WHAT does the 2 Week Adventure Involve?
Why Involvement Volunteers International?
PROJECT NAME: 2 WEEK ADVENTURE
LOCATION: SANTIAGO ISLAND
START DATES: EVERY SECOND MONDAY (SAT/SUN ARRIVALS)
ACCOMMODATION: VOLUNTEER HOUSE (SHARED ROOMS)
MIN DURATION: 2 WEEKS
MIN AGE: 16+
SPECIAL REQUIREMENTS: N/A
PROJECT COSTS: (Please Enquire)
Get ready for the ultimate Cape Verdean adventure! During this fun packed 2 weeks you will visit the highlights of Santiago island. We will take part in adventurous activities such as hiking, trekking, visiting traditional villages and even exploring a rum factory! Not only does this island have active outdoor adventures, it also has some of the best beaches, with blue waters and golden sands. It’s also an excellent spot for diving and snorkelling. Please see dropdown section below for full schedule.
Tarrafal (also named Mangui or Mangu), gets its name from the indigenous plant Tarrafe (Tamarix senegalensis). It is located on the Northern part of Santiago island. It is also a municipality (government town) and a fishing town.
- To gain an introduction to Cape Verdean culture and become immersed in the local lifestyle
- To experience the best of the island, explore local areas
- Enquire a deeper understanding of the local culture.
Food & Accommodation
You will stay in our volunteer house in Tarrafal. Rooms are singer gender and shared with other volunteers (around 4-8 per room). Tea, Coffee and Drinking water are provided, as well as wifi, hot showers, lockable rooms, bed linen and fans.
There are ATMs, small supermarkets and some shops and restaurants available in the city centre.
Three meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner) during the week and two meals (breakfast, dinner) during weekends are provided. Local food is a mix of West African, European and Portuguese cuisine. Typical is fresh seafood, corns, beans, rice, potatoes, stews and vegetables. Your daily meals will contain a mix of local and various types of Western food.
If you enjoy treking and exploring in the wilderness, this would be a great way to explore the island, whilst doing active activites such as hiking, cycling and snorkelling. It’s also a great way to meet and make friends with everyone else whos volunteering.
- 3 meals p/day weekdays / 2 meals p/day weekends
- Arrival airport transfer (Sat/Sun arrivals)
- Filtered drinking water, coffee & tea
- 1 day orientation
- Daily transportation to project
- In country 24/7 support & emergency assistance
- Fundraising support
- University course credits (where applicable)
- Certificate of Completion
- Travel Insurance
- Tours, Souvenirs & spending money
Mandatory Orientation Day
On your first Monday you will join our welcome orientation day, to get familiarised with your new surroundings, as well as the local culture. Your project will continue as usual from Tuesday and throughout the rest of the week.
- Welcome meeting, introduction to Cape Verdean traditions and customs, general house rules, code of conduct and sorting important documents
- Basic Kriolu language lesson
- Visit to the local supermarket and ATMs, a tour of the nearby surroundings and the volunteer centre.
- Spend some time on Mar De President beach, before returning back to the accommodation for dinner.
“Yasi” is the name for the local minibuses, which are the most popular way to travel within the islands of Cape Verde. They can accommodate around 12 to 14 passengers. For shorter distances and in rural areas there is also the pickup trucks and cab options.
Taxis are frequently found in the cities of Praia and Assomada, with unique painted colours in the two cities. Taxi’s in Praia are painted in beige and taxis in Assomada are painted in white. The taxis occasionally have a meter attached, however they are rarely used, as the rates which are typically accepted are cheaper than they would be on the meter.
Day 1: Sunday
Arrival and transfer to your accommodation.
Day 2: Monday
Northern part of Santiago island
Today is when the adventure begins! We will be visiting the lush green valleys of the North part of Santiago island, admiring the beautiful landscapes and interacting with local people in the villages. Here, we will have the chance to visit a local rum distillery, including a rum tasting!
Later on, we will explore the island’s oldest and largest water dam. After lunch at a local restaurant, we take a trip to the famous black beaches.
Day 3: Tuesday
Serra Malagueta to Mato Brasil Trek
Today, you will take a scenic walking trail from Serra Malagueta to Achada Lagoa and to Mato Brasil. This hiking trail has some remarkable views over the Northern part of the island.
Day 4: Wednesday
Hiking with Lunch at local farmer’s house
Today we will walk the mountains of Serra Malagueta, having lunch at an organic farm. In the valley of Lagoa, you will get the chance to see a traditional Cape Verdean village. Along the trail you’ll see agricultural landscapes and a small oasis. You will meet a local farming family, interact with them and have a tour of their home. Lunch will be served at the farmer’s house.
During this 2 hour hiking trail you may even spot monkeys along the way.
Day 5: Thursday
Gon-Gon – the “King-Track”
Named after the Bird Gon-Gon, the valley of Gon-gon consists of an incredibly beautiful landscape in which we will be hiking through, taking in the stunning views along the way. This hike may be challenging and is classified for accustomed hikers, because of the height and duration of the trek.
We will begin from the nature park of Serra Malagueta, venture down into the Gon-gon valley and then back up, over a ridge. Then it’s downhill all the way through the valley of Principal, until we reach the ocean. The trek is very diverse, with beautiful views throughout- it’s been named the King of Tracks!
*Duration: About 6 hours, Difficulty level: Level 4 (Accustomed hikers)
Day 6: Friday
Mountain Cycling Trip
Today, we will go on a 6 hour cycling tour around the beautiful Tarrafal area, taking in the natural surroundings of the island.
Day 7: Saturday
Free time to relax.
Day 8: Sunday
Free time to relax.
Day 9: Monday
Tarrafal has some incredible snorkelling, so today we will go on an underwater adventure on a 2 hour snorkelling trip. The trip will leave from Ponta Atum or at another beach. Your snorkelling guide will advise you on the best spots in Tarrafal and show you some of most exciting marine life.
Day 10: Tuesday
Snorkelling with a fishing boat
Today, we will take part in more snorkelling- this time further out in the ocean around Tarrafal. Venturing further out from the cliffs of Tarrafal, we will have the opportunity to spot a diverse number of fish and if you’re lucky you may even get the chance to swim with the sea turtles!
The day will begin first at the snorkelling centre in Tarrafal, where you will be taught basic technical skills before heading out to sea for a 2 hour trip.
Day 11: Wednesday
Today, we hop into sea kayaks and paddle out to explore the pristine waters surrounding Tarrafal. You will first receive a short briefing on basic paddling techniques before we start. You will also get to visit a nearby lighthouse, enjoying fascinating views of the ocean.
Day 12: Thursday
Kayaking, Fishing Trip and BBQ
Head out into the blue ocean with a local fisherman and catch your own fresh fish! On this boat trip you will catch your dinner, which will be put on the grill a few hours later.
We will leave in the morning-midday (depending on the weather conditions) to catch some fresh fish, the local fishermen knows the best spots and where to find them.
Once returning from the fishing trip, we will have a BBQ with grilled fish caught by YOU!
Day 13: Friday
Island of Santiago
On your last day on Santiago island we will explore some of the off the beaten paths and local areas. We will visit a pottery craft workshop and explore around the Northern areas of Santiago, where we visit an old Lighthouse and an ancient village. Later, we also discover the Tsunami Boulders, which were left by a mega tsunami thousands of years ago.
Day 14: Saturday
This is your last day and we say farewell to the local team and fellow travellers.
Tarrafal beach is the closest to where you will be staying and is situated in a pretty cove, popular for snorkelling and diving in its deep blue waters. This is the perfect way to relax on your day off, plus it’s said to be the best beach on the island!
Santa Maria Beach
This stunning beach is one of Cape Verde’s most popular and is situated on Sal island. With golden sand and turquoise blue waters, perfect for swimming, this is the ultimate beach lover’s paradise. There are numerous hotels and restaurants nearby too.
Santa Monica Beach
This is a huge beach on Boa Vista island, stretching for 10km. Much quieter, with few resorts, this expansive beach is perfect for those looking for a more deserted place, away from tourists.
Santo Antao Island
The most Western island in Cape Verde, Santo Antao is the most ‘off the beaten track’ and packed with lush green forest, banana, papaya and mango trees, tall mountains, terrace fields and many walking trails. This island was made for a true adventure!
Pedra de Lume Salt Mines
Visit the salt mines on Sal island, where you can even soak in the salty water. They are surrounded by old volcanic craters and a pretty spectacular view.
Go Shark Spotting
Also on Sal island, is Shark Bay, where you will find groups of lemon sharks swimming up and down the coast line. You can swim out close to them as they are not harmful to humans.
Pico do Fogo
Pico do Fogo is an active volcano on Fogo island, which sits at 2829m. For those who love outdoor adventures, you can climb the peak, which will take around 3-6 hours.
Cidade Velha Old Fort
Cidade Velha old fort is situated on Santiago island (where you will be staying) and is the remains of an old fortress and town built by the Portuguese in 1462. Its situated on a hill with stunning views out over the island.
This is a very pretty city, with cobbled streets, colourful colonial buildings and a relaxing harbour. Its situated on the island of Sao Vicente, which is known for its music, culture and nightlife, as well as its carnivals. Mindelo is a lively and traditional town with lots of live music during the evenings.
This is the bustling and lively capital of Santiago island, home to a great local market selling fresh produce and spices. Here you will find many restaurants, colonial buildings and museums.
Cape Verde has many other exciting activities on offer from horse riding, quad biking, fishing, diving, snorkelling, turtle viewing, kite surfing, and sightseeing in the old colonial towns and villages.
- No extra requirements
The spectacular and diverse islands of Cape Verde were originally uninhabited, until they were discovered by Portuguese sailors in the 15th century. The country was known for its slave trade throughout the 16th and the 17th centuries but the decline of this trade in the 19th century, sent the country into economic crisis. However, the island survived, as it became an important commercial hub in the 19th century, being a perfect location for re-supply of major ships. In the present day, it still relies on these services, as well as targeting an ever-growing tourism industry.
Cape Verde’s islands can vary dramatically, some being flat, with golden sand beaches and some being mountainous and volcanic. From salt mines, volcanoes, forests, colonial towns and picturesque beaches, Cape Verde is an adventurous destination!
Cape Verde has a mild year-round climate compared to Africa’s mainland, with average temperatures of 26 °C in February and 31 °C in September. Between August and October, the country experiences irregular rainfall, with September having maximum rainfall. The islands are rich in vegetation and forests, with some being particularly dry due to their close proximity to the Sahara. The islands have a number of endemic species (mostly birds and reptiles) due to the country once being uninhabited, however these species are becoming increasingly threatened by human development.
The culture in Cape Verde is very much influenced by the Portuguese, who discovered the island, with Portuguese social and cultural patterns being displayed in some parts. Cape Verdean people are descendants from African slaves and European migrants, resulting in many of the inhabitants being of mixed race. The majority of the population are Roman Catholic, with lots of churches on the island. The locals also love a game of football!
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