It might seem like we’ve been all about Cape Verde adventures recently, and yes, because their breathtaking islands are worth all the talk.
We spoke to the beautiful and vibrant, Ayodeji Ogunnsi aka Senior Minister Of Enjoyment about her experience in Cape Verde.
The Senior Minister Of Enjoyment is the founder of Asoebi Concierge, a tourist and a vlogger (YouTube, Instagram). She loves to visit new destinations, learn about diverse cultures and tell their stories through the eyes of her camera.
Have an interesting read, and even live vicariously through this post, as Ayodeji talks about her exciting time in Cape Verde…
Q-Why did you travel to Cape Verde?
A- I love spending Christmas holidays in new destinations, either relaxing on a beach or falling off ski slopes but the funny thing is I had decided to spend the holidays in Lagos. December 2019 came with me ready for #dettyDecember but in the mix of the return style, all the IJGBs and their mums landed in Nigeria & everywhere was booked, busy and tight so I started my search for African destinations to get away to. Cabo Verde airlines had recently announced their direct flight from Lagos so their ads were everywhere. As I kept looking at tourism in Cape Verde, everything just felt good, it is a 4-hour flight away, the tickets and accommodation are affordable and the island of Sal with its “No stress” motto. It sounded like just what I needed.
Q- What were your expectations from Cape Verde and were those expectations met?
A- While I was packing my bags an hour before my flight, my anticipation was at the peak. I took some time to daydream. Me, in my swimsuit lying on a wooden lounge chair by the sunny picturesque beach with a gorgeous waiter bringing me strong cocktails and mouth-watering seafood platters all day; my tripod at the ‘ready to capture’ mood so I can ‘pepper dem’ on Instagram.
Did Cape Verde live up to the expectation? I would scream yes. I thoroughly enjoyed my never-ending caipirinhas and calamari platters with tons of gorgeous waiters and Cape Verdeans dancing all around me. Ask Instagram, they enjoyed Cape Verde through me. Lol
There were a lot more activities than I expected, kite surfing, bike rides, quad rides, horse rides, fishing trips and many more. You could spend over a week in Cape Verde, and there would still be things you didn’t try out.
Q- How would you describe the cost of living and social life in Cape Verde?
A- I can only speak concerning the cost of living from the perspective of a tourist. So about that, I would say you get value for your money. For instance taxis around the island never cost more than €4. You can eat at local restaurants like D’Angelas and enjoy a filling meal and drinks for €10. The most expensive thing on the island was water. A 1-litre bottle of water cost about 3 euros or more. Water is expensive because most of it is imported.
I thought Nigerians could party, but Cape Verdeans proved me wrong. I’m a big dancer and can go for hours on a good night out, but there, I went to Bikini beach two days in a row, yes it was that fun and on my way there, the dancers were dancing into work. It was so funny to me. They dance with energy and joy, you will be eager to join in. Cape Verdeans are social people and they all get together in the evenings to hang out; everyone from young kids to older couples. It was so heartwarming seeing kids outside playing with each other and other adults, even at night.
Q– Were there any challenges you encountered on the trip and why?
A- The most challenging part of the trip had to be the flight from Lagos to Cape Verde. I had to create a whole video about the experience. The flight was delayed for nearly 4 hours with barely any communication from the staff and barely any apologies. Their idea of an apology was a dry chicken sandwich and a bottle of soda. But as soon as the plane was descending over the beautiful blue waters, I had forgotten about all my flight woes and was ready to enjoy Cape Verde.
Q -Favourite spots you would recommend?
A- Stay in Melia llana, when they say “all-inclusive” they actually mean all-inclusive and the grounds are gorgeous. Make sure you book a spa session; it is life-changing.
Eat local Cape Verdean food at Geniune Restaurant in Santa Maria and Hotel Odjo D’Agua, eat western cuisine at Ocean Café, Americos & Leonardo’s in Santa Maria, dance at Bikini beach, take a stroll through the main street in Santa Maria & enjoy the fresh air. Also, the kids playing in the street and people dancing all around you is just everything.
Q- Any favourite local foods?
A- I’m big on trying local foods when I travel to new destinations and Cape Verde was no different. My favorite local food was the alcoholic drink, grogue, made from sugarcane on the islands. It tastes amazing in cocktails and I got to try different flavors of it, honeyed grogue, coconut, and coffee…you can already tell I love yummy cocktail.
For actual food, the Peixe Frito at Genuine was delicious. Peixe Frito is fried fish with vegetables and sweet potatoes. Cape Verdean food has Portuguese and African inspired flavors and those are two cultures with delicious food.
Q- How were the people, friendly or otherwise?
A- Cape Verdeans are fun and hospitable people. You will notice that they are all really really good looking and oh so friendly. I was vlogging most of my holiday, and wherever I went, locals would all want to be in my video dancing and saying welcome to Cape Verde. Walking through the town was fun, I felt safe and very welcome by the locals.
One funny thing I noticed was Cape Verdeans stand close together when talking and they are quite affectionate or maybe I’d rather say demonstrative, you can find men standing around, having laughs and holding hands, not in a romantic way but as friends. I love picking up on these little differences in cultures.
There was one day I was walking through Santa Maria trying to find a taxi and a local came up to me, walked me to the nearest taxi rank and whispered the price to tell the taxi. I think this says a lot about their people, they treat you like a friend.
Q-How did you handle the language barrier?
A- On Sal island, locals speak Creole or Portuguese but the majority of them are good with conversational English. I never had a situation where language stopped me from doing anything.
Q-How would you describe the culture of Cape Verde?
A– “No stress” is how I would describe the culture. Officially, Cape Verde is a mix of African, European and Creole cultural practices. In reality, everyone is so laid back, welcoming and happy. In some instances, like when you want to get through a queue and the attendant is going deep into conversation with others in the queue, it’s super annoying but it is all in good spirit. If you stay 10 days or more in Cape Verde, I feel like there is absolutely nothing that would stress you.
Q- How long were you in Cape Verde for? What did the travel cost?
A-I spent a total of 9 days on Sal Island, in Cape Verde.
I hope you enjoyed this read. If you need a “No-stress” zone in your life, Cape Verde is the place to be.