Angie Greaves spent last week in West Africa’s Cape Verde, staying at the Melia Tortuga resort on Sal’s white sands. She shares her experience on the island where you can get to know the locals, scuba dive and get a hair-braided masterpiece.
Just five and a half hours from London Gatwick is the island of Sal, nestled amongst a cluster of tiny neighbouring islands in Cape Verde, West Africa. To say it’s beautiful is an understatement. It was absolutely breathtaking.
There are no traffic lights, very few street lights and very little traffic – a natural island full of beauty, surrounded by beaches and around August time you may even see a few turtles walk across Ponta Preta beach. The breeze on the island takes away the sting – albeit a lovely sting – of 30 degree sunshine.
To the south of the island you can’t help but notice the palatial five star Melia Tortuga Beach Resort, a natural beach with powder white sand, two main swimming pools and two shallow pools. You can sit and watch the sunset of an evening at the O’Grille Beach Bar, fine dine in the Aqua Restaurant or soak up the great family atmosphere in the Spices Restaurant.
Going off the beaten track to meet the locals is as much of an adventure as staying on the resort. A simple but pleasant lifestyle where the minimum is just enough, but there’s no feeling of hardship or poverty as the natural Vitamin D dominates the day.
Now, getting your hair plaited on Cape Verde true African style is a must, and my eldest daughter was treated to a hairdressing experience which involved the choice between electricity and running water – electricity won hands down. It was of course the old traditional style of washing hair: no shower attachment, just bowls of soft spring water rinsing out the masses of shampoo resulting in silky hair. The plaiting process involved three ladies who created a masterpiece and I’ve never seen anything like it.
Eco tourists and diving lovers will feel right at home on the island as there is much to see and experience. For those not experienced in scuba diving, there’s an option to take a short course, or you may choose to board the glass bottomed boat and watch the world undersea from your seat instead!
Whether you’re staying in a two bedroomed apartment with sea view, or a three bedroomed beach-front villa complete with private garden, dining area and private pool, the hospitality and love of the people at Melia Tortuga make it a real home from home.
The resort boasts a private beach (one of the top 50 in the world) where you can hire out a Bali Bed with champagne – I could have got used to this idea of “home”.
The Island of Sal’s catchphrase is “No Stress” – with Melia Tortuga and Cape Verde, they all made for an awesome Feeling Fab combination.