Brava, Cape Verde

Cape Verde Brave Island

Donkey duo
Residents of Cachaço and others of Brava's many donkeys.
lady of brava
Elderly resident of Brava.
Houses & Islets
Core of houses perched on a northern ridge of Brava.
Martins & Martins
Bravense people chat near the Bar Martins & Martins.
Rugged Nook
Dramatic but urbanized corner of Brava.
Residents of Cachaço talk in front of a home.
Homes in Green
Brava houses surrounded by banana trees, papaya trees and other tropical vegetation.
Hiace in sight
Hiace van travels along one of the old paved roads in Brava.
Donkey II
Donkey by a water tank facing the ocean north of Brava.
Glimpse of Fajã da Água
First view of Fajã d'Água from the interior of Brava.
The curves of Fajã
Closer view of Fajã d'Água, with its seafront separating the houses from the ocean.
Fajã fishermen
Fishermen try to hoist a boat to the top of the cove, safe from the waves.
Fajã da Água Cove
Vessels anchored in Fajã d'Água inlet.
The Fajã d'Água Cove
Casario da Fajã d'Água along the narrow coastal road of the village.
Goats Trio
Brave youngsters with goats and goats in a house in the north of the island.
A Rowing Pair
Fishermen aboard a rowboat.
Bird's Landing
A finch, a species endemic to some Cape Verde islands, including Brava, Fogo and Santiago.
Fishing Complications
Fishermen from Fajã d'Água prepare to place a fishing boat safe from the waves.
the way to water
Resident of Brava drives a donkey loaded with jugs of water.
Goats x2
Young brave man holds two of the goats he takes care of, in a terraced house on the island.
During colonization, the Portuguese came across a moist and lush island, something rare in Cape Verde. Brava, the smallest of the inhabited islands and one of the least visited of the archipelago, preserves the authenticity of its somewhat elusive Atlantic and volcanic nature.

Cape Verde has its times. The arrival of the ferry “freedom” from Praia City, Santiago island, accumulated three hours of delay.

“No need to go to the port now. They stay here on the terrace enjoying the view and having a drink. When they see the boat appear behind the south of fire, then go downstairs, without haste."

The advice of the owners of the Xaguate hotel spares us a desperate wait. He did not spare the intense swaying of the ferry in most of the navigation between São Filipe and the fishing village of Furnas.

As a result of successive mishaps, we disembarked at Brava at almost half past eleven at night. We felt tired to match.

When we discover that, without having asked for it, we had a Hiace from the inn waiting, the unexpected ride calms us down. Already installed, we take advantage of the momentum of the "freedom” in the back of minds. We fell asleep in a flash.

With dawn, we resume the Hiace saga. As much as we looked, there wasn't a single car for rent in all of Brava.

The guy at the reception tells us that his uncle Joaquim could get us out. Twenty minutes later, Mr. Joaquim shows up with an old van. Hiace, of course.

Until then, we had driven a little bit of everything in Cape Verde, at one point, with preference for the powerful pick ups that, since the almost forced debut, in Santo Antão, we had become adepts.

We recognized the popularity of the Hiaces in Cape Verde. They had spared us several too long walks. What we didn't count on was to become conductors of one, for more, elderly, full of stubbornness.

And in the morning.

When confirming the lack of alternatives, we accept. We installed ourselves, half lost in the excessive cabin, afraid that the car's brakes would give way on one of the island's successive steep slopes.

Brava Cape Verde Island, Macaronesia

From the Nova Sintra "Capital" to the Discovery of Brava

we leave Nova Sintra, the capital, for later.

In a first phase, in full rise of the slopes that succeed Cova Rodela, we see the capital's houses extending along the gentle slope to the east, submissive to the majesty of the fire volcano mountain.

The houses of Brava, Nova Sintra and the rest are white, adorned by banana trees, papaya trees, agaves and vegetation related to those confines of the Macaronesia in which the birds flutter and bounce.

Brava Cape Verde Island, Macaronesia

They are homes made of white walls, of baked clay tiles, like those in so many hamlets and villages in the ancient metropolis.

In the middle of the XNUMXth century, mainly Minho arrived from there. Madeirans accompanied us, also enticed by the even more unknown Atlantic.

They weren't the first islanders, far from it.

At the end of the XNUMXth century, Portuguese discoverers and traders were already using Brava as a slave post, complementary to the main one in the region. Ribeira Grande, current Old Town of Santiago.

The Portuguese Discovery of Ilha Brava

It gained enough supporters to popularize the idea that Dja Braba it was found on June 24, 1462, by Diogo Afonso, squire of D. Fernando, adopted son and heir of Infante D. Henrique and one of the sailors in the service of the Navigator.

Near the end of September of the same year, D. Afonso V sealed a royal letter that read “asi and by the guise that we have given to the other seven islands that Diego Affomsso, his squire found through Cape Verde".

Among them were the five westernmost islands of the Cape Verdean archipelago: São Nicolau, São Vicente, Santo Antão, São João (Brava) and the Branco and Raso islets.

More than eighty years passed without the island of São João being colonized in an organized way. In 1489, however, some adventurers already inhabited it.

The Intensified Settlement with the Forced Migration of Fogo Island

One of them was Lopo Afonso, squire of D. João II. THE "Principe Perfeito” donated to him and to his heirs any and all mines of gold, silver, copper or sulfur existing there, as a reward for the many services rendered by him.

Precious metals were something that Lopo Afonso and his descendants never found on the island. And they abandoned her.

Wet and lush, in contrast to the arid islands of São Vicente and Sal IslandInstead, the island of São João has proven itself, an pristine stronghold of cattle ranching.

Two decades later, D. João III, granted its exploitation for the cultivation of cotton, as long as they guaranteed the protection of the cattle that proliferated in the mountains and humid valleys, grazed by some of the slaves that, in the meantime, the island started to traffic.

At one point, Brava had more than two thousand heads of cows, goats, sheep and horses. As much as they grazed, little or nothing affected its almost luxuriant look, the look that takes us back to the christening of the capital.

In the XNUMXth century, the inhabitants of the neighbor fire, fleeing the increasingly regular and threatening eruptions of the massive island volcano.

Brava Cape Verde Island, Macaronesia

To the Highs and Lows, in Search of the Escaping Fajã de Baixo

On tiny Brava, the great grassed and walled boardwalk forks. To the north, sharp edges of the island crept in, marked against the indigo of the Atlantic that the dry winter mist ceiling made foggy.

Somewhere between the northern outline of Brava and the horizon, the Grande, de Cima, Secos and Rombo islets dotted the ocean.

Brava Cape Verde Island, Macaronesia

Target houses of Brava spread across the green landscape of the island.

Bifurcation generates indecision in us. The relief and the blue appeal of the sea end up seducing us. We continue to the right, in the direction of Sorno, which the road never reaches.

When we conquered one of so many meanders, among sharp agaves, we came across an unexpected duo.

Brava Cape Verde Island, Macaronesia

A resident walked side by side with a donkey loaded with drums of water.

Our passage, in the Hiace of which I certainly knew the owner, gives rise to a surprise that I prefer to hide. “Are you going to Fajã?” ask us. "It's beautiful, that over there."

On an island with a mere 67km2 it would be difficult for us to miss one of its must-see spots. We would go down there.

In the meantime, an overhanging white house with blue frames and shutters catches our attention, also flat against the matching background of sky and sea.

Brava Cape Verde Island, Macaronesia

We noticed movement on the terrace that completed it. We decided to investigate. When we got there, a group of young people from Brave were talking in the sun.

From time to time, they snuggle two newborn goats. Tito, Daniel, Vitinho and Jim bring grass that the adult goats devour in three stages.

Brava Cape Verde Island, MacaronesiaThe heat refracted by the walls helped to soften a chatter that the boys didn't count on, but which they fed with a curious shyness.

We understand how important goats and goats were for their survival, as was the shaggy donkey that looked at us askance, attached to an old water tank.

Brava Cape Verde Island, Macaronesia

A few minutes later, we reached the slope overlooking Ponta Cajau Grande. After a tight and excavated that in the rocky slope, we have the inaugural view of Fajã.

Descent to the Sheltered and Warm Cove of Fajã de Baixo

First, that of the craggy cove at its top.

Brava Cape Verde Island, Macaronesia

Farther down, from the terraced bottom, dotted with palm trees and coconut trees standing out above the houses. We complete the zigzags for the marginal that separates it from the sea.

Protected from the trades by the configuration and depth of the bay, Fajã was warming up. Even in the middle of winter, the kind of greenhouse we found there justified the proliferation and health of tropical vegetation.

It also served to explain the fact that the waterfront was almost deserted.

It must be nearly two in the afternoon. Hungry, we probed the nearest restaurants and bars, Flowers of the Bay, Bar dy Nos. And others.

We were longing for a grilled fish, a cachupa, a Brave or Cape Verdean meal.

Finally, someone appears from the dark interior of an establishment. "At this time? We only have drinks. If they had called here before leaving Nova Sintra, we would have prepared something.

We only make food when we have guaranteed customers. And you are arriving at a very low season.” We're back to conforming. We thank you and order drinks to go.

Brava Cape Verde Island, Macaronesia

We walked along the coast to the old Esperadinha airport, opened in 1992, closed in 2004 when it was realized that the winds that were whipping that north of Brava were too treacherous.

We return to the heart of Fajã. By that time, some fishing activity is already in the bay.

We accompanied a group of men struggling against the waves, anxious to deposit a small artisanal boat on the dry, non-rolling basalt pebbles.

Brava Cape Verde Island, Macaronesia

And we see others laying out a net in the vicinity of a sailboat at anchor there.

Return to the Highlands of Ilha da Brava

With the sun about to disappear behind the western slopes and with so much of the island to be cleared, we return to its summit.

Again through the lands of Cova Joana, we continue along the road that we had previously rejected, towards Nª Srª do Monte, through the heights of Pico das Fontaínhas (976m) that no other point on the island surpasses.

We pass by Escovinha and Campo Baixo. A few additional kilometers in effort from Hiace, we enter Cachaço.

Where the road ends.

Brava Cape Verde Island, Macaronesia

Brava houses surrounded by banana trees, papaya trees and other tropical vegetation.

Cachaço's goat chin is famous.

Much more notorious than the house where the natives claim that the Brave poet Eugénio Tavares took refuge to compose the mornas that Cape Verde continues to hum.

Eugénio de Paula Tavares has written that “from Brava to any point, the winds are always forward, the sea is always choppy, the currents are always contrary, the sky is always cloudy and full of threats. But the return is the crack, the sea is roses and the winds are good.”

For the residents of Cachaço, the fog that threatened to veil the village, no longer bothered them at all.

They receive us with a strangeness that turns into unbridled chatter, with a group of them sitting in front of a house, for a change, greenish and with a duo of cheerful peasants who give a thirsty donkey something to drink.

Brava Cape Verde Island, Macaronesia

Finally, the hanging mist takes over the village and the hills.

Afraid of having to complete it blindly, we anticipated the descent to Nova Sintra, the capital thus named due to the alleged similarities with Vila Saloia.

Lively late afternoon in Nova Sintra

In Nova Sintra, its usual joviality was renewed and celebrated.

On Valentine's Day, under the bronze mustaches of Eugénio de Paula Tavares, shameless teenagers stole flowers from the public garden. And, a few dozen meters from the place of the crime, they were offered them to the better halfs.

Carnival was at the door. Not even the flowery romanticism of the day spared the teenagers the daily rehearsals for the parades in a few days, animated by bass drums, drums, strange rectangular tambourines and masks carved from coconut shells.

Nova Sintra, Brava, Cape Verde, tropical masks

On the fringe of this commotion, we devoured a cachupa, poor but providential, in the restaurant next to the bandstand in the center. Ecstatic, surrendered to the darkness that had settled in, we took refuge in the inn's bar.

There, we gave ourselves to an international game by Benfica that attracted an enthusiastic audience. João Gonçalves, the “Jiji” at the reception, is intrigued by our integration.

When we noticed it, we discussed with the host the adventures and misadventures of colonization and decolonization in Cape Verde: “But, given the strong connection that we still maintain, do you think that a solution like the one in the Azores and Madeira made sense? ”, we questioned him, challenged by the context.

Jiji is not with half measures. “No, the bad thing that happened in Cape Verde and Guinea was never comparable and it was too much for us to admit something like that.”

Glorioso won 1-0 over Borussia Dortmund. That night, we all drank ponchas. We all celebrated the complex Portugality.

Nova Sintra, Brava, Cape Verde

A Creole Sintra, instead of Saloia

When Portuguese settlers discovered the island of Brava, they noticed its climate, much wetter than most of Cape Verde. Determined to maintain connections with the distant metropolis, they called the main town Nova Sintra.
Fogo Island, Cape Verde

Around the Fogo Island

Time and the laws of geomorphology dictated that the volcano-island of Fogo rounded off like no other in Cape Verde. Discovering this exuberant Macaronesian archipelago, we circled around it against the clock. We are dazzled in the same direction.
Chã das Caldeiras, Fogo Island Cape Verde

A "French" Clan at the Mercy of Fire

In 1870, a Count born in Grenoble on his way to Brazilian exile, made a stopover in Cape Verde where native beauties tied him to the island of Fogo. Two of his children settled in the middle of the volcano's crater and continued to raise offspring there. Not even the destruction caused by the recent eruptions deters the prolific Montrond from the “county” they founded in Chã das Caldeiras.    
São Nicolau, Cape Verde

Photography of Nha Terra São Nicolau

The voice of the late Cesária Verde crystallized the feeling of Cape Verdeans who were forced to leave their island. who visits São Nicolau or, wherever it may be, admires images that illustrate it well, understands why its people proudly and forever call it their land.
Cidade Velha, Cape Verde

Cidade Velha: the Ancient of the Tropico-Colonial Cities

It was the first settlement founded by Europeans below the Tropic of Cancer. In crucial times for Portuguese expansion to Africa and South America and for the slave trade that accompanied it, Cidade Velha became a poignant but unavoidable legacy of Cape Verdean origins.

island of salt, Cape Verde

The Salt of the Island of Sal

At the approach of the XNUMXth century, Sal remained lacking in drinking water and practically uninhabited. Until the extraction and export of the abundant salt there encouraged a progressive population. Today, salt and salt pans add another flavor to the most visited island in Cape Verde.
Boa Vista Island, Cape Verde

Boa Vista Island: Atlantic waves, Dunas do Sara

Boa Vista is not only the Cape Verdean island closest to the African coast and its vast desert. After a few hours of discovery, it convinces us that it is a piece of the Sahara adrift in the North Atlantic.
Santa Maria, Sal Island, Cape Verde

Santa Maria and the Atlantic Blessing of Sal

Santa Maria was founded in the first half of the XNUMXth century, as a salt export warehouse. Today, thanks to the providence of Santa Maria, Sal Ilha is worth much more than the raw material.
Santo Antão, Cape Verde

Up and Down the Estrada da Corda

Santo Antão is the westernmost of the Cape Verde Islands. There lies an Atlantic and rugged threshold of Africa, a majestic insular domain that we begin by unraveling from one end to the other of its dazzling Estrada da Corda.
São Nicolau, Cape Verde

São Nicolau: Pilgrimage to Terra di Sodade

Forced matches like those that inspired the famous morna “soda” made the pain of having to leave the islands of Cape Verde very strong. Discovering saninclau, between enchantment and wonder, we pursue the genesis of song and melancholy.
Chã das Caldeiras a Mosteiros, Fogo Island, Cape Verde

Chã das Caldeiras to Mosteiros: descent through the Ends of Fogo

With the Cape Verde summit conquered, we sleep and recover in Chã das Caldeiras, in communion with some of the lives at the mercy of the volcano. The next morning, we started the return to the capital São Filipe, 11 km down the road to Mosteiros.
hippopotami, chobe national park, botswana
Chobe NP, Botswana

Chobe: A River on the Border of Life with Death

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Herd in Manang, Annapurna Circuit, Nepal
Annapurna (circuit)
Annapurna Circuit: 8th Manang, Nepal

Manang: the Last Acclimatization in Civilization

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Architecture & Design

the last address

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Boat Trips

For Those Becoming Internet Sick

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Ceremonies and Festivities

Defenders of Their Homelands

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Nigatsu Temple, Nara, Japan
Nara, Japan

Buddhism vs Modernism: The Double Face of Nara

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Singapore Asian Capital Food, Basmati Bismi

The Asian Food Capital

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One against all, Sera Monastery, Sacred Debate, Tibet
Lhasa, Tibet

Sera, the Monastery of the Sacred Debate

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Swimming, Western Australia, Aussie Style, Sun rising in the eyes
Busselton, Australia

2000 meters in Aussie Style

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travel western australia, surfspotting
Perth to Albany, Australia

Across the Far West of Australia

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Unusual bathing

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The Strange Life in the Black Caribbean Sun

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sunlight photography, sun, lights
Got2Globe Photo Portfolio
Natural Light (Part 2)

One Sun, So Many Lights

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St. Augustine, City of Florida, USA, the Bridge of Lions
Saint Augustine, Florida, USA

Back to the Beginnings of Hispanic Florida

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Bonaire, island, Netherlands Antilles, ABC, Caribbean, Rincon
Rincon, Bonaire

The Pioneering Corner of the Netherlands Antilles

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Correspondence verification
Winter White
Rovaniemi, Finland

From the Finnish Lapland to the Arctic. A Visit to the Land of Santa

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Almada Negreiros, Roça Saudade, Sao Tome
Saudade, São Tomé, São Tomé and Principe

Almada Negreiros: From Saudade to Eternity

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Aurora, Pico do Arieiro to Pico Ruivo, Madeira Island, Portugal
Pico do Arieiro - Pico Ruivo, Madeira, Portugal

Pico Arieiro to Pico Ruivo, Above a Sea of ​​Clouds

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Mother Armenia Statue, Yerevan, Armenia
Yerevan, Armenia

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travelers contemplate, monte fitz roy, argentina
Natural Parks
El Chalten, Argentina

The Granite Appeal of Patagonia

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Sanahin Cable Car, Armenia
UNESCO World Heritage
Alaverdi, Armenia

A Cable Car Called Ensejo

The top of the Debed River Gorge hides the Armenian monasteries of Sanahin and Haghpat and terraced Soviet apartment blocks. Its bottom houses the copper mine and smelter that sustains the city. Connecting these two worlds is a providential suspended cabin in which the people of Alaverdi count on traveling in the company of God.
Ooty, Tamil Nadu, Bollywood Scenery, Heartthrob's Eye
Ooty, India

In Bollywood's Nearly Ideal Setting

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Bather rescue in Boucan Canot, Reunion Island
Reunion Island

The Bathing Melodrama of Reunion

Not all tropical coastlines are pleasurable and refreshing retreats. Beaten by violent surf, undermined by treacherous currents and, worse, the scene of the most frequent shark attacks on the face of the Earth, that of the Reunion Island he fails to grant his bathers the peace and delight they crave from him.
Prayer flags in Ghyaru, Nepal
Annapurna Circuit: 4th – Upper Banana to Ngawal, Nepal

From Nightmare to Dazzle

Unbeknownst to us, we are faced with an ascent that leads us to despair. We pulled our strength as far as possible and reached Ghyaru where we felt closer than ever to the Annapurnas. The rest of the way to Ngawal felt like a kind of extension of the reward.
Back in the sun. San Francisco Cable Cars, Life Ups and Downs
On Rails
San Francisco, USA

San Francisco Cable Cars: A Life of Highs and Lows

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Australia Day, Perth, Australian Flag
Perth, Australia

Australia Day: In Honor of the Foundation, Mourning for Invasion

26/1 is a controversial date in Australia. While British settlers celebrate it with barbecues and lots of beer, Aborigines celebrate the fact that they haven't been completely wiped out.
Women with long hair from Huang Luo, Guangxi, China
Daily life
Longsheng, China

Huang Luo: the Chinese Village of the Longest Hairs

In a multi-ethnic region covered with terraced rice paddies, the women of Huang Luo have surrendered to the same hairy obsession. They let the longest hair in the world grow, years on end, to an average length of 170 to 200 cm. Oddly enough, to keep them beautiful and shiny, they only use water and rice.
Cliffs above the Valley of Desolation, near Graaf Reinet, South Africa
Graaf-Reinet, South Africa

A Boer Spear in South Africa

In early colonial times, Dutch explorers and settlers were terrified of the Karoo, a region of great heat, great cold, great floods and severe droughts. Until the Dutch East India Company founded Graaf-Reinet there. Since then, the fourth oldest city in the rainbow nation it thrived at a fascinating crossroads in its history.
Napali Coast and Waimea Canyon, Kauai, Hawaii Wrinkles
Scenic Flights
napali coast, Hawaii

Hawaii's Dazzling Wrinkles

Kauai is the greenest and rainiest island in the Hawaiian archipelago. It is also the oldest. As we explore its Napalo Coast by land, sea and air, we are amazed to see how the passage of millennia has only favored it.