An Insane Travel Idea: One Day Trip to Tarrafal Part 1

Tarrafal

The seaside town of Tarrafal lies on the other side of the island, about 70 kilometres from opposite side of Praia. It is not far but considering the condition of the road, it is expected to take us more than 2 hours to reach it. So when someone suggested for one day trip to the other side of island for a swim, at first it sounded insane but then it was clear that it was the break that everyone was waiting for. Image source: Google Map

When we are on work assignment overseas, we will rarely have time for sight seeing – after all, we are expected to work on weekends and till late night. In Cape Verde, things were a bit different – since the users are not available on the weekends, there are days when we are unable to work on weekends. So left to hole up in the hotel room, the team had a choice of either rest in the room or go for a walk and explore the town.

At first, there was an idea to arrange for a half day trip around Praia – we even managed to get the hotel to arrange transportation & a travel guide for a cost of EURO 15 per person. But this was excluding meals and other miscellaneous expenses. On the day we suppose to go, 2 of the team members were not feeling well so after further considering, we decided to postpone the trip to another day.

In the meantime, somehow some of the users had got hold on our plans for a half day trip around Praia and suggested something else. They too were looking for a break over the weekends so why not combine both plans & cost and have a better travel plan to the other side of the island which included lunch (later as more people got involved, the whole trip was fully sponsored by the client).

We first decided to go to Tarrafal with one way which was the interior road, go to the beach there, have a good lunch and then come back to Praia using the coastal road. We later found that the coastal road boasts a different landscape. Image source: Google Map

It was a clear Sunday when we decided on the day for the trip

Arrangements have been made to pick us up from the hotel – considering the number of people involved for the trip; initially we thought a mini bus would be picking us up. But when we saw it was the usual van (that usually takes us to work) came, I knew that it is going to a very tight in the van when we pick up the rest.

The photo above is of our van with the trusted, experienced, very humble driver. There was about 15 of us on the trip but the van can only accommodate 10 of us rather comfortably even though we did not mind squeezing to accommodate more.

Apparently the mini bus was not available at the last minute, so they had to use the van instead. There were no space for all of us so some of the users decided to take their cars instead which I felt was unfair to them but they assured that they don’t mind driving (seeing the conditions of the road later, I realised that I would have done the same).

From the start, we were very impressed with the landscape – dry, hilly and yet very beautiful. All over the place, there are spots of houses by the main road and at the foot of the hills. We were expecting to see more of these beautiful landscape all the way to Tarrafal on the other side of the island.

The road conditions to Tarrafal were superb but twisty surrounded all over by the beautiful mountains & hills – it is dream condition for any bikers alone on these roads. If only I had my bike here, I probably go for these roads on every weekend if possible, stop halfway and just sit down to enjoy the view.

An observation point half way the drive and just before the town of Somada – there is not much other than the large cross and a nice view of the mountain and small village at the bottom of the hill. Not sure if there is any historical significant of this place. We really could not find any historical records here – perhaps someone can provide more details. We asked the users who had joined us but they too were unable to come to a conclusion.

The view from the observation deck is simply breathless – low clean valley with misty cloud covering the mountain in the distance. Another dream place for bikers especially for off-road biking. Being Malaysian who comes from the tropic, the main concern that I had is on how the people living in these dry places get war for their daily living and for the farming.

Another pit stop before reaching Tarrafal – this time just next to the entrance to Serra Malagueta Natural Park. Changes to the landscape is more prominent now with more trees and green vegetations. It is said that the Serra Malagueta formation is of volcanic origin, and was formed between 2.9 and 2.4 million years ago

I suppose that there are more trees and green vegetations here because it is getting enough moisture compared to the other areas of the mountain. It is not a small place to trek – certainly a mere pit stop will not be enough. Someone in the group did suggested that we need to arrange another trip, just to explore this place (the guides to the park are available) but I seriously doubted.

The park boast 124 species of plants, of which 28 are endemic species or subspecies. The endemic plants are threatened by invasive species from outside the park including Lantana camara (lantana) and Furcraea foetida (giant cabuya). Limonium lobinii (carqueja de Santiago) is only found in this park. There are also 19 species of birds, of which eight are endemic. Source: Wikipedia.

The next stop is Tarrafal and we are reaching the seaside town – we can see the sea from far and the feel the cool breeze.

To be continued in Part 2…

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