Climbing an active volcano

Fogo is the youngest and most prominent island in Cape Verde, rising to its peak of 2,829 metres above sea level. The island is home to an active stratovolcano, the Pico do Fogo. The main cone of the volcano last erupted in 1675 and caused a number of people to flee the island. A subsidiary vent is more active, erupting in 1951, 1995 and 2014.

The volcanic activity on Fogo has helped to enrich the soil and make it possible to grow various crops on the island. Grapes for wine and coffee are the most common, and these highly celebrated crops are amongst the sole exports from the region. Fogo is growing to become a popular tourist destination because of its stunning landscape and warm climate. The volcano itself is a major attraction, and there are a number of guides who offer tours for hikers and walkers.

One sight not to be missed on Fogo is the Cha das Caldeiras. The community is actually situated in the crater of the Pico do Fogo. The setting is incredible, with many of the buildings built from lava stones. The caldera has milder temperatures and receives more rainfall than other areas in the region because of its elevation. Coupled with the rich soil, this makes the area great for producing fruits, vegetables and endemic plants, many of which are rare and protected. Several export quality wines are produced in the area too.

If you’re looking for a hiking holiday, Cape Verde is a fantastic destination and Fogo is one of the very best places to visit in the region. It is best to climb the volcano early in the morning before the full heat of the day sets in. Visitors should ensure they are prepared for quite a steep climb, including ensuring they have suitable footwear. You need to arrange a guide before you start your ascent to ensure you follow a safe route.

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