Our trip to Sal, Cape Verde
We flew with Thomson Airlines from Gatwick to Sal, Cape Verde but since we’re locals now its Cabo Verd …
I find alot of people don’t know where Cape Verde is, so here’s a synopsis
Departure Date: June 18th 2012
Where: One hour south of the Canary Islands, One hour west of Senegal just off the coast of Africa.
Local Language: Portuguese // Creole
Local Money: Escudos but they take Euros.
Weather: Close to the Equator, so it’s hot all year round!
This was another birthday trip, so we were travelling in a group of twenty…
The Flight: Simply because there’s one flight and one flight only with Thomson ( not my favourite airline in the world, but also probably one of theee most uncomfortable ever (you can’t pay for extra leg room or an upgrade – neither exist) However I’ve been assured Thomson have now bought some Dreamliners – which are MUCH better but not sure whether they do this route.)
Flight Time: 5hours 50 – Pah! There was a time I used to love flying as a kid now it’s more of an inconvenience when wanting to get to your destination quicker. Flight go without a hitch?!: Of course it bloody well didn’t. Had to be the first time we fly here that a warning light on the plane comes on, and we are forced to land in Tenerife. Delayed our journey by an hour or so which wasn’t great but unavoidable it would seem.
Arrived into Cape Verde and stepped out onto the tarmac… arrived into immigration and the waiting began.
Note: If you buy a package deal with Thomson to Cape Verde, because this airline currently has the monopoly and is the only carrier who currently flies here direct ( the other is Tap Air via Portugal), you will get a visa as part of your package. If not, you will pay 25 Euros for a visa when you land. Passport control was very laid back and slow, so be prepared to be patient. A major refurbishment of the airport will happen shortly, I was informed. We were picked up by our transfer guys, George and Mamadu. The minute we met them we hit it off! Baggage loaded onto the truck and us in two minibuses, we were good to go.
We arrived at the resort about 15 minutes later, which was fantastic. Choice of place to stay: Sol Melia Tortuga Beach Hotel and Spa Resort. Recommend? Definitely. The staff are fantastic and once they get an upgrade on a couple of services ( i.e getting food out of hours etc) it’ll be great and will then actually be a 5 star resort.
After arriving we were introduced to the manager – Ronald who gave us a run down of everything we needed to know regarding the resort. We then walked down towards the beach where our villas were situated and decided to get acquainted with our abode for the week, as we all stepped outside we realised not only was the beach there so was the bar!
We neglected to take Ronald’s advice at Check – in and didn’t bother with the all inclusive wristbands until we went to order 6 sandwiches at the bar which came to 50 euros and quickly re – thought our decision and corrected our mistake before breakfast the next morning!
My Advice: Get the band!
Dinner was at O Grille, the beach side bar, a 30 second walk from the villa. You have to pre – book for this particular eatery. Daniel and Elisabeth were the staff that evening – It was the first time in the week we met them and they went above and beyond for the entire week following this day.
Strange selection of food but we always try something once. We realised when the staff gave us a buzzer that omits a noise to warn away a large number of cats, that Cape Verde either likes Cats or they have the world’s supply of cats…both are seemingly true.
We visited a restaurant where we planned to have a BBQ in the days to come, whilst meeting with the owners, We called over three local boys, as we had bought one too many drinks and gave them the extra 7ups we bought. I’ve never seen three boys so elated. They ran with the bottle, jumped on a rock… put sugar in it, so it fizzed like Champagne, held it up like a trophy and then shared it…! It sure did make me smile…
The Cape Verdeans are a gorgeous set of people… seriously! Also some of the most friendly… that is until we encountered 2 very rude ones at Morabeza Hotel… thankfully my table had not only the best service, but the best food but the rest of our group weren’t so lucky.
We spent the night in the Champagne Bar on the resort, a gorgeous and very glam little bar on the resort. If I remember correctly – this may have been the one venue your All – Inclusive band doesn’t cover your drinks for.
Later on in the week, We arranged a BBQ at the beach side at the lovely Odjo D’ Agua. Beautiful spot next to a lovely restaurant.
The next day we decided to do an Island Tour…there isn’t much to see on this island just yet but still things to learn and experience…Our Driver, Mamadu picked us up in the truck,and our first experience was seeing a mirage…Some of the terrain is almost desert like at times. First, we spotted this natural tidal swimming pool that you can climb along the rocks into We then visited the Blue Eye, A tourist attraction of a very deep hole where the daylight and water meet and create a very bright blue neon light.
On our visit, it maybe worth noting there are no barriers – so approach with caution! So thankfully Mamadu offered to take my pictures for me… I did tell him if he drops my phone into the blue eye, that I wouldn’t be happy, he offered me his car keys as a consolation prize…!Apparently some diver groups actually dive into this tunnel! I didn’t witness this…
The island used to be the centre of Salt Mining. ( Hence the name Sal) We therefore visited a place called Pedra de Lume, which is a salt lake in the mouth of a long extinct volcano. Due to the high levels of Salt in the water ( which you DON’T want to get in your eye) you will float, it’s roughly 2metres deep and is completely free! Though what you have to walk on can be a little sharp, so if you do have those waterproof type shoes, I’d advise you use them.Don’t bother stopping at the place here to eat… Good hospitality isn’t their strong point, you are better off an alternative.
To end the tour, we stopped at this wonderful little restaurant downtown…
we then returned to the hotel and watched a Zumba performance at O Grille.
We had dinner at Agua D’ Odjo restaurant this time. The meal was great, except for the cat that kept running through our legs under the table. We were then taking out to three local bars, one of which is a nightclub to enjoy the nightlife Cape Verde had to offer.
The next day, we hired a catamaran and although we had a lovely journey out to sea, Jumped off the boat etc, the journey back reminded me of one of those perfect storm movies. I think maybe 8 of us were sea sick. I’m still trying to work out whether the sea was choppy or whether our captain thought he’d play an unfunny game.
My Last day was spent returning to Hotel Morabeza which is incredibly stunning in the day. Disputably this is probably one of the best beaches also as the beaches by the Melia resort can be a little stony, it was lovely to feel pure sand. I really enjoyed this place, I’ll remember both the food and the people first. They are both friendly and gorgeous and the food so flavoursome. I can see this place has some real potential to finally make some money from tourism as other than Salt there is no real trade for anything else here. I’m glad I experienced it in it’s unspoilt state and I look forward to returning in a few years to see how it’s changed.