Fogo - Island of Fire, Cape Verde

Fogo is one of the Cape Verde islands which lie in the Atlantic 500 km off the coast of Senegal. It is one of the most amazing places I have ever visited.

The whole island is a volcano rising to a height of 2,829m (9,281 feet) above sea level (Pico do Fogo). It has a caldera 9km across from which rise the cones of numerous volcanic eruptions over the centuries. The volcano is still active and closely monitored. The last eruption was in 1995 resulting in a new cone called Pico Pequeno.

On entering the caldera, Chã das Caldeiras, visitors are confronted with a scene of utter devastation - massive lava fields and rocks the size of buses have been spewed out of the bowels of the earth.

Amongst this devastation, two small villages, Portela and Bangaeira, lie inside the caldera. Vocanic soil is very fertile and the residents cultivate fruit, vegetables and coffee around the edge of the caldera. The local wine produced and bottled in the crater by the cooperative is excellent. Sadly it is virtually impossible to buy it outside of Cape Verde.

Fogo is also very popular with hikers. There are lots of walks, some more challenging than others, in and around the crater. However, the highlight for many is a hike to the top of Pico do Fogo, with a guide, of course.

Here is a video (not taken by me) of the eruption in 1995, The power of these natural forces is staggering. Eighteen years on when my photos were taken, the ravaged landscape looks very benign. However the residents of the two villages in the crater must live in fear of it happening again.

Stock photography by Jenny Bailey at AlamyClick on any image to see a larger version.

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