Before my first trip in Cape Verde, I had a lot of warnings about the country’s safety. Most people told me to be really careful, that it is not really safe there. Apparently, it is a really dangerous country ! So, inevitably, when you are a woman and that you are travelling by yourself, people worried.
This didn’t stop me, quite the opposite. I always say to the ones who worry about me that nowadays we aren’t safe anywhere anymore (with terrorism, protests…). Of course, I take this remarks seriously and I do some research before to go. And, this time, I wasn’t really going alone, my friend Laurence was coming to join me during my trip there.
BEFORE TO LEAVE
My first reflex was to look at my book guide « Le Petit Futé » (and yes, for once, it wasn’t a Lonely Planet as they didn’t write one for this destination) was saying about the safety in the country. And, indeed, few cities had warnings about the fact that tourists have to keep their valuable objects and identity papers in a safe locker, especially on Sal island.
So, as for any other travel I’ve made, I’ve register myself on the Ariane website. It is a French diplomatic website which is really useful to be informed if something happens at the chosen destination. It also allows the French government to know where you are in case.
But, once I was there, I’ve wonder where all this warnings were coming from. During all my stay, I’ve never felt unsafe. Of course, as in each country or destination, you always need to be careful and to avoid to walk alone in some places but this is more common sense and it applies to any destinations.
In Sal and Boa Vista islands, indeed, you have to be a bit more cautious there, without becoming paranoid. As they are the most touristic islands, it seems logical. Some Cape Verdeans (and others – more especially the Senegalese) are coming to Sal island to find a job. And, when they don’t find it or don’t get paid enough to life, they might robe to get a bit of cash. So, avoid to walk around showing all your valuables.
On the other hand, in Praia, the capitol, the atmosphere is not the same. You must take a cab as soon as it is dark, avoid to walk alone by night. For me, it was the only place where I didn’t feel completely safe.
Most Cape Verdeans are aware of the importance of tourism for their islands. They will do their best to make sure you are having a wonderful time in their country. 😉
And you, have you already been to Cape Verde, what was your perception?