Tags: Cape Verde, Praia, sailing, Santiago, Velha

Date: November 21, 2016

The next island we visited was Santiago. Here we are entering the port at Praia which is the capital of Cape Verde:

It was a good place to stock up on food before crossing the Atlantic. There was lots of fruits and vegetables for sale at a big market and we were also able to buy some meat. Other than that, we only bought basic food products like milk and flour.

When leaving Praia, we made a quick stop in the town of Velha:

Velha was previously known as Ribeira Grande. It was founded in 1462 shortly after the discovery of the Cape Verde islands. It was the first European settlement in the tropics. It became an important port for the slave trade and at one point it was the second wealthiest city in the Portuguese empire. It was the capital of Cape Verde until 1770 when Praia became capital. Both Columbus and Vasco da Gama have stopped here on some of their trips.

Today, Velha is a small town with a population of about 1,200. There is a fertile river valley leading into the country from here. Rivers in Cape Verde are dry most of the time as evidenced by the fact that this river also serves as a road and a soccer field:

Even though the river is dry, the vegetation is lush:

There were lots of kingfishers:

Some of the trees are big around here:

It is a baobab tree. Charles Darwin was impressed by a baobab tree when he visited the area in 1832 aboard the Beagle on his way to Galapagos and further.

This is the ruins of the huge old cathedral in Velha:

It was the first cathedral built in West Africa. The project started in 1555 and was concluded in 1693. Unfortunately, pirates attacked in 1712 damaging the cathedral and starting the decline of the city.

A piece of another old church: