Cape Verde Island Guide – Sal
Floating just off the African coastline, the colourful archipelago of Cape Verde is a nation of contrasts. From endless sands dipping into the turquoise sea to the abundance of life that inhabits a blanket of green on islands crowned by volcanic peaks. The inhabitants welcome visitors into their fold with an enthusiasm you wont find in many other places and can’t wait to share their patchwork of cultures. the nation’s favourite beaches sit in the heart of this culture on the beautiful island of Sal.
Literally translated as ‘salt’, Sal is a sandy northern island home to the former salt industry. These days, the island is home to a string of glitzy seaside resorts, ready to make the most of the fantastic water sports on offer and providing a tranquil escape for those who want it. Journey across this tiny island however, and you will find more than enough to fill your time.
Leave 10 Years Younger
Formerly home to a thriving salt industry, the island now opens the mammoth salt ponds up to those who want to explore a more unusual experience in its waters. Step in to the salty depths and lie back to find waters you float on the surface of. With an incredible density, the waters create a similar experience to the famous dead sea in that it won’t let you sink. Even non-swimmers will find themselves floating on the surface with the waters rumoured to leave you 10 years younger than when you entered. Leave the salt on your skin for the full effect, or wash it off in one of the showers-for-hire if this is a stop-off on a longer trip.
Watch a New Life Begin
A popular nesting destination for giant loggerhead turtles, conservationists patrol the shores of Sal in nesting season to protect the many hatching sites here. Join one of them as they take you along on their rounds and, if you are lucky, you might catch a glimpse of the astounding nesting and hatching process. Just be sure to take a light jacket as the visits take place at night.
Swim With Sharks
The giant loggerhead turtles are not the only ones to make the island of Sal their home. Head to Shark Beach for the chance to get up-close-and-personal with the resident lemon sharks. Safe for humans, these giant sea-dwellers can be spotted in the waves, with the shallower waters housing their younger, and more inquisitive, counterparts. Step into the water for the unique experience of them swimming around your feet… if you stay still long enough!
Find an Oasis
Built by an ingenious island-dweller who saw a way to reuse water waste from surrounding hotels. The botanical garden is home to the greenest and most colourful sights on Cape Verde’s Sal island. Having created a sanctuary for abandoned animals, the gardens offer the opportunity to see mischievous monkeys, rabbits and more in a sea of colourful flowers and green lawns.
Take a drive out into the desert to catch a glimpse of the unusual mirages found there. You’ll be second-guessing yourself as you see cars driving across imaginary lakes. These sands also give you the chance to create your very own perspective-twisting image on the sandy flats.