Maio to be a UNESCO Biosphere reserve?

turtles on maio

A recent report has identified the island of Maio as having the necessary conditions to be considered as part of the UNESCO Biosphere. Biosphere reserves are ‘areas comprising terrestrial, marine and coastal ecosystems’.

Consultants identified Maio as having the potential to be an excellent reserve, given its size and the quality of the natural environment as well as being part of Macaronesia (islands in the North Atlantic, belonging to Portugal, Spain and Cape Verde). It is hoped that the formalities will be submitted to UNESCO by September and then the proposal is considered with a decision due in July 2019. Some aspects may not be completed in time for that deadline and may have to be considered for next year. Submissions always have to be made by September.

Designating the island of Maio in this way could bring some advantages for the island, including recognition world wide, and it will bring to the island organisations and individuals interested in research. It will also provide support in the management of the natural resources on the island.

Residency permits for foreign nationals

cape verde residency permits

The parliament in Cape Verde has passed a act of parliament that will enable the granting of permanent residency permits to foreign owners of homes in the country. These permits will mean that owners will be given priority at the offices of the Foreign and Borders Service. Such priorities will also include a spouse and children aged under 14.

These Residency Permits will apply to properties costing over €80,000 in towns where the Gross Domestic Product is below the national average. In towns where the GDP is higher than the national average, it will apply to properties costing over €120,000.

The same bill also gives some exemptions from the Single Property Tax on the relevant properties. Retired people living in Cape Verde, but with income from elsewhere, will also receive some tax exemptions.

Saharan sand over Cape Verde

saharan sand

In winter, winds known as the Harmatten blow west over the Sahara Desert. In the process the winds pick up sand and dust from the Sahara and blow it over the Atlantic. This year, at the end of January, NASA’s satellites picked up images of the Saharan sand over the ocean and over the Cape Verde islands.

The mountainous islands, such as Santiago, São Nicolau and Santo Antão block some of the sand. As a result there is less dust on the west side of the archipelago. The sand blows across the Atlantic to the Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico. The sand fertilises the sea with nutrients, which can promote the growth of plankton, but can also bring about damage to coral reefs, because of micro-organisms it contains.

Visa update

cape verde visa update

The government of Cape Verde is planning to remove the requirement to purchase a visa for visitors from the USA, Canada and the non-Schengen counties of Europe (which includes the UK). The relaxation of visa requirements for visitors from the European Union, which was agreed last year, comes into force in May of this year. The aim of this extension to the visa waiver is intended to encourage more investment, more employment opportunities and more visitors from further afield.

Plants in Cape Verde

orange flower santiago

There are lots of interesting and attractive plants to be found in Cape Verde. This picture, was taken on the island of Santiago. There are the familiar plants such as bougainvillea, but many others that are far less common in Europe. If you are interested in plants, there is a lot to find here, especially on some of the more mountainous islands, such as Santiago, Brava and Santo Antão, where slightly more rainfall encourages a more diverse range of plants.

Rescued whales on Maio beach

stranded whales on maio

On Sunday, three young whales became stranded on the little beach next to Stella Maris in Vila do Maio. Various attempts were made to push them back into the sea but even with ropes and sheets, this proved impossible. Eventually a fishing boat arrived and using its motor they managed to get these three lovely creatures back into deeper water. This successful outcome was greeted with applause from the crowd that had gathered. Its puzzling why the whales came into such shallow waters. Congratulations to all concerned.

maio two stranded whales

Vila do Maio beach – Bitxe Rotxa

maio main beach bitxe rotxa

There are so many lovely beaches to choose from in Cape Verde. On the small, sleepy island of Maio, the beaches are often deserted. This picture is of the main beach, known as Bitxe Rotxa, in Vila do Maio. There are two bars on the beach one of which (Bar Tropikal) stages live music on Saturday evenings. Maio is a lovely, peaceful place for a relaxing holiday, away from the hustle and bustle of daily life.