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Mindelo, Cape Verde


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Are there English speaking tours available at the port?

is it safe to walk around town without a guide?


We are waitlisted on a ship tour but I’m wondering about backup plans if we don’t get on that tour.  

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3 hours ago, Wayfairers said:

Are there English speaking tours available at the port?

is it safe to walk around town without a guide?


We are waitlisted on a ship tour but I’m wondering about backup plans if we don’t get on that tour.  


Not sure about the port as I have never cruised there, but I have been to Cabo Verde several times and it's an absolute gem. The entire country is very safe, including Mindelo. Mindelo is small and definitely goes up in elevation once you get away from the waterfront, so be prepared for that. 

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14 minutes ago, Zach1213 said:


Not sure about the port as I have never cruised there, but I have been to Cabo Verde several times and it's an absolute gem. The entire country is very safe, including Mindelo. Mindelo is small and definitely goes up in elevation once you get away from the waterfront, so be prepared for that. 

Thank you.  Great information. 

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We have been to Mindelo twice on cruises (2014 and 2017) and really enjoyed our time there. Below are some photographs and the notes I made after each cruise which may be of use to you. I don't think that things will have changed a lot since we were there. We really enjoyed our time in the town.



·         The shuttle bus runs from 09.00 till 17.00 and drops off at the Eagle monument by the Marina. £5 pp for unlimited journeys.

·         Taxis are available at the port gate.

·         Shops close for lunch from 13.00 to 15.00.

·         Town centre is approx1.5 km from the port.

·         The nearest beach is Laginha Beach - 15 mins walk from the port.

·         It is an industrial port.

·         The tour busses were on the dock side.

·         It was a fair walk to the shuttle bus over uneven ground.

·         The walk to the town was along a promenade once you are out of the dock.

·         There is a small beach by the Marina.

·         We were in MINDELO on a Saturday so that may have a bearing on that was open.

·         I thought the town was attractive with a real Portuguese feel to the buildings and a finished feel.

·         The Marina area is under development and there a few shops including an information centre and some cafés with toilets. Coffee was €1

·         The pavement surface of the promenade area is very uneven.

·         There is a 3 storey castle type structure that you can climb (I don't know if there is a charge) and it looked as if you would get good views over the bay.

·         There was a small fish market by the tower.

·         If you cross the road directly by the tower and walk up the street you come to a market square with a number of stalls selling all manner of items....fruit, vegetables, clothes, shoes, bags, jewellery , souvenirs etc. euros were accepted but you need to haggle.

·         To the left of the market square is a road that will take you to the church square where there is a small department store as well as the church. If you continue to walk parallel to the sea front you come to a street that appeared to the main thoroughfare with some shops and cafés.

·         There were many street vendors but none were persistent when we said a polite 'no thank you'.

·         The island is volcanic and the mountains were visible from the port. They gave a very dramatic back drop to the town.

·         I thought it was a lovely place to visit and will attract more tourists as the redevelopments continue.


·         The port is relatively small and industrial.

·         The busses for the ship's tours waited by the gangway.

·         Independent travellers had a very long walk to the port entrance where taxis were available.

·         Euros are widely accepted and at a rate of €1 = 100 CV Escudos.

·         Local busses run from just outside the port.

·         At a guess I would say that it is over a mile from the ship to the main square of the town.

·         The square is situated on the promenade.

·         There were people selling souvenirs as I walked along the promenade but they didn't hassle tourists to buy their goods.

·         There was a big statue of an eagle on the left just as you get to the main square. On the right was a fairly new complex that had banks, the tourist information booth and a couple of cafes. It almost looked like a private area but it isn't. The main cafe has a nice view across the bay, free wifi and clean toilets.

·         There was a small park on the opposite side of the road just before the square and there was a cafe behind that with free wifi.

·         I saw what appeared to be a HOHO bus but haven't found or seen any information about its schedule/route/pricing.

·         The town has some attractive Portuguese type colonial style buildings.

·         There was a small museum and viewing deck in the castle style building on the waterfront.

·         There was a large market selling fruit, vegetables, fish, clothes and household products.

·         Shops are small (think 1950s before big department/supermarket type outlets).

·         The people were friendly and many spoke at least a little English.





















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You are very welcome. I wish I could help with your questions about Cote d'Ivoire but our day was cancelled last December because of covid restrictions so it is still on our 'to do' list.

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6 hours ago, Izzywiz said:

You don't say what the full itinerary is for your cruise. If you post it, I may be able to help with some of your other ports.....

Thanks for the offer to provide information.  We are on the 2023 Grand Africa. The only other ports I haven't figured out yet are  Abidjan, Ivory Coast and Dakar, Senegal. 

We are planning to walk around town in Limassol, Cyprus and a half day at Victoria, Mahe, Seychelles so if you have any suggestions on what to see in town I would love it if you could share them. 

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Hi Wayfairers, I've had a look at your itinerary for your Grand Africa cruise and am green with envy as it has a fabulously diverse set of ports. I see from your signature that you are keen cruisers and already well travelled although it doesn't show that you have been to Africa. My DH and I have visited many parts of this huge continent on both cruises and land tours and love the amazing history, scenery, wildlife and people but the conditions can be challenging. Many of our fellow travellers have been shocked by the conditions and the lack of facilities. We are very aware that many of the countries are still in the early stages of developing a tourist industry and we know that people show us the best they have which often isn’t much by ‘first world affluent’ standards. We have always found that the local people are very proud of their heritage and are very keen to share what they have.

We have been to all your ports except Souda (Crete), Nosy-Be (Madagascar), Maputo (Mosambique), Richard’s Bay (South Africa), Abidjan (Cote d’Ivoire) and San Juan (Puerto Rico) over the years. In fact, we were in Cape Town (South Africa), Luanda (Angola), Takoradi (Ghana) and Banjul (Gambia) last December so if you require any other information, I am very happy to tell you of our experiences.


We spent many happy summer holidays in Cyprus in the 1980 when our son was young and did our first cruise from Limassol in 1992 but we haven’t been back since so really don’t have any relevant information. I do know that Limassol is a large, modern city so not of particular interest to us. Cyprus has a wonderful history with many sites dating back to the ancient Greeks, Romans, Crusades etc together with gorgeous mountain and costal scenery.

We were in Mahe in 2013 and this is information from my notes at the time –


For me, these islands were the highlight of the cruise and I’m so glad that we had an overnight stay there. They are so clean with the most lush and colourful vegetation and glorious beaches. The people seemed relatively prosperous and were smiling and helpful.

Discovering Mahe Ship’s Tour

I did the ‘Discovering Mahe’ tour which took us to the Botanical Gardens (beautiful), a walking tour of the Mahe town (small but picturesque), a drive up into the central highlands with a couple of stops at viewing points (glorious scenery), a Creole lunch at a beach side restaurant (delicious), and free time on the beach (picture postcard perfect) before returning to the ship.

Praslin and then to Curieuse Island Ship’s Tour

My husband (the adventurous and fit one!) did the ‘Robinson Crusoe Island’ tour which took him to Praslin and then to Curieuse Island. He said the snorkelling was amazing and the beaches were stunning. His photographs are mirror images of the postcard views that you get of the Seychelles.

Mahe Town

·         Taxis were available immediately outside the dock gates.....a brisk 5 minute walk from the ship.

·         Taxis accepted Euros and $US but you need to negotiate. We paid $5 to the town centre. It is walkable but quite a long way and it was very hot and humid.

·         We arrived on a Sunday and most shops were closed.

·         There was a small craft and souvenir market on the dock side.

·         There is a nice market in Mahe centre with vanilla pods, essence, magnets, postcards etc, etc as well as the fish, fruit, flower and textile stalls.

·         The Botanical Gardens (30 mins walk from the dock) were worth a visit to see the huge tortoises, fruit bats and the ‘Coco-de-Mer’ palm trees as well as the beautiful trees and flowers. Admission was 100 Seychelles Rupees (approx $8pp) There are toilets and a cafe.


 These photos are of Mahe town and the Botanical Gardens
















These are from the countryside near Mahe




These were taken by my DH on his tour









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We visited Dakar in 2014 and these are my notes....


·         Dakar, Senegal. General Information
The City centre is approx 1.5km from dock and a Shuttle bus ran from 09.15 to 17.30 on a continuous loop - £5pp tickets from reception for unlimited use.

·         Dakar is a huge industrial port and there were Taxis on the dock side near the gangway.

·         There was also a small souvenir market on the dock side where you need to haggle. The currency is CFA (Senegalese Franc) but the € and US$ are widely accepted in souvenir shops. However, I did find that vendors appeared to have very little concept of the conversion rates and initially quoted ridiculously high prices for goods if I was offering dollars or Euros. I went armed with the current exchange rate in writing which I then showed to the vendor during the haggling process.

·         The official Language is French and I found my very 'school girl' language skills proved to be quite useful.

·         There were some WARNINGS in the 'Daily Times'. The Medical advice is to wear trousers, socks and long sleeved tops + insect repellent and not to buy water from street vendors. I was not aware of many insects and had no problem with bites but I did use the repellent quite liberally.

·         There was a warning about the danger of pick pockets so the advice was to keep valuables well guarded and also the fact that we would will be hassled by beggars and traders.

·         The Senegal post office had a small stall selling cards and stamps just inside the ship by the gangway. Postcards were €1 for 2 cards and stamps were €2. The Post Office official will post them.

My Tour -Sightseeing Tour of Dakar (4hrs)

·         I chose this tour as I have mobility problems and the Excursion information indicated that all the other tours used transport that included vehicles with high steps or needed some climbing/jumping ability plus included a lot of walking over rough terrain so I left those to the more agile passengers. I also felt safe as a single traveller among my fellow passengers and there was a FO crew member with us throughout.

·         The bus was old but had working air conditioning. The microphone didn't work so we struggled to hear the guide initially but he eventually found and used a megaphone, much to everyone’s amusement!

·         Dakar is a big bustling busy city but relatively poor by Western European standards. The road surfaces are poor so the ride was bumpy.

·         We were shown the best that Dakar has to offer which, again, is not a lot if compared with some other countries. There were a couple of photo stops and there were souvenir sellers but they seemed quite respectful.

·         There was a 40 minute stop at a restaurant where there was the opportunity to watch the 'sand painting' artist and to purchase pictures. A beer/soft drink was included here and there were toilet facilities.

·         The other stops (10 minutes each) were at the Presidential Palace and the Monument of the African Renaissance (a huge statue at the top of one of the only 2 hills in Dakar).

·         The tour included driving past the palace, through the University grounds, through the street market, past the cathedral and mosque, along past Independence Square and then along the coast road to see the coastline.

·         We couldn't go to the market as there was nowhere to park so we were back at the ship at 17.30.

Was it worth it? That's a difficult question to answer but I’m glad that I got a chance to see something of Senegal although I would have loved to have seen more of the countryside. On reflection, I would also say yes because I think many people would find it quite intimidating to walk round the city centre. Don't get me wrong, the people seemed polite and pleasant but the roads were extremely busy and the pavements were really crowded. There didn't appear to be many of the types of shops that we are used to either. I also think you would have needed to have done a lot of research to know the best places to visit. I'm also not sure how much English the taxi drivers would speak.


My DH's Tour - Saloum Islands (8hrs)

·         My lovely husband is very fit and agile and also a keen bird watcher and photographer so this tour really suited him. Their bus was air conditioned. They had 2 guides that took turns to give information and both spoke good English.

·         It was a 2.5 hour drive to the river through interesting countryside .......villages, farm land and forested areas. There was a 10 min toilet stop at petrol station.....squat plate toilets!

·         My DH said that it was a very bumpy ride once the bus was off the main road.

·         When the group reached the lake area they were divided into groups to go on the small canoe type boats which held approx 14 passengers.

·         They had to climb in and out of the boat without aid as there were no steps from the beach. The boat ride was approx 45mins.

·         When the group arrived at the Island there was a choice of riding to the village by ox cart or doing a 10 min walk. Lunch was at the Island Eco-lodge and consisted of Spring rolls, fish in light curry sauce, rice, salad and crepes. My DH said the food was very tasty and good quality. Everyone was given a bottle of water at lunch.

·         After the meal people had some free time to look round the island and there were quite a few different species of bird and other forms of wildlife.

·         The tour continued with a 50 minute ride to the 'shell village' where a local guide explained the history of the area. The group left the village at 16.45 and returned to the ship by a different route for part of the journey. They were back on board at 19.00
My DH said that he thoroughly enjoyed the tour as it gave him an insight into the history and geography of Senegal.

Dakar Photos













Saloum Islands










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Thanks for the information!   Wish I had found you when I first started planning for this cruise.  We’ve been to Morocco a couple of times by ship and once on land.  This cruise is our intro to the rest of the country.   We will return by land sometime for an extended that will include at least one safari.   We want to see migration by balloon.  Is that something you’ve done?

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I'm glad that the information has been useful and I hope you have an amazing time. 

We have done safaris in Zimbabwe, South Africa and Botswana and all were amazing. We are now hoping that our 2 week tour of Kenya goes ahead in November after 3 cancellations!. We have done a balloon trip over the Nile and have fingers crossed that we will have the opportunity to do it in Kenya. 

Safe travels


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  • 2 weeks later...
On 2/28/2023 at 12:32 PM, Wayfairers said:

Are there English speaking tours available at the port?

is it safe to walk around town without a guide?


We are waitlisted on a ship tour but I’m wondering about backup plans if we don’t get on that tour.  

We had a nice day excursion from the Oceania Marina while docked in Cabo Verde in April 2017. The price then for a private tour for 8 of us was 60 euro/pp. The tour included a walking tour of Mindelo followed by a drive round the island and a stop for lunch at a private home. It was about 7-8 hours if I recall correctly. I've attached their tour description. Vista Verde tours.

Daytrip_Sao Vicente_cruise ship_172104_King_VV.pdf

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