The Cape Verde Islands have a volcanic origin. Millions of years ago, deep under the ocean, the European and African tectonic plates collided. Magmatic activities pushed up volcanoes and created the Macaronesia geographic area: various island groups including the Cape Verde islands.
The Cape Verde islands are not of the same age. The islands of Sal and Boavista were formed during the Miocene era, some 26 million years ago. Fogo and Brava, on the other hand, are relatively young islands and emerged from the ocean about 100,000 years ago. The volcanic landscape predominates these young islands. The picturesque landscape and hiking trails are therefore popular with nature and hiking enthusiasts. Only stratovolcanoes (composite volcanoes) are visible on the islands. These are the most famous types of volcanoes and they look conical, have steep slopes and a crater at the top. They are composed of solidified lava alternated with materials such as stones and ash. Well-known stratovolcanoes in the world are, for example, Mount Etna (Italy), Kilimanjaro (Africa) and Mount Fuji (Japan). Stratovolcanoes are unpredictable and dangerous when they erupt. Sometimes they are dormant for hundreds of years until they explode. In Cape Verde, the stratovolcano on the island of Fogo is the only volcano that erupted in the last century.
Below we have listed the visible volcanoes on the islands of Cape Verde for you. All but two volcanoes have long been dormant or have been extinct. Nevertheless, the landscape around the volcano is beautiful to see and it is an experience to do a climb.
Height: 2,829 meters
Last eruption: 2014
The circular island of Fogo consists only of the volcano Fogo. This is also Cape Verde’s most active volcano and it last erupted in 2014. People even live on the 8-kilometer-wide old floor of the volcano (caldera), because this is where the most fertile land for agriculture can be found. On top of this caldeira is a (new) volcano top of more than 1 kilometer high called Pico do Fogo. During the 2014 eruption, lava flowed into the caldeira and destroyed some of the national park’s homes and visitor center. Although a guided tour, hike on the caldeira and even the ascent to the top of the volcano is possible with a guide.
Altitude: 900 meters
Last eruption: date unknown
The second active volcano of the Cape Verde islands is located on Brava, located west of the island of Fogo. The volcano of the same name as the island is geologically young and active. There are regular increased seismic activities (earthquakes), but eruptions have not been recorded since researchers have registered this. The earthquakes indicate that there is a chance of a volcanic eruption. Brava has 15 craters that intersect along the top of the island.
Height: 725 meters
Last eruption: a long time ago, date unknown
The last eruption on Sao Vicente dates back to the Pleistocene geological era. This is the period from approximately 2.6 million to 11.7 thousand years ago. The landscape has been eroded over the ten thousands of years due to the wind and other weather influences. A number of small craters are still clearly visible, including Viana (163 meters high) in the southeast of the island.
Altitude: 1,979 meters
Last eruption: not recent, probably this volcano is extinct
Volcanic activity on Santo Antao dates from millions of years ago to ten thousands of years ago (Pliosceen and Pleisosceen). The highest crater and also the highest mountain in Santo Antao is Topa da Coroa with a height of 1,979 meters.