Weg 101










The Legend tells you what the arrows í mean and how the terms "right" and "left" are used.

Águia - Informação Turística
Avenida Amilcar Cabral - Ponta João Ribeiro

Ponta João Ribeiro and Ilheu dos Pássaros

Duration 1 h
Track 1
Orientation 1

List of Tracks
and  Classification

Mercado de Peixe

Torre de Belém


Estaleiros Navais

Ponta João Ribeiro

The walk along the shore of the Porto Grande bay may easily last several hours if somebody tries to look at all details offered along the track.

The avenue has two names:
Since Mindelo was founded as a town in 1858, the official name was Avenida Marginal. After independance, it was honoured with the name of the national hero and named Avenida Amilcar Cabral. So, in political terms, the old lady became first lady, fairly distinct of all those suburban streets not even having a name.

The aristocrat among streets starts at the Fishmarket, Mercado de Peixe. The Tower at its side is a small replica of the famous tower Torre de Belém in Lisbon, greeting the discovers when leaving for the open Atlantik.

Eagle's Monument  Águia. It was erected in order to memorize the first flight across the Southern Atlantic in 1922. The pilots Gago Coutinho and Sacadura Cabral made a stop in São Vicente  on their difficult way from Lisbon (17 03 1922) to Rio de Janeiro (17 07 1922).

Right in front of the Eagle, there is the former customs building Alfândega Velha, strongly built like a mideaval jailhouse, today used as a House of Culture Centro Cultural. Exibitons take place and there is a good bookshop and an internet-café for the public.

The Tourist-Information follows a few steps later in the tiny blue and white Kiosk on the Praça Gonçalv Gonês. This is the place where you find the City-Map and map of Sao Vicente you need to use this internet guide. Postcards are sold and you may ask whatever you want to know about Cape Verde.

On top of another little park where Rua Angola connects to the Avenida, quite close to Residencial Maravilha, there is a pitoresque old colonial building where young people produce and sell products of arts. This is a worthwhile place to visit for tourist hunting for a souvenir that is not mass-produced.

The Ferry Harbour got a new building that looks like a ship itself. There is a twin - building on the other side of the channel in Porto Novo town.

At the entry to the Harbour  there is a row of small wooden baracks. Those are the offices of the Despachantes, agencies to help clearing goods at customs. Customs regulations are quite complicated and they have enough work. Like in many micro-societies on islands, an effective way of taxing the population is having them pay on imported goods.

Moave, is the only industrial mill in the city. About 90% of consumption has to be covered by importation. For the owners of donkeys and mules, chaff is as important as corn and wheat. Without enough fibres, those animals can not work hard.

The huge Container Harbour behind the Moava building was built in the 1990s.

On top of everything, overlooking harbour, city and the channel, there is the "little fortress" Fortim. It is older than the town and when it was built, its purpose was to deter the pirats from hiding in the harbour to prepare for attacks on ships, towns and villages. Later Fortim became the city jail. 
Nowadays it finds back to its orginal target group but atracting and not detering it. It is the place where Piratinhas sleep, street kids, social orphans, pickpockets, young people with a variety of social problems and the one or the other mentally sick. 
The panorama view of Fortim is espially atractive. From the City-Map you can learn how to approach it via Avenida Alberto Leite where there is a crossing between Escola Técnica and the Police Office.

Please avoid visiting Fortim at night or unaccompanied.

Laginha is the inner-city beach of Mindelo and it is busy all day. In the early morning Joggers and Body Builder are coming to work out, somewhat later young mothers with their babies, thereafter pupil and adolescents and in the late evening, the upper-middle class comes to the restaurants for a beer and a fried chicken. Despite its proximity to the shipyard, the water of Laginha is of good quality due to currents.
A net protects from sharks. Nevertheless, small children should not go to play in water at their own, as there is a step in the underground and waters gets unexpectedly deep.

The hangars across the street are no more used for storing food-aid. In modern time, delivery is "just in time". So they are used for fairs to promote Cape Verde as a producer and consumer of industrial goods.

The little Garden Restaurants, Gabylandia and others are a nice place to pass away the time.

Heavy Diesel engines are heard all over the area. They belong to the Seawater Desalination Plant of  ELECTRA. Over in the last decades it has improved its reliability considerably. Blackouts became rare and the times when there was no sweet water for weeks are over. But desalination pushes living cost up. Every droplet of sweet water, every KWh is produced with imported fuel. The hope to substitute it by renewable energies continues to be just a hope, as long as the available technology does not resist the combination of Sahara dust and seawater in the air, heat and extremely strong winds over several months.

Please sharpen your sense for orientation after having passed by the entry of ELECTRA and reaching the crossing, because here follows the only opportunity to loose the track. You should neither walk up the main street to Chã de Alecrim nor continue on the main street following the wall around the industrial complex. There is a smaller street climbing the hill é exactly northward. On top, it turns left and you reach the hight between ELECTRA and the shipyard CABNAVE.

Then there follows a spider of little streets leading to private houses. None of them is correct. The only right one is the one acompanying the slope é northward.

The huge square bilding with the overhanging roof, once was the residence of the British Ambassador. Since independence it belongs to a successful co-operative of artists, Atelier Mar. The multi- talent and founder, Leão Lopes - painter, potter, writer, playwriter, film-producer, inventor of alternative building styles and material, journalist, ex-minister of culture - whoever knows which profession he has not experienced? You may visit the Atelier and buy some products - not so cheap but excellent!

When passing the following slope, you look down on CABNAVE, a shipyard built in the 1980s. It does mainly repair of the local fleet. Dreams of production for international markets, making use of the "cheap labour force of Cape Verde" have ended after evaluating living cost and production cost in Cape Verde. Every droplet of drinking water, every KWh .......... are the end of most dreams of industrial production in this country.

Now the pathway climbs slowly and the view over Porto Grande, with the rocks of Morro Branco on the western extreme is widening. The latter continues to be a military area. The former portuguese army barracs we have to pass on this side are abandoned. 

In the middle of the bay, Ilheu dos Pássaros defends its place agains all cavetousness coming to cape verdean shores. In the 15th century it has seen portuguese soldiers and "discoverors" and catalane sailors coming to harvest urzela, a staining lichen. Later pirats came to hide away in the ideal natural harbour. In the 19th, when Mindelo grew as a town within a few decades, Ilheu has seen hundreds and hundreds of steam ships simultaneously in the bay, unloading and bunkering coal from England and water from Santo Antao.  When the black smoke over the bay has cleared and fuel oil substituted coal, transatlantic cable from Latin America, North America, Europe and Africa were pulled into the town by english Telegraph companies, helping Mindelo to escape the worst of crisis.
In the 1940s and 1950s ships passed by taking thousends of famined young people to São Tomé, Angola and Moçambique, voluntarily and forced and very many never came back.
The story of real and potential intruders fills libraries. Even a german emperor, Wilhelm II, declared the occupation of the Cape Verde Island a priority objective in World War I. Fortunately, he remained among those who never managed.

The canons at Ponta João Ribeiro were hardly ever used. Since the end of the Napoleon wars, Portugals economy was deeply dependent from the UK. This meant there was a strong power watching over Cape Verde from the background and never allowing any competitor to take it away from Portugal because of its unparalleled geo-strategic position in the centre of transport for trade and warfare between Europa and most colonies. 

Later, during World War II, despite all sympathy of the portuguese fashist government for Hitler and Mussolini, vulnerable little Portugal preferred to remain neutral - and managed not to be occupied  by any of the parties.

When, after 1945, the very heart of geostratigic interest in the times of cold war moved to the Arctic, Cape Verde and the Central Atlantic did not disappear from the screens of the armies totally, but it was of  very reduced interest. 
So the young independent government perfectly managed to maneuvre amidst the power blocks and never was obliged to sell its beautiful mountains to the RADAR System of one of them.

In the aera of remote sensing and continent wide aliances, the canons of Ponta de João Ribeiro are allowed to rust silently.


Bem conché Esse Mindelo pequinino
Bem conchê Sabura di nôs terra
Bem conchê Ess paraiso di cretcheu
Qui nôs poeta cantá coï amôr
Na sês verso imortal criôl
Quem ca conchê Mindelo
Ca conché Cabo-Verde
Bem disfrutá morabéza
Dêss povo franco sem igual
Li nó ca tem riqueza
Nô ca tem ôro nô ca tem diamante
Ma nó tem ess paz di Deus
Qui na mundo ca tem
E êss clima sabe qui Deus dône
Bem conchê êss pais


Come to learn to know tiny Mindelo,
Come to learn to know the joy of our country
Come to learn to know the paradise of lovers
Our poets sing about with loving words
In immortal Creole verse
Who does not know Mindelo
Does not know Cape Verde. 
Enjoy the hospitality
Of this open minded nation.
We are not rich.
We don't have any gold nor diamonds. 
But we do have the peace of the Lord 
Which you may never find in the wold.
And a climate, given by God. 
Come to learn to know this country.