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Cape Verde: Coculi to Rabo Curto hike

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Coculi to Rabo Curto hike | Cape Verde | Africa

[Visited: October 2014]

On a quiet Sunday morning, I am lucky to find an aluguer, local minibus, to Ribeira Grande from Punta do Sol with only one woman as the other passenger. Waiting for another aluguer towards Coculi, I chat with some locals who are going the same way. After a while, they start running after an empty aluguer which does not have the red colour the ones going to Coculi are supposed to have, and I decide to follow them. When we arrive in Coculi, they jump out, thank the driver, and tell me I don't have to pay because the driver just had to go home. I feel lucky, and start hiking up the valley, and turn left into Chã de Pedra after talking to a local who, after asking for a confirmation of the right way, does not stop talking about all the things I can see further up the valley. Behind me, clouds hover around the peaks of the jagged mountains, and I wonder what the weather will do today. You never know, in the mountains.

Picture of Coculi to Rabo Curto hike (Cape Verde): View over the clouds floating above Ribeira de Torre

Without wanting to hurry, I am trying to combine two hikes today, and I do not want to be back on the main coastal road too late, so I decide to keep on hiking. The valley is still wide in the beginning, and well-dressed people walk down the same road, on their way to church. Pia de Cima is quickly reached, and from here, the track that can also accommodate cars, becomes a trail. Most of it has stones as surface, just like the coastal trail we hiked along the day before. I quickly gain altitude, and the view gets better every step I take. Small villages on the other side of the valley are perched on narrow ridges, there are terraces everywhere, and I now have a view all the way up the steep mountains. Dogs bark at me in Agriões, but I just keep on walking, have to ask for directions once, and work my way up the steepest stretch which directly leads to a lone cottage with fantastic views into the valley which now lies deep below me. From here, I climb further, and suddenly, there are clouds below me, and I can only see the top of the mountains floating on top of the fluffy white stuff. When I reach the top, the landscape changes considerably: there are wide valleys, small streams, scattered houses, and people working the land. The description of the hike fails here, and I realize I am going the wrong way before it is too late, and ask two farmers for Lin d'Corv - a curious name for a village.

Picture of Coculi to Rabo Curto hike (Cape Verde): View over Cova, and São Vicente in the background

To my surprise, I walk through a pine forest and cool air, and just when I wonder if I am on the right track (I have not seen a living soul since the two farmers), I reach the track, turn left, and walk through Lin d'Corv to Espongeiros, where I drink juice with a friendly woman selling from her house where an old drunk is dancing, and eat some cookies. The stoney road leads through a pine forest, and I reach what I think is the turnoff for the trail to Ribeira de Torre. Again, the guide is not clear, and I take my chances. To my surprise, after a couple of minutes, I find myself on a ridge, and look down right into Cova, the ancient crater. To my even greater surprise, I can see the sea, and the island of São Vicente. I savour the view, before going on. When I start to descend, I shout out loud: the view is magnificent! A thick layer of clouds, above which mountains appear, with terraces on amazing places. I enjoy the views, knowing that as soon as I hit the clouds, I won't be able to see anything anymore. Then, after a while, I suddenly break through the clouds, and see the village of Rabo Curto before me, built on a long, narrow ridge, which leads to Torre, a pinnacle in the middle of the valley, and the source of its name. The village has one street, and one house on the side: the ridge is too narrow for more. After views of spectacular rock formations and pinnacles, I reach a new asphalt road, making the walk back to Ribeira Grande easy. When I reach it, my legs scream to stop and my body begs for a soft drink. I decide to listen to my body - after having taken me over the mountains, giving me a deep feeling of satisfaction, it deserves it!

Picture of Coculi to Rabo Curto hike (Cape Verde): The upper part of Chã de Pedra with terraced fields and scattered houses
Picture of Coculi to Rabo Curto hike (Cape Verde): Path beyond Pia de Cima
Picture of Coculi to Rabo Curto hike (Cape Verde): The curved path between Pia de Cima and Agriões
Picture of Coculi to Rabo Curto hike (Cape Verde): Path leading through Agriões village in Chã de Pedra
Picture of Coculi to Rabo Curto hike (Cape Verde): Clouds floating against the steep mountains above Ribeira de Torre
Picture of Coculi to Rabo Curto hike (Cape Verde): Terrace and clouds above Chã de Pedra
Picture of Coculi to Rabo Curto hike (Cape Verde): Mountain peaks enveloped in clouds above Coculi
Picture of Coculi to Rabo Curto hike (Cape Verde): Looking back into Chã de Pedra
Picture of Coculi to Rabo Curto hike (Cape Verde): The pinnacle at the end of the ridge on which Rabo Curto is built
Picture of Coculi to Rabo Curto hike (Cape Verde): Mountains west of Cova floating above the clouds
Picture of Coculi to Rabo Curto hike (Cape Verde): The upper part of the path leading from the Cova into the Ribeira de Torre
Picture of Coculi to Rabo Curto hike (Cape Verde): The landscape of Ribeira de Torre with trees and volcanic peaks
Picture of Coculi to Rabo Curto hike (Cape Verde): Scattered houses in the terraced fields at the top of the Chã de Pedra

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