As the smallest and most remote of Cape Verde’s inhabited islands, Brava has an abundance of lush, green vegetation and flowers due to its wet and cooler environment, with temperatures between 16 and 25 C. With dramatic lava cliffs and deep gorges, it is known as the “secret island” and “island of flowers” by visitors and locals alike.
The initial population of Brava came from Fogo following a volcanic eruption, the new arrivals settling in well into a peaceful life with industries such as farming becoming the main source of income. Fishermen occupying the island fish for supplies of lobster, tuna and shellfish-most of the settlers becoming self-sufficient.
In the 19th century a large number of men of the island ventured off in whaling boats to emigrate to America with the lure of a better life. A succesion of droughts in the early 1940s drove more of the island’s inhabitants away and later in 1982 the island was hit by fierce hurricanes with most of the land being destroyed. Brava did have an airport however this closed in 2004.
Nova Sintra is the capital of Brava where you can visit the museum, churches and shops. Faja d’Agua is the islands small harbour boasting a natural swimming pool and also a fishing port in Furna. This is where the ferries from Santiago and Fogo arrive with a hydrofoil service several years old also operating from the two islands to Praia. This service has monumentally changed accessability to the island and hopefully the development of hotels and restaurants will increse the island’s tourism and bring much needed income to the locals.
With no beaches on the island due to its steep terrain, the main activity on the island is hiking with a number of marked routes and spectacular views to be found. A guide or detailed map is advised for the more adventurous of treks but their are routes for most.