Environment in Cape Verde


We are all encouraged to look after our planet and Cape Verde is engaging with this requirement. This small country has some ambitious plans to produce all of its power requirements from sustainable sources. This will include both solar and wind power and possibly wave power too. Nature is also important to Cape Verdeans. Forests have been planted and farming practices developed. Cape Verde has improved its protection of flora and fauna, with particular emphasis on turtles, which were being hunted. There are marine reserves and two islands have Biosphere status.

UNESCO Biosphere

In 2020 two Cape Verde islands were granted UNESCO Biosphere status. The two islands are Fogo and Maio. The Biosphere status is to promote conservation of biodiversity. It is unusual for a country to have two Biosphere’s and for a small, developing country such as Cape Verde, this is quite an achievement.


Wildlife found in these islands is subject to protection and conservation. Possibly most notably the turtles that make their nests and lay their eggs in the sand dunes. Sand dunes are found on the easternmost islands. In the past, turtles were hunted and slaughtered. The five species of turtle that are found in the waters around the islands are still endangered. There are, however, various projects in Cape Verde, working to protect these gentle creatures.

Information on the animals that can be found is given on our Animals in Cape Verde page. There are endemic plants that are in danger of extinction. Some have already become extinct. More information can be found on our Plants in Cape Verde page.

Ethical Destination

The ‘Ethical Traveller’ is an Earth Island Institute project. It compiles lists of the ten countries in the Developing World that they consider to be the most ethical holiday destinations – The World’s Ten Best Ethical Destinations. Cape Verde was on this list in 2016 and has been on it again in 2020 and 2021. This organisation mentions the progress Cape Verde has made in ‘gender equality, LGBT rights, environmental issues, and journalistic freedom’.

The 2019 ‘UNESCO Prize for the Safeguarding and Management of Cultural Landscapes’ award was given to the Instituto do Património Cultural in Cabo Verde. This was because of the management and sustainable approach to the Cova-Paúl-Ribeira da Torre Natural Park on Santo Antão.

Cape Verde is also the only country in Africa to have received the highest ranking for travel safety from International SOS. This is the travel and medical security services company.


Cape Verde understands that a care for the environment is important. Over 500,000 people live in this relatively poor country in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. The country’s concern for the environment is prompted by previous droughts and the consequent risk of hunger. Cape Verde is not wealthy in terms of natural resources, but relies heavily on tourism. The implementation of environmentally conscious schemes is a challenge. It is one that the Cape Verdeans could have been excused for ignoring. Common sense has prevailed however, and consequently the country embraced a care for the environment.

Cape Verde has ambitious targets for energy from renewable sources. The country is currently working towards obtaining half of its energy requirements from renewable sources. This is an exciting prospect that many other countries should copy. Currently 25% of the country’s electricity comes from wind turbines located on the four largest islands. There are also solar panel installations. The eventual target is to obtain all of its energy requirements from renewables, but in addition to produce a surplus. That surplus will then be exported to other countries in West Africa.