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Cape Verde > Pictures and travelogues > Volcano of Fogo, Cape Verde

Pictures from the volcano in the island of Fogo, Cape Verde: Pico do Fogo (Pico Grande) and Pico Novo.

Pico do Fogo volcano in Fogo, Cape Verde
Pico do Fogo (Pico Grande), a volcano in the island of Fogo in Cape Verde: 2,829 m above sea level.

Fogo is part of the Sotavento Islands, i.e. the islands that are located in the southern part of the Cape Verde archipelago. Fogo is a volcanic island. The volcano, Pico do Fogo, culminates at an altitude of 2,829 m. It is the highest point of the whole archipelago. Pico do Fogo has experienced 30 eruptions since the 15th century when records started. Recent eruptions date back to 1951, 1995 and 2014.

Pico do Fogo (also known as Pico Grande) is located within a large caldera, called Chã das Caldeiras (this is also the name of the village situated in the caldera). This 9 km diameter caldera has been formed by the collapse of a much older volcano, Monte Armarelo. It occupies a large part of the east of the island. It is inhabited and cultivated. On the west side, the caldera is bounded by a 2,700 m high rocky walls (the "bordeira") while on the east side, it opens onto the ocean. The entire caldera is part of Fogo Natural Park.

Until the middle of the eighteenth century, the eruptions of Pico do Fogo occurred at the top of the volcano. That summit collapsed later on, which formed a 700 m large crater. Since then, eruptions occurred on the flanks of Pico do Fogo or elsewhere within the caldera. They formed volcanic cones. The summit of Pico Grande offers panoramic views up to Mosteiros, a city located in the northeast of the island.

Tourists arrive in Fogo mostly by plane from Praia (Santiago Island). They can also get there by air from the island of Sal or by sea from Praia. Fogo is the common stopover for people traveling by ferry to the nearby island of Brava which has no airport. Fogo airport is located near the town of São Filipe, which is the capital of the island and its port city. São Filipe is located to the west coast of the island.

Pico Novo in Fogo, Cape Verde
Crater of Pico Novo in the island of Fogo, Cape Verde. Pico Novo, 2.100 m above sea level, is the volcanic cone formed by the eruption of 2014.

The most recent eruption of the volcano of Fogo began on November 23, 2014 and ended on February 8, 2015, after 77 days of activity. It was particularly devastating. It largely destroyed the villages of Portela and Bangaeira that are situated in the caldera. This eruption resulted in the formation of Pico Novo, 2,100 m above sea level. Lava flows have partly filled the crater of Pico Pequeno ("Small Peak") which was created by the eruption of 1995 at a 1 920 m altitude.

Pico Novo and Pico do Fogo, Cape Verde
Overview of Pico Novo (foreground) and Pico do Fogo (background) in the island of Fogo, Cape Verde.

Both Pico Novo and Pico do Fogo are hiking destinations. Climbing Pico Novo is significantly easier than climbing Pico do Fogo (Pico Grande). Pico do Fogo can be descended in a sporting way (running, skiing,  on a surfboard).

Usually, hikes start within the caldera or at the foot of the volcano. The road going up from São Filipe to Chã das Caldeiras is indeed in good conditions (except currently - 2016 - a section heavily damaged by the eruption of 2014). Climbing and descending Pico Grande occur in 4 h. The hike to Pico Novo (from Chã das Caldeiras to Portela) takes 3 hours. Due to sun exposure, climbing Pico do Fogo starts ideally early in the morning.


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Pictures from the volcano in the island of Fogo, Cape Verde: Pico do Fogo (Pico Grande) and Pico Novo.