Hiking on Brava – The Road to Fajã de Água
Head northwest of Nova Sintra, on a relatively easy and well maintained cobblestone path, and you will reach the town of Rodela Baixo. From here, there is a trail to the town of Fajã de Água, one of Cape Verde’s most charming bays. The trail is a descent of moderate difficulty, through a deep valley terraced with fruit orchids.
Tamarinds, maracuja (passionfruit) and papaya were in season, and my favourite part of the trial was snacking on the freshly ripened tamarind hanging low off their trees. If you live in a city like we do, freshly ripened anything is always a treat.
This trail was surprisingly different from Brava’s cloud forest trail, which we undertook the day before. Unlike the route around the rim of the island’s caldera, the road to Fajã de Água was quite dry, although still lined densely with vegetation. I personally thought the hike downhill was a bit too much effort for the pay off, although it was still a worthwhile activity.
The town of Fajã de Água was delightfully quaint. Situated right up against Brava’s steep slopes, with the Atlantic lapping close to it, it was everything you’d expect a fishing village to be. Our guide, Beto (who is by trade a fisherman), had offered to take us free diving in the bay. We were very excited when this was proposed to us the day before. We were both looking forward to watching him in action, possibly making videos of him catching octopi, and perhaps, a lobster or two. Unfortunately the sea was far too rough, and the plan had to be scrapped.
Instead, we headed over to the abandoned airport south of the town. On the road from the village, as it twists and bends, the airport occasionally looked like something out of Star Wars. A huge expanse of runway carved right into the red bed-rock of Brava.
Along the way, we met two little girls, four and six, I’d say, who were walking by themselves, hand in hand, down this rather long stretch of road. We found it a wonder that children could be safe on their own, out here on a road, in near wilderness. Anywhere else, and they’d surely be run over. But I supposed it was because the entire island was such a small community that everyone kept a look out for each other.
All it all, it was a good hike. Now if only the sea hadn’t been so rough that we could have gone diving with Beto… We didn’t, but if you have the chance, his details are right here:
Albert Andradi Batista (Beto)