Past Travels
Travel Pictures



After I had completed a day trip from Cova crater to Pico da Cruz and back, and then down to the valley of Paul, I was all well set for the things which then should follow. From Cova crater down into the valley the trail was winding down in narrow and steep switchbacks, which meant a lot of strain for the toes (there are hardly any steps, but the trails have an immense gradient). The valleys around Paul are superbly green, because they receive sufficient moisture by the trade wind clouds, even during times with lesser rain.

View from Pico da Cruz towards Cabo da Ribeira (End of Paul valley)

Trade wind clouds

View into the valley Paul

Surrounding ridges

Paul valley

The desccend from Cova Crater is visible

Cova Crater

Down into Paul valley

Looking back towards the end of the valley

Traditional house

Cultivation of bananas and papaya

At the coast in Vila das Pombas

Near Vila das Pombas

Starting point of my four days trip which then followed was the most northern point of the island, the village Ponta do Sol.

Ponta do Sol

At the harbour

1. Day: from Ponta do Sol to Cruzinha da Garca

A narrow and unfrequently used dust road along the coast took me up to the village Fonteinhas. Because of its scenic location and easy reachability, it has become one of the most photographed sites of the island. This is where the road ends, and a well plastered and stone wall bordered mule trail continues along the coast. Again and again, gaps in the wall show that there is rockfall. Looking upwards can be disturbing, countless rocks are hanging loose and will eventually start their way down with continuing erosion after rainfall or strong winds. I passed along several beaches which were very inviting to get a chill down. I then also passed a small settlement which had been abandoned, something I noticed several times during my trip. Later I met the road again, which is interrupted between Fonteinhas and Cruzinha, but I decided to continue along a beach where turtles lay their eggs and further along the coast until I reached the village. I dropped my luggage in the guesthouse where I would spend the night, and since I still had enough time after the six hours walking, I then undertook a side trip to Chã de Igreja and further on up a pass which leads to Mocha valley.

Looking down onto Ponta do Sol


Top of a pass behind Fonteinhas

View of Cha de Igreja

Mocho valley

House at the saddle

2. Day: to Figueiras de Cima

When I took breakfast a man from the guesthouse staff approached me and said that he would accompany me along the stone beach up to the entrance point of the gorge Ribeira de Inverno, because some part would be quite difficult to manage. Of course I knew what he meant. There is a section where the coast bulks out and therefore, it can only be passed during low tide. I had inquired about the best time, and I was told that 8.00 am would be good to go. Since I was ready at that time but could not see the guy, I decided to walk alone, with the good feeling that it was at low tide. Around half an hour later I arrived at the site, and the waves slapped against the rock. I put down both backpacks and tested how it was possible to walk through the water. I waded over stones and stood kneedeep in the water, then the next wave came in, slapped against the rock, and made me wet all over. So I realized that I had to do something in order to bring the content of my backpacks safely to the other side. I packed everything into plastic bags. I observed that after some higher waves some came in lower, so I wated for the first low wave before I rushed through the water to the other side. Then I went back and used the same startegy once more. Safely arrived, I entered the gorge, and saw another abandoned settlement in front. Before I reached it, the trail turned steeply upwards. It seemed to me that the climb would never come to an end. When I finally arrived at the top of the pass, I met the first and only other trekker for the remaining three days. Eventually the trail led down again and then I faced a crucial decision: one trail ran steeply up again, another one horizontally. With no doubt my compass told me to go up, but I decided for the flat trail, at that time it was just my wish. Consequently the trail went further down to Figueiras de Baixo, but in the end I had to make up for it. A longer climb was inevitable. After nine hours I arrived rather exhausted at the destination of the second lap, and found some private accomodation for the night at an older couple’s house. Dinner was plentiful and delicious, as it was all the time.

View from the beach towards Cruzinha da Garca

The passage through the water

Ribeira de Inverno

Looking down onto Cruzinha

The forking trail

Between Figueiras de Baixo and Figueiras de Cima

Ecclesial procession

Traditional houses in Figueiras de Cima

3. Day: to Alto Mira III

The rock face which had to be scaled was clearly visible from the house. My hostess was shocked when she saw me in full gear with two backpacks. To me it did not appear too dramatic. After that climb I would spend some time on the road which starts right there and then runs through the highland. When I arrived on top I realized soon that the continuation was not much more relaxing either. For one thing the ascent was still enormous, for another thing the sun was now burning down on me without mercy. Next target point was Salto Preto  some three kilometers further, a steep descent down into Alto Mira valley. From the road, two small bypasses lead to its starting point. I actually saw two small footpaths branch away to the right one after another, but I had the impression that they ended up in the fields, and it did not appear to me that I had already spent so much time on the road. Fifteen minutes later I fortunately met two locals, carrying bundles of firewood on their heads. They explained to me that I had passed the connecting trail some time ago, so I turned and walked with them. Indeed, those were the paths I had seen before, and shortly after I stood on a rock where Salto Preto had its starting point. The trail winded down in narrow and steep serpentines with sometimes shaky ground and approximately sevenhundred meters in height. After a short distance an intentionally chipped off little tree blocked the trail. I moved it to the side and continued, but then I wondered why someone had done this. Was it a hint that the trail was no longer safe to walk on?* Anyway, I was feeling a little bit insecure, what could I do if such a situation came up? I determined that I would leave my big backpack behind in order to be able to climb to the top again, and started reducing the consumption of my water supply. I only gained more confidence when I was “close” enough to hear dogs barking and cocks coo. But there was still a good distance left to go, because the trail goes all the way down into a gorge, only to wind itself steeply up again on the other side. Having finally arrived in the village I headed into the next grocery store and emptied five small bottles of lemonade in no time. Completely exhausted as I was, I stayed on the terrace for half an hour. Now it’s the right time to speak about the main problem:

there are rarely any opportunities to stock up food supplies along the way or for the next day unless one eats canned fish or fried sausage. Fruits were not available. I therefore contented myself with biscuits filled with chocolate, which was by far not sufficient to cover the energy needs underway.

Alto Mira III was situated higher up, but was manageable after the rest I had and with the energy I regained. I felt relieved when I finally arrived. With the support of a local man I found some private accommodation and received again a very rich dinner. The village was accessible by road, so I was very pleased to know that I could take an aluguer (shuttle) if I did not feel fit enough the next day.

 *One of the travel book authors Cabo Verde – Reise Know How, Dr. Pitt Reitmeier, whom I first met on the ferry from Santo Antão to Sao Vicente and several times again, explained to me later that the locals do that because of the goats. It prevents them from going further down, but find something to eat there.

The trail runs high into the rock face

View towards Salto Preto

View from Salto Preto down to Alto Mira II and III (upper left)

Alto Mira II

Before Alto Mira III

4. Day: to Chã de Morte

Since I had to some degree recovered from the previous day, I was determined to master also the rest of the trip, it was only another three hours walk. Again I went steeply uphill, passing bizarre rock formations, and eventually arrived on the top of the pass, a mountain gap. From there I had a superb view of the valley Ribeira das Patas and onto my final destination, the village Chã de Morte. Going downwards was at first quite steep again, the trail later flattened a bit and in the end I came through downs, which made walking pleasantly relaxing. Before arrival I had to traverse one more gorge, steeply down, then steeply up, and in this way I completed my trip. After I had dropped my big backpack at Tia Rosa’s grocery store, I strolled through the village and then waited at her shop for the next aluguer which would take me to the islands capital Porto Novo.

At Alto Mira III

Looking up to the mountain gap

Last sight of Alto Mira III

The valley Ribeira das Patas

Cha de Morte in the distance

The last gorge

Cha de Morte

Bordeira de Norte

At Porto Novo harbour


Mindelo, island capital of Sao Vicente

Tip: for hiking on Santo Antão I recommend to acquire the hiking book (only in German) and the corresponding hiking map published by Goldstadt. The trails are described in detail, and GPS data is also available. 


I subsequently flew back to Cabo Verde’s capital Praia, Santiago, and from there to Fogo, in order to climb up the active volcano Pico de Fogo (2829 m) beside some other activities. Following are some pictures.

Pico de Fogo during landing approach

The island capital Sao Filipe

Pico de Fogo and Pico Pequeno

One of the two villages in the caldera, Bangaeira

Bangaeira and Portela seen from the northern Bordeira

View from Monte Gomes, northern Bordeira

Gap in the Bordeira, down to the ocean

Vineyard and vegetable cultivation

View down to Mosteiros

In the sunset light

Gas vents during the ascent to the Pico

Pico de Fogo crater

The good fun descent

The new crater Pico Pequeno

Funnels caused by gas eruptions

Lava fields from various eruptions


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Stand: 25.07.09