Fogo takes its name from the Creole word for fire, and is an island of scenic opposites.
For example, there’s the faded grandeur of Sao Filipe, a gracious town with pretty squares and wide avenues. Boulevards of classic colonial homes, built by wealthy farm owners using materials imported from as far away as Portugal and West Africa. Wander down to the seaward facing promenade and you’re met with an eye-catching reminder of Fogo’s dramatic birth – a vista of white surf frothing onto a volcanic black sand beach. This monochrome scene is in complete contrast with the colourful pastel painted town.
And the extremes grow even greater as you drive inland. First climbing slowly through fertile rolling countryside. As the terrain steepens the road snakes, hairpin bends taking you on a fairground ride towards one of the wonders of Cape Verde – if not the world – the massive grey volcanic cone of Pico de Fogo.
Few scenes are as awesome as the first sighting of the Pico, located in a giant Caldeira floor being littered with craters from previous eruptions. A guide will trek you to the point of the 1995 eruption so you can feel the furnace hot heat still venting from the centre of the earth. Unbelievably, the descendents of an eccentric French duke still live, farm and produce wine in this volatile landscape.
Descend the volcano and journey to the North West of the island and yet again the scenery changes, this time to verdant hillsides of coffee, banana and orange plantations.
The original ‘Mother’ island, with its own unique character and people. Fogo is a volcano which has become an island, the summit reaching 3,000 m in height. The ground, as one ascends, begins to be formed of black stones and the hot climate lasts all year long, making this island the hottest of the entire archipelago. From the summit, there is a fantastic view of the many lava formations from past eruptions. The landscape of Fogo shows considerable contrasts between the dry and arid zones of the south and the northern parts of the island, humid and amazingly fertile. Sao Filipe, the capital, is built on a cliff and the architecture reflects its colonial past. At the foot of the town stretch the black sandy beaches. To the north of Sao Filipe is Salina de Sao Jorge offering a natural swimming pool protected by black reefs. An area of beauty and contrast. It is worth taking the three hour journey from the town of Sao Filipe to the village of Chas das Caldeiras located in the crater of the volcano.