Fogo

Travel Guide Africa Cape Verde Fogo

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Introduction

Fogo is one of the Cape Verde Islands in the Atlantic. It is part of the Cape Verde archipelago Ilhas de Sotavento (Eng.: "Leeward Islands") and lies east of the islands Brava and west of Santiago. The Pico do Fogo is with 2829 metres the second highest mountain in the Atlantic and dominated the island, which has a diameter of about 26 kilometres. The seabed here is on about 5,300 metres, making the cone then measuring approximately 8,100 metres from base to tip. The cone rises about 1,000 m above the caldera. On the flank of Pico do Fogo, the last active 1995 Pico Pequeno has risen. The Caldeira, framed by the Bordeira and dominated by Pico do Fogo forms a worldwide unique volcanic ensemble.

Fogo erupted out of the Atlantic 100,000 years ago and has been an active volcano ever since. The most recent erruption was in 1995 which had the inhabitants of Chã das Caldeiras - the crater region at the top of the island - evacuate their homes for 6 months.

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Geography

One of the southernmost islands in Cape Verde, Fogo is located between the islands of Santiago and Brava. Practically the whole island is a stratovolcano that has been periodically active: it last erupted in 2014. The largest volcanic feature is a nine kilometres caldera, which has walls one kilometre high. The caldera has a breach in its eastern rim, and in the centre a resurgent dome with an ash cone that forms the highest point of the island: its summit is about one hundred m higher than the surrounding caldera wall. Lava from the volcano has reached the eastern coast of the island within historical times.

Two small villages, Portela and Bangaeira, exist in the floor of the caldera (Chã das Caldeiras); the residents were evacuated during eruptions.

The island's main city is São Filipe, near which is an airport. Fogo is largely an agricultural island. It has fertile land in the south-west with a slope of about ten to fifteen degrees. The north and the east are steeper. The island rises abruptly from the ocean, which can be as deep as 5,300 metres at a distance of five kilometres from the shoreline. In the south and west parts of the island, there are numerous hills and small mountains that were formed out of different small volcanoes such as Achada Furna, Monte Largo, Monte Grande and Lagariça, tiny small underwater hills that were volcanoes surrounding the islands are rarely founded. The exception is to the west, where the island is connected to another seamount; further west in Brava.

The steep slopes in the north-eastern part are green and grassy all year round. The rest of the mountain is dry and barren, its dry creeks and streams are dry washes.

São Filipe's buildings use classic Portuguese colonial architecture. Mosteiros in the northeast is the island's second most important town.

A violent eruption took place in 1680, forming a new cone that was visible over hundreds of kilometres but lasted only for a few years. It was during this eruption that the island earned its name.

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Sights and Activities

Caldera is the main attraction to the (extinct) Pico do Fogo. Other volcanic attractions are last active Pico Pequeno and the Bordeira. In Caldeira you find some smaller towns with wine production. The Pico do Fogo is allowed to be climbed only when accompanied by a guide. At other targets it is useful to be guide to see everything important and to be protected from dangers. The cost compared to individual expeditions are favorable. An impression you can get at this guide homepage: Guide Creole.

Above Mosteiros there is a cloud forest with lush vegetation. Here is some agriculture (bananas, coffee, papaya, beans). You can hike through the cloud forest coming from the Caldeira going down to Mosteiros. The rest of the island is rather barren, but fruitful, case water for irrigation is available. The usual crops of this climate zone are grown.

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Weather

Being one stratovolcano and extremely mountainous, this island has quite a diverse climate and many various microclimates. Along the coast Fogo has a moderate dry tropical climate according to the Köppen–Geiger climate classification system; higher on the slopes (800 metres) it has a semiarid mild tropical climate with very balanced temperatures year round; above 1,000 metres it has a cool highland subtropical steppe climate. The average annual temperature on the coast is about 23-25 °C, decreasing to some 12-14 °C on the highest ground.

There can be remarkably cool weather in the interior, with the warmer wet season starting in July and ending in November, with the colder dry season starting in December and ending in May. Drought, the major climate risk of Cape Verdean islands, is much less pronounced on Fogo, due to the mountain's ability to gain moisture from clouds. During the mid-nineteenth century, Fogo suffered from severe droughts. Death from starvation was common in the population as of 1832.

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Getting There

By Plane

Regular flights to Fogo from Praia and Sal landing in São Filipe. Ask for a seat on the right side of the plane for the best view of the volcano.

By Boat

There is an overnight ferry from Praia to São Filipe. For boats leaving São Filipe, the office is in the square opposite Pousada Bela Vista. For flights, the TACV office is just off the same square.

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Getting Around

In essence, it is an island perfect for hiking and trekking.

For the less active, you can rent bikes and cars.

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Eat

Mainly it is served freshly landed fish and chicken. Beef or pork (as well as fresh meat or in processed form (sausages, ...)) is very rare. In smaller convenience stores you can find everything important for your daily needs. In the two-story indoor market are fruits, vegetables and fish offered as well as various small items like T-shirts, leather goods from West Africa and minor services in the upper floor.

Lactose-free products are still unknown. Otherwise, the food is probably good for many allergy sufferers, because fewer highly processed products are offered. However, one can also find these now already.

At Cafe Fixe is prepared an original Cachupa, a must have tasted meal. It is a bean-corn stew with fish or chicken.

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Drink

Try the Fogo wine (red, white or rose) of the caldeira and the strong red wine called manecon.

You find some exotic fruit drinks.

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Fogo Travel Helpers

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This is version 1. Last edited at 13:00 on Aug 7, 17 by Utrecht. 1 article links to this page.

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