With a choice of direct flights, year-round balmy temperatures and a burgeoning array of resort options, Claire Dodd discovers how Cape Verde is bolstering its reputation as an ideal winter sun break on a trip with The Resort Group.
He means well, but I’m determined. Unused to the terrain and a little nervous, I’m taking things slow. A little too slow. Our little convoy of quad bikes is going nowhere fast. With a huge sand dune ahead of me and the Atlantic swell surging at the small strip of land I’m aiming for, our guide is trying to convince me to abandon my bike and ride shotgun on his. But I’m having none of it. I’m having too much fun.
While some travellers come to Cape Verde for total relaxation at its growing list of all-inclusive luxury resorts, others come for the destination’s growing reputation as an adventure sports capital. Me? I’m somewhere in the middle. But all visitors come for the climate.
With an average of 350 days of sunshine a year and temperatures hovering consistently between 25C and 30C, this archipelago off the west coast of Africa is fast becoming a winter sun hot spot. And with direct weekly flights that take around five and a half hours from London, Manchester, Birmingham, Bristol and Glasgow, this hitherto little-known destination is becoming a particular favourite of Brits.
Total visitor numbers across the 10 islands have increased 115% since 2000 and are expected to double again by 2024, according to a major player here, The Resort Group. And the World Travel and Tourism Council estimates that tourism accounted for 44.5% of GDP in 2016, and is expected to provide 22.6% of total employment by 2027.