The Fiery Fury of Cape Verde


The last eruption of Pico do Fogo was in 1995.

The last eruption of Pico do Fogo was in 1995, so don't be too alarmed at the word 'fiery'. However, due to the impact and challenge of this local landmark, the title of a ‘fiery fury’ is actually justly deserved. In any case, hiking up the steep slopes of this majestic colossus is without a doubt one of the best things to do in Cape Verde.

Proudly protruding upon a seamless skyline, Fogo volcano stands as the highest peak of the Cape Verde archipelago. Located on the island of Fogo and soaring to 2,829 metres above sea level, this towering tyrant presents an amazing, if slightly arduous, amble to the tip of its prism peak. And one which Sandra Westermann, from Vista Verde Tours, felt the all too familiar call of. Here, she recounts her rewarding conquering of Cape Verde’s fiery fury….

I woke excitedly at 5am only to the delight of my partner snoring beside me. When we finally arrived on Fogo, one of the spectacular islands of Cape Verde, I knew the great challenge that lay ahead of me.

After a two hour transfer to Cha das Caldeiras, a small village hidden within a caldera of the volcano, we caught our first glimpse of the tip of the soaring sight. Being the highest peak in Cape Verde and the second highest volcano in the North Atlantic area, the sight of Fogo provided a jaw-dropping moment.

Fogo volcanoFogo volcanoCha das CaldeirasCha das Caldeiras

Happily escorted by our local guide, we were able to trek to the very top of this sizeable volcano. What amazed us most during the climb was the beautiful tranquillity as dawn fell upon the island. All that we could hear was the soft tread of our footsteps on the lava sand and the distant cries of a few cockerels.

Walking along in a steady silence for the next hour, we passed the towns of Portela and Bangaeira, hidden by the deep recesses of the dark crater rim. Here our guide explained the history of how the last eruption in 1995 caused a lot of cultural devastation. Now however, towns such as these survive on the produce of coffee and apple plantations, helping to support local life.

During our little history lesson, a magical moment happened; the sun rose over the crater rim, bathing the whole island in a warm yellow glow. It was truly breath-taking.

After another three and a half hours, and as our breath began to become short and our muscles began to ache, we finally reached the prism-peak of this impressive volcano. Blessed with a blissfully clear day, we could see for miles across the neighbouring islands of Santiago and Maio, providing a beautiful panorama.

Fogo - flickr credit: molinazFogo - flickr credit: molinaz

After a few pictures of looking tired and triumphant at the summit, we began our descent back down the volcano, smiling and chatting happily from our rapturous reward. When we reached the towns we noticed the sudden change, a new lease of life with women busy washing clothes, children playing on the street and people working in the fields.

Watching the world go by from a little local bar called ‘Ramiro’, we toasted our success at conquering the fiery fury that is Fogo volcano….”

For more information on Cape Verde or climbing Fogo Volcano, contact the local agency Vista Verde Tours who will happily help you create your own Cape Verde itinerary.

Fogo - flickr credit: molinazFogo - flickr credit: molinaz

Main image by F H Mira(Flickr)