Kitesurf spots: CAPE VERDE
Cape Verde is an archipelago in the northwest african coast. It counts more than 10 differents islands which are divided in two sections, ilhas de Sotavento in the south and ilhas de Borlavento in the north. The latter are the most windy and more favourable to kitesurf, especially Sal and Boa Vista.
But I preferred to go and explore two less known but more authentic islands: SANTO ANTÃO e SAO VICENTE.
PRO AND CONS
Spots favourable to waveriding
You can ride with a short wetsuite even in winter time
No windy activity in the neighbouring islands
Transports among the differents spots
Price to rent a car
Most of the spots not suitable for beginners
In Cape Verde blows steadily the trade winds.
The best wind statistics are recorded between December and June, even if the wind blows almost all the year-round.
The wind can easily blow over 25 knots.
There are two seasons, one more sultry and hot between July and November, and one more dry and temperate between December and June.
During the colder season the average temperature fluctuate between 18° and 23°. In the hottest period between 22° up to 35°.
The water temperature in winter time can drop up to 22°, while during the summer it is between 26°-27°.
In Cape Verde is adviced to take small kites due to the strong wind and wave riding activity.
A 7m and 9m could be perfect for a 70kg person.
The rainy season is between August and October, which is also the hottest period.
The rainfall has an irregular trend, it can happen to rain a lot during one season and almost not rain at all the following year, as it happens it 2016.
SPOTS WHERE I’VE BEEN
Praia do Topo – Santo Antão
Santo Antão island isn’t the best place where to kite due to the huge cliff and its beaches full of rocks. The only kite spot I could visit is Praia do Topo which it’s a technical spot. The stones and the choppy water make difficult to get into the ocean. During some days the ocean can be pretty rough and it can become a good waveriding spot while the probability are less than in the other islands.
It is an island hostile to kitesurf.
On – Side on
Getting into the water it’s not easy, so it’s not an good place for beginners. Even who has an intermediate level should pay attention. If you are advanced it’s not gonna be a problem for you but you have to watch out when the waves break close to the shore.
The ocean is mostly choppy. If you want to have more infos about wave riding you should try to speak with locals close to the spot cause there are not a lot of people who kite here who you can ask to. I didn’t like that mush the spot so I didn’t stop here for more days and I preferred to come back to kite in São Vicente.
Facilities : the beach is not more tha 2km away from the main city Port Novo. You can sleep in Cap-Azul Guesthouse which is just close to the spot and it offers an amazing view. Than you’ll find an italian bar on the beach, the Morabeza Beachclub.
Danger : Getting into the water due to the thousand of stones on the shore. Not adviced for beginners.
Warning : Be careful about how deep is the water. Sometimes can become shallow and getting dangerous.
An atypical spot in an island not favourable to kitesurf
Salamansa – São Vicente
Salamansa spot is more a wave riding spot, as Cape Verde in general. Just in front of the main beach the spot isn’t so good cause the waves break too fast and wind blows almost on shore. You should go at the end of the pointed tip on the est side to get the best waves.
Freestyle and freeride aren’t the best disciplines here due to the wave and choppy water. But you can enjoy some big jump thanks to the waves that creates a nice kicker. Watch out the distance to the shore cause the wind is on shore.
On – Side on
The waves break close to the shore so it’s not easy for beginners. Sometimes overcome the waves can be tricky. That’s the reason why all who as an intermediate level should watch put and analyze the waves between to get into the ocean.
The wind is always on-shore and the water it’s never flat.
Facilities : you can find 2 kite schools that offer also food service. In the village you have one kitehouse. Otherwise the village isn’t not well connected by public transport to the main city Mindelo.
Danger : looking at the ocean, just in front of the kite schools, the wave get a bit bigger on the left side but be careful cause of the rocky seabed.
Warning : You have to pay attention about the close shorebreak.
Looking at the ocean go toward the east edge and you will find the best waves.
Not far from Salamansa you will find the only flat spot of the island. It’s a natural swimming pool.
The spot it’s tiny, two kites are gonna be enough to fill out the pool.
It’s the harbour area just in front of Mindelo.
The wind is super gusty due to the mountains that protect the bay and to the big boats. The ocean is rough.
It’s absolutely not for beginners and even not adviced for who has an intermediate level.
At low tide get into the water it’s a real challenge cause all the sharp rocks come up at the same time and they are full of sea urchin. At high tide I guess it’s easier but you don’t sea where the rocks are, so it can be dangerous.
All those spots are wave spots for who has an advanced level. Some of them are not easy to reach, the best and easiest way it’s to rent a car or ask to a taxi to come back and pick you up. Otherwise you are gonna have a long walk back.
TRANSPORTS AND ACCOMMODATION
The typical public transport in Cape Verde are the “lugare” o “collectivos”, a van converted in collective taxi. The cost of those collectivos is around 100 CVE por km while a private taxi can cost you 1.000 CVE per km. Taxi is 10 times more expensive so be careful to speak to the driver before to get into the van.
To rent a normal car it can cost you around 60€ per day. It’s pretty expensive.
If you want to go kiting in Paraia do Topo in Santo Antão island either you rent a car or you sleep on the spot, bacause the collectivos goes and back from Ponta so Sol to Porto Novo just twice a day. The taxi can cost you up to 45€ (more than 2h ride).
In São Vicente the taxi it’s not that expensive (unless you do it daily) and you can go from Mindelo to Salamansa paying 800 – 1000 CVE (around 8-10€) each way.
You have more options, it depens on what you are looking for.
In Santo Antão I loved staying in Ponta do Sol, which is a nice village and it has a really nice hotel Miranda & Miranda. If you want just to kite you have to go to Cap-Azul Guesthouse in Praia do Topo.
In São Vicente it depends on your budget. If you are looking for something cheap but nice I advice you Vanilla Residencial owned by a nice and frindly girl, Katy. If you want to have the best Mindelo view and you are looking a comfort place you have to go to Terra Lodge. Theo, the owner, is also running the best trekking agency in Cape Verde and it can advice you in the best way.
OTHER USEFUL INFOS
Is it expensive ?
Santo Antão and Sao Vicenteare two relatively cheap destinations for European people if you pay attention about you pay, otherwise it can become expensive. I make you a couple of example to give you a better idea about prices (1€ = 110CVE) :
- Restaurant, the most common meal is about fish or chicken. If you go in the right place you have a whole fish for 800-900CVE, while the wine can cost up to 1.800-2.000 CVE. If you don’t drink wine you can have an amazing dinner spending around 10-15€.
- Transport, taking a collectivos or a taxi you can easuly spend 100 CVE up to 4.500 CVE. Then to go from one island to the other you have the boat which has a standard fare : 800 CVE each way.
- Accomodation, it depends on you, you can pay 26-27€ per night per two people as spend more than 100€ per night.
European people need a visa but it’s pretty easy to get one. You don’t need any photo id to carry with you. You just need to have 25€ cash once you arrived in São Vicente ariport. Here they want Euros rather than Dollars.
Airline companies and kite luggage
Tap Airlines is the main company who connect Europe to the archipelago and you can pay the ticket directly on their website. Unfortunately you have to pay always an extra for you sport equipement that has to be not heavier than 32kg. If it’s a continental flight it costs 50€, if it’s intercontinental flight it costs you 100€ per way. Once you payed you can carry you kite bag + another normal bag.
The price ticket can fluctuate between 300€ and 700€, it all depends on the period. The cheaper airport is Lisbon, and if you don’t leave from here you are gonna do a stopover there.
Recommended for ?
All the kiter who is looking for differents and uncrowded spots, who has mostly an intermediate or advanced level, who prefers wave riding.
Extra activities ?
- The main activity that take lots of tourist in Santo Antão is trekking. There are more path that go through the island.
- Another popular activity is fishing. There are some private charter organised to fish Marlin, but it cost around 900€ per day.
- Surf e bodyboard.
The best place where to party or go out is Mindelo in São Vicente. It is considered the cultural capital of the country. During the Carnival you are gonna find a crazy atmosphere but it can become a bit more dangerous and expensive.