2021 Dates: 19 to 21 of November
The Theme of this year's Meetup is São Nicolau, to feel and live Cabo Verde.
Photo credit: Portia (Pip) Jones
Photo credit: Portia (Pip) Jones
After a breakfast full of local products, take some time to visit the historic area of Praia. Visit its local market or the famous Sucupira market, typically African, and where you can find a little bit of everything. On the island of São Nicolau, there will be a short historical walk followed by a welcoming homemade dinner.
Starting at Ribeira Brava village the walk will initially be along lava flows to Porto de Lapa, where the first inhabitants of São Nicolau settled. A small rest will be taken here on its black sands with healing properties. It follows a long and peaceful ascent to the village of Morro Alto located on the banks of the largest volcanic caldera of São Nicolau and with a magnificent view over the Bay of São Jorge. Approaching Juncalinho you will be surprised by steep cliffs and numerous volcanoes along the coast. At the end, you will have a natural pool of warm and transparent waters waiting for you to recover.
* Despite a length of 25 km this is a route that is done with some ease and the diversity of landscapes makes it look much lower in the end.
Perhaps one of the most revealing routes in the history and culture of São Nicolau’s people. Between isolated villages and long climbs and descents, to the “S”, where we get spectacular views over the mysterious and bucolic landscape that erupts in each curve.
Following a pilgrimage path towards the Sanctuary of “Nossa Senhora do Sameiro” do Monte Cintinha we will catch a glimpse of the lifestyle of the people who live and work in the valley of Ribeira Brava. In Cachaço we enter the “Monte Gordo” Natural Park, one of the 7 wonders of Cabo Verde, and the highest point of São Nicolau.
Following trails full of history and stories, flanked by remnants of coffee and tobacco cultures, we’ll reach Canto Fajã. This is an ideal place to rest before starting the climb to “Assomada de Macebo”. Here it feels like you are frozen in time, as you gaze across the magnificent landscapes that have been shaped by the elements of nature.
After passing through Frigate, you will go to Praia Branca, where the warm “Saudade” music, eternalized by Cesária Évora, was written. On the way to Tarrafal, we stop at the Carbeirinho geo site, another of the 7 wonders of Cape Verde.
Already in Ribeira Prata, we will visit the “rotcha scribida”, a strange rock formation that sparks the curiosity of people from all over the world due to its shapes which remind us of mysterious scriptures from the past. The walk starts at sea level and meanders up to the summit.
We will be following Ribeira de Fragata valley. Looking backwards it will be possible to watch the splendour of this valley. At Tope Simon, we’ll reach the highest point of the route, from where we’ll admire the Ribeira de Calhaus valley and its traditional farming fields.
From the Ribeira de Calhaus, the ascent begins along volcanic ash that takes us to the village of Hortelã. From Hortelã the descent is made along the Espigão and the final descent is made through an escarpment that offers one of the best views of Tarrafal.
Leaving Tarrafal behind, we head up towards Monte de Fontainhas and its village, nowadays a place used for raising cattle. We’ll follow along a deep valley, where small natural pools are formed in rocky ground after rainy days and the water reflects the blue of the sky.
Arriving at the Tope d’Vermelin we will be welcomed by one of the best-preserved dry stone paths in São Nicolau and at the top it is possible to admire the entire Ribeira Brava Valley, from the sea to Monte Cintinha. You can also see the entire plateau of Caleijão, the Preguiça airport, and the sea on the south side of the island.
The village of Ribeira Brava welcomes us through walls of volcanic dikes that protect it from the most violent waters.
Today will be our last day of the São Nicolau Walking Festival! During the morning you will be free to explore and make any last-minute souvenir purchases “di terra”.
On the way to the airport, a small stop will be made in the fishing village of Preguiça to visit its historic fort, where in 1461 Pedro Alvares Cabral stopped during his trip to Brazil. A place full of history and fishing tradition. From there we return to the airport and depart for the city of Praia, in Santiago.