Cape Verde Country Facts

By | May 21, 2024
Cabo Verde
Capital city Praia
Surface 4,033 km²
Population 540,000
Road network length 360 km
Length of highway network 0 km
First highway N/A
Motorway name N/A
Traffic drives Right
License plate code Resume

Cape Verde or Cabo Verde, in full the Republic of Cape Verde (Portuguese: República de Cabo Verde) is an archipelago and country in the Atlantic Ocean, belonging to the continent of Africa. The country is approximately the size of a Dutch province and has more than 500,000 inhabitants. The capital is Praia.


Cape Verde forms an archipelago of 10 islands in the Atlantic Ocean, 650 kilometers west of Senegal, 1,600 kilometers south of the Canary Islands and 2,600 kilometers northeast of Brazil. The archipelago consists of two archipelagos, the Windward Islands (Barlavento) and the Leeward Islands (Sotavento). The islands are volcanic in origin and mountainous, the terrain is steep and rocky. The highest point is the 2,829 meter high Pico do Fogo.

The islands have a desert climate, but the temperatures are not as high as in the Sahara. In the capital Praia, the average maximum temperatures are between 25°C in winter and 30°C in late summer. However, much higher temperatures are relatively rare. In the period from December to July there is almost no precipitation, in September precipitation peaks. 260 mm falls per year. Higher in the mountains, more precipitation falls due to condensation. Many hurricanes that hit North America originate around Cape Verde.


In 1960 Cape Verde had only 200,000 inhabitants, which grew to 400,000 inhabitants in the mid-1990s and half a million inhabitants today. The country has two larger towns, the capital Praia has approximately 130,000 inhabitants and Mindelo has approximately 70,000 inhabitants. The other places usually have less than 10,000 inhabitants. About half of all inhabitants live on the island of Santiago, where the capital Praia is located.

Cape Verde was uninhabited when it was discovered by the Portuguese and thus has no indigenous population. Most of the inhabitants are mulattos, a mix of Europeans and Africans whose ancestors were brought to the islands as slaves. The official language of Cape Verde is Portuguese, which is used in education, media and government. However, a creole variant is spoken as a vernacular.


Cape Verde is a developing country with a low level of wealth, but higher than in many other parts of Africa. The country has very few raw materials and the land is only suitable for agriculture to a limited extent. The main export product is therefore fish. There is some tourism, the country is relatively stable and a cheap holiday destination not too far from Europe. The island of Sal, in particular, is quite developed touristically.


The archipelago was discovered in 1456 by Portuguese navigators. The islands were uninhabited at the time. In 1462 a first settlement was founded on the island of Santiago. In 1770 Praia became the capital of the colony. Mindelo also gained importance as an accessible natural harbor in the 19th century. However, the islands had a shortage of raw materials, which made it difficult to create prosperity. Portuguese investments in the islands were also small. In response to growing unrest, Portugal changed the status of the islands from colony to overseas province in 1951. After the 1974 revolution in Portugal, the archipelago gained independence in 1975. In the past there were wishes for a union with Guinea-Bissau, another ex-Portuguese colony. Cape Verde was a one-party state between independence and 1990. Since then, Cape Verde has been a stable country where some tourism has been developed.

Road Network

Cape Verde’s road network is not particularly extensive, the islands and towns are small and the mountainous character prevents well-developed roads. Around the capital Praia there is a new ring road with 2×2 lanes, the Circular da Praia, but it is not grade-separated. This also applies to the road from Espargos via Amílcar Cabral airport to Santa Maria on the island of Sal, this road also has 2×2 lanes but intersections are done with roundabouts. Most main roads are paved and the inland route over the island of Santiago is considered spectacular. Some of the paved roads consist of cobblestones. The road network of the capital Praia is relatively modern. Unpaved roads are only found in the slums.

Cape Verde’s highest road is a road on the island of Fogo, through the caldera of the Pico de Fogo volcano. This road is at an altitude of 1,800 meters, but has been closed since a volcanic eruption in 1995. The road can now be driven up to an altitude of 1,750 meters on the south side of the volcano. The road originally ran only to the village of Portola, which was destroyed by the volcanic eruption.

Road numbering


Regional, municipal and national roads have a unique administrative road numbering because an abbreviation of the road category, the island or municipality name and the road class is incorporated in the road number. For example, the EN3-SN-01 means that this is the National Road 1 of the 3rd class on the island of São Nicolau.

Road categories are:

  • EN – Estrada Nacional
  • ER – Estrada Rural
  • EM – Estrada Municipal

Names of islands or municipalities as used in road numbers

  • BR – Bravac
  • BV – Boa Vista
  • CV – Island of Fogo, Municipality of Covo Figueira
  • FG – Fogo
  • MA – Maio
  • MO – Island of Fogo, municipality of Mosteiros
  • SA – Santo Antao
  • SF – Island of Fogo, Municipality of São Filipe
  • SL – Salo
  • SN – Saõ Nicolau
  • SP – Island of Santiago, Municipality of Pedra Badejo
  • ST – Santiago
  • SV – Sao Vicente

List of Estradas Nationais and Estradas Rurales

San Antonio

Road number Route
EN1-SA-01 Porto Novo – Ribeira Grande
EN1-SA-02 Paul – Ponta do Sol
EN1-SA-03 Porto Novo – Paul
EN3-SA-01 Ribeira Grande – Xôxô
EN3-SA-02 Ribeira Grande – Garca de Cima
EN3-SA-03 Boca de Pinhao – Pinhao
EN3-SA-04 Boca de Figueiral (EN3-SA-02) – João Afonso
EN3-SA-05 Boca de Ambas as Ribeiras (EN3-SA-02)- Caibro
EN3-SA-06 Manta Velha (EN3-SA-02) – Cruzinha da Graça
EN3-SA-07 Selada do Alto Mira (EN3-SA-09) – Alto Mira
EN3-SA-08 Esponjeiro (Entroncamento EN1-SA-01) – Lagoa
EN3-SA-09 Ponte Sul – Ribeira da Cruz
EN3-SA-10 Ponte Sul (EN3-SA-10) – Tarrafal de Monte Trigo
ER-SA-03 Paul (EN1-SA-03) – Cabo da Ribeira
ER-SA-04 Boca de Curral (EN3-SA-02) – Chã de Pedras (Piathe Cima)
ER-SA-05 Sinagoga – Lombo Branco

Sao Vicente

Road number Route
EN1-SV-01 Mindelo – Aeroporto Cesaria Évora
EN2-SV-01 Mindelo – Baia das Gatas
EN2-SV-02 Mindelo – Calhau
EN3-SV-01 Aeroporto Cesaria Évora – Sao Pedro
EN3-SV-02 EN2-SV-01 – Salamansa
EN3-SV-03 EN2-SV-01 – Monte Verde
EN3-SV-04 Gale (EN1-SV-01) – Morro Branco
EN3-SV-05 Calhau (EN2-SV-02) – Baia das Gatas(EN2-SV-01)
ER-SV-01 Lameirão (EN2-SV-01) – Selada de Baleia

Sao Nicolau

Road number Route
EN1-SN-01 Ribeira Brava – Tarrafal
EN2-SN-01 Ribeira Brava (EN1-SN-01) – Aerodromo daPreguiça
EN3-SN-01 Tarrafal – Ribeira da Prata
EN3-SN-02 Lombinho (EN2-SN-01) – Carrical
EN3-SN-03 Aerodromo da Preguiça – Preguiça
EN3-SN-04 Ribeira Brava – gua das Patas
EN3-SN-05 Cachaço (Entroncamento EN1-SN-01) – Monte Gordo
EN3-SN-06 Bypass EN1-SN-01
EN3-SN-07 Ribeira Brava – Entroncamento EN2-SN-01


Road number Route
EN1-SL-01 Espargos – Santa Maria
EN1-SL-02 Espargos – Palmeira
EN3-SL-01 Santa Maria – Ponta do Sino (Avenida dos Hoteis)
EN3-SL-02 Espargos – Pedra de Lume

Boa Vista

Road number Route
EN1-BV-01 Sal Rei – Rabil
EN3-BV-01 Rabil – Cabeca dos Tarafes (Norte)
EN3-BV-02 EN1-BV-01 – EN3-BV-01
EN3-BV-03 Rabil (EN3-BV-01) – Povoação Velha
EN3-BV-04 Entroncamento EN3-BV-03 – Lacacão
EN3-BV-05 Entroncamento EN3-BV-01 – Estância de Baixo


The signage in Cape Verde is based on the Portuguese model. The traffic signs used are European.


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