World Travelling Guide
World Travelling Guide

Accommodation in Southern Africa and South Africa including accommodation in Western Cape, Eastern Cape, Northern Cape, Gauteng, Limpopo Province, North West Province, Free State, Kwazulu-Natal, Mpumalanga

List of Countries

Cape Verde Travelling Guide
Cape Verde Travelling Guide

General background: The uninhabited islands were discovered and colonized by the Portuguese in the 15th century; they subsequently became a trading center for African slaves and later an important coaling and resupply stop for whaling and transatlantic shipping. Most Cape Verdeans have both African and Portuguese antecedents. Independence was achieved in 1975.

Area comparative: Slightly larger than Rhode Island

Climate: Temperate; warm, dry summer; precipitation meager and very erratic

Terrain: Steep, rugged, rocky, volcanic

Population: 408,760 (July 2002 est.)

Ethnic groups: Creole (mulatto) 71%, African 28%, European 1%

Religions: Roman Catholic (infused with indigenous beliefs); Protestant (mostly Church of the Nazarene)

Language: Portuguese, Crioulo (a blend of Portuguese and West African words)

Government type: Republic

Capital: Praia

Legal system: Derived from the legal system of Portugal

Economic overview: Cape Verde suffers from a poor natural resource base, including serious water shortages exacerbated by cycles of long-term drought. The economy is service-oriented, with commerce, transport, and public services accounting for 70% of GDP. Although nearly 70% of the population lives in rural areas, the share of agriculture in GDP in 2001 was only 11%, of which fishing accounts for 1.5%. About 82% of food must be imported. The fishing potential, mostly lobster and tuna, is not fully exploited. Cape Verde annually runs a high trade deficit, financed by foreign aid and remittances from emigrants; remittances supplement GDP by more than 20%. Economic reforms, launched by the new democratic government in 1991, are aimed at developing the private sector and attracting foreign investment to diversify the economy. Prospects for 2002 depend heavily on the maintenance of aid flows, remittances, and the momentum of the government's development program.

Communication/Telephone system:
Effective system, being improved, interisland microwave radio relay system with both analog and digital exchanges; work is in progress on a submarine fiber-optic cable system which is scheduled for completion in 2003. 2 coaxial submarine cables; HF radiotelephone to Senegal and Guinea-Bissau; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean).

Places of interest: There's good diving and hiking, lively nightlife and plenty of quiet corners to hide away in. Islanders mix up African, Portuguese, Mediterranean and Latin influences and come out with a flavor that's distinctly 'Cabo'.

Travel tips: The islands of the Cape Verde archipelago are windy, hilly and dry - almost lunar - and beyond that they're fairly sleepy.