Fogo takes its name from the Creole word for fire. It is the original ‘Mother’ island, with its own unique character and people.
Fogo is a volcano which has become an island. From the summit, which reaches 2829 metres, there is a fantastic view of the many lava formations reminiscent of past eruptions (the last was in 2014).
Fogo is an island of scenic opposites, a volcanic yet tropical paradise. The landscape of the south is dry and arid, whereas the northern parts of the island remain humid and amazingly fertile.
São Filipe, the capital, is built on two levels, Vila Riba and Vila Baixa, rising 100 metres above the steep coast. It has a faded grandeur with colonial houses, pretty squares and wide avenues. As you wander down to the seaward facing promenade, you are 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 to the colourful pastel painted town.
The extremes grow even greater as you drive inland through fertile rolling countryside. As the terrain steepens the road snakes, hairpin bends take you towards one of the wonders of Cape Verde, 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 littered with craters from previous eruptions.
It is worth taking the three hour journey from the town of São Filipe to the village of Cha das Caldeiras located in the crater of the volcano. 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 descendants 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.
To the north of São Filipe is Salina de São Jorge offering a natural swimming pool protected by black reefs. An area of beauty and contrast.
The most important event on the island takes place on May 1st. This is a celebration of the discovery of Fogo with the Festas do São Filipe and its annual horse races.