vegetal notes. This is my preferred style of Cabernet Franc so I was very taken with it. It has plenty of complexity, a long and pleasing finish and is well balanced. Another recommended wine and I look forward to more of his Reserve wines.

One of the most unique offerings at the Expo were two wines fromCape Verde, which was the first time the wines had been shown in the U.S. Cape Verde is an island country in the central Atlantic Ocean, consisting of about ten islands. During the 15th century, Portugueseexplorers found the islands, soon after settling there and planting grape vines during the 16th century. Cape Verde gained its independence in 1975.

The island of Fogo (which is a Portuguese term for “fire“) has an active volcano, which includes a nine kilometer wide caldera, and the island rises to almost 3000 meters above sea level. There is a small village, Chã das Caldeiras (“Plain of the Calderas”), situated within the caldera, not exactly the safest place to be cause of the active volcano. Most of the grape cultivation of Cape Verde occurs on Fogo, and actually within the caldera itself at altitudes of 1500-2000 meters. Wine has been produced in the caldera for about 120 years. The manual agriculture and harvesting is difficult work in this terrain. Two cooperatives, Chã das Caldeiras and Sodade, produce all of the wine and production is very small, only about 160,000 bottles annually.

The first wine I tasted was the NV Chã Branco, made from 100%Moscatel and with an alcohol content of 14%. It has a light yellow color with an amber tinge and a nose of perfume and herbs. On the palate, there were flavors of flowers, herbs and spices with a mild grapefruit taste as well. It had decent acidity and a touch of sweetness. I would have enjoyed this with some spicy Asian food. The second wine was the Chã Passito, also made with late harvest Moscatel grapes but which had been dried in the sun. It only has an alcohol content of 10.6%. This was a sweet wine, though balanced with nice acidity, and there were flavors of honey, dried apricot, raisins and with some floral notes and even some minerality. Both wines were good and I would like to try more wines from Cape Verde.

Next time you visit a large wine tasting or expo, skip the California Cabernet and French Bordeaux and seek out the less common wines, the more unusual choices.

Source: http://passionatefoodie.blogspot.com/2012/01/boston-wine-expo-pinotage-rose-to-cape.html 

Libel, Leveson and Riots Blamed for UK Press Freedom Fall

26 January 2012

By William Turvill

A report by the campaign group Reporters Without Borders has suggested that press freedom in the UK has declined over the past year due to “archaic” libel laws, the Leveson Inquiry and the London riots.

The 2011/12 Press Freedom Index shows Britain has dropped nine places in the world rankings to 28th, falling below the likes of Cape Verde and Namibia, the first two African countries to break into the top 20.

The UK now stands at its joint lowest position since the survey was first carried out in 2002.

RWB England and Northern Ireland representative Heather Blake said the UK’s decline could be attributed to the Leveson Inquiry, which she said was “discussing regulations that should not even be considered” and “archaic” libel laws which “threaten freedom of reporting”.

The accompanying report added: “[The UK] caused concern with its approached to the protection of privacy and its response to the London riots. Despite universal condemnation, the UK also clings to a surreal law that allows the entire world to come and sue news media before it courts.”

Citing the impact of the London riots, RWB said it was “worried” about cooperation between the BlackBerry manufacturer Research in Motion (RIM) and the police after the company provided Scotland Yard with information about a number of BlackBerry users following the disturbances.

RWB claimed this “jeopardised” their personal data.

Arab Spring

The rankings are based on a country’s score in a 44-question survey covering areas including violence against journalists, censorship laws and freedom of the internet.

As has been the case in each of the surveys put together over the past decade, Scandinavian countries dominate the top of the table, with Finland and Norway taking joint top spot this year.

Meanwhile, Eritrea, North Korea and Turkmenistan make up the bottom three for the seventh year in a row.

This year’s figures also drop the United States 27 places to 47th, after some journalists were arrested during coverage of the Occupy Wall Street protests.

Niger climbed 75 places to 29th after a “successful political transition”.

Of particular interest to RWB was the movement of the Middle Eastern nations where large changes occurred during the Arab Spring.

Tunisia (130th) and Libya (154th) saw the biggest advance in press freedom, according to RWB, while Egypt fell 39 places to 166th and Syria (176th), Yemen (171st) and Bahrain (173rd) received their worst-ever rankings.

RWB said in a statement: “This year’s index sees many changes in the rankings, changes that reflect a year that was incredibly rich in developments, especially in the Arab world.

“Never has Freedom of Information been so closely associated with democracy. Never have journalists, through their reporting, vexed the enemies of freedom so much. Never have acts of censorship and physical attacks on journalists seemed so numerous,” it said.

“The equation is simple: the absence or suppression of civil liberties leads necessarily to the suppression of civil liberties leads necessarily to the suppression of media freedom.”

Source: http://www.pressgazette.co.uk/story.asp?sectioncode=1&storycode=48635&c=1 

Cape Verde – The Country With No Recession and Huge Tourism Growth !

Cape Verde is a fantastic place to invest and has seen a huge growth in GDP over the last few years.

Tourism growth is running at a recent rate of 20% per annum and this is set to continue but even long term growth in tourists runs at 7.2% per annum which is helping keep the country in a continuous state of undersupply and healthy returns for investors in well managed resorts.

In addition Boa Vista is clearly the island everyone wants to be on and it has eaten into market share rapidly as new hotels open with Sal in particular losing out.

Our other blog in January referred to the BBC Radio 4 visit to Cape Verde and Evan Davis’s surprise over the strength of the economy.

Boa Vista island, Cape Verde is a fantastic place to invest in a world of uncertainty.

This news story has come from the Santa Monica Resort development blog.

Source: http://news.assetz.co.uk/articles/6086.html 

Mário Moita

Mário Moita is an accomplished singer, composer and piano player in fado style, and his new CD can perhaps be described as an “Afro-Latin American Fado” album, with Portuguese fado meeting and connecting with other music, such as Argentinean tango, Cape Verdean creole “morna”, Southern Portuguese Moorish influences, Brazilian bossa nova, African beats and more.

The song form of fado can be traced back to sailors and their loved ones in the Portuguese colonial era, separated by the oceans. Indeed, the poems on which fado lyrics are based often refer to loved ones while away at sea, and the sadness and longing (saudade) at the thought of not seeing one’s love again. The sixteen tracks on this album make for just over 50 minutes of fine listening, and push fado (literally) to new frontiers.

With maritime explorers such as Vasco da Gama, Portuguese culture spread across the globe. Throughout the 15th and 16th centuries the Portuguese were among the world’s leading explorers, establishing colonies in parts of South America, Africa and Asia.

Throughout his life, Mário Moita himself travelled to many of these places and saw how Portuguese culture was integrated with local traditions. On this album he experiments with other instruments not usually associated with fado, such as accordion, soprano sax and string quartet. Still, at heart, the soul and texture of the songs is distinctly fado.

Born in Evora in Portugal, Mario began singing fado at the young age of seven, and stuck to fado though he studied engineering. Early influences include the pianist Fortunato Murteira who played fado with the piano. Mario has performed extensively abroad in Japan, Romania, Cyprus, Estonia, Spain, France, USA, Canada and Brazil.

The album Fado Navegante blends fado sound with the music of other regions and takes Portuguese music on a new 21st century voyage across the seas. The CD begins with accordion and piano along with traditional guitar in the opening tango-fado track Imperador e Cleopatra, and prepares the listener for a new experience. The third track Tantas vezes saudade begins with African percussion and rhythms and really brings new influences into fado, as does the next track Fado crioulo, with fine soprano sax weaved in. This track is in Cape Verdean style; Cape Verde was a key strategic port for Portugal to explore the African coast and the onward sea route to India in the colonial era.

The song Minha moura encatada brings in a romantic Moorish influence as well. The track Praia secreta is woven around a Brazilian samba rhythm. Other upbeat tracks which will transform you to dance mode include Beleza Raiana and Nao misturem flores. The closing track Meu anjo querubim brings the listener back to traditional fado style.

Mario Moita also has a Web site in Portuguese, at http://www.mariomoita.com, for those who want to explore the work of this musician further. The CD also comes with a 28-page booklet with lyrics, packed with details of the themes of each song: separation, longing, fondness, nature, messages from the birds and the moon, and memories of a first kiss. In sum, this is a great album to add to your collection, for new explorations in fado!

Source: http://worldmusiccentral.org/2012/01/29/new-explorations-in-fado/ 

Target of 50 PCT Renewable Energies in Cape Verde to Cost 300 Million Euros

JANUARY 11TH, 2012 

Praia, Cape Verde, 11 Jan – Execution of the Sector Plan for Renewable Energies, with a target of 50 percent penetration of renewable energies in Cape Verde by 2020, is expected to cost over 300 million euros Minister Humberto Brito said Tuesday in Praia.

The minister, who is responsible for Tourism, Industry and Energy, also said that the plan had been drawn up based on a study of the country’s potential in terms of renewable energy, on existing and identified solar, wind, sea, geothermal and solid waste resources.

Cited by Cape Verdean news agency Inforpress, Brito noted that the plan outlined the volume or limit of use that is part of the entire potential renewable energy identified by the study, and also defines areas for development of renewable energy.

In total 7,887 hectares of land, or around 79 square kilometres, less than 1.9 percent of Cape Verde’s territory, have been set aside and cover all of the country’s islands.

The projection is to install around 2,000 megawatts (MW) of power by 2020 as compared to a current amount of around 35 MW. (macauhub)

SOURCE: http://www.macauhub.com.mo/en/2012/01/11/target-of-50-pct-renewable-energies-in-cape-verde-to-cost-300-million-euros/ 

Cape Verdean Government Plans to Invest in Improving Conditions at Praia Fishing Port

JANUARY 5TH, 2012 

Praia, Cape Verde, 5 Jan – The fishing dock in the Cape Verdean capital of Praia is to undergo refurbishment work costing 51 million Cape Verdean escudos, including introduction of an auction system, said the secretary of state for Marine Resources.

Speaking to Cape Verdean news agency Inforpress, Adalberto Vieira said that the investment was part of the National Fishing Programme for West Africa and would cover improving hygiene conditions, the water supply system as well as refurbishment of the electricity system.

According to Vieira, the investment will also cover setting up the fish auction system as, he said, one of the major constraints on the Praia fishing dock was the lack of such a system, which allows for the initial sale of fish.

The secretary of state for Marine Resources also said that the investment was also part of the strategy to refurbish refrigeration units, specifically those at the Praia fishing dock and the Cova Inglesa fishing complex. (macauhub)

SOURCE: http://www.macauhub.com.mo/en/2012/01/05/cape-verdean-government-plans-to-invest-in-improving-conditions-at-praia-fishing-port/