La Cala Golf Resort, Costa del Sol
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The remote string of small islands are home to stunning beaches, pretty seaside towns and mountainous interior. With year-round sunshine and warm weather and a fascinating mix of Portuguese, African and Brazilian cultures, it’s a great location for an adventurous getaway.
The biggest of the islands is Santiago, home to the modern capital of Praia, while the main cultural centre is Mindelo, on the island of Sao Vicente. Sal Island is particularly popular with an enticing mix of volcanic desert terrain, miles of white sandy beaches and clear turquoise waters, and the vibrant town of Santa Maria, packed with markets, bars and restaurants.
The islands attract holidaymakers keen to explore new possibilities, as well as kite surfers, divers, sailors and surfers from all over the world – and it’s now attracting golfers too.
Sal is now home to Cape Verde’s first grass golf course, Viveiro Golf & Country Club. The original golf club in Cape Verde, Sao Vicente Golf Club just outside of Mindelo on Sao Vicente, is an 18-hole course, but the playing surfaces are volcanic sand with no grass at all.
The first nine holes at Viveiro opened in January 2022 along with a golf academy, a fully equipped 300m-long driving range, and pitching and putting greens. The project was led by Italian agronomist Fulvio Bani, and is the first course at what will eventually be a 27-hole facility with a hotel, leisure facilities and residential areas.
The par-35 debut nine holes measure just over 3,000 yards and is a green oasis in the desert surrounded by palm trees and fantastic views to the Atlantic. The wind blows in from the south Sahara, mainly in the months of October through March, and gives the course yet more character and another challenge.
With 350 days of sun a year and hardly any rainfall, the course design required innovative, sustainable irrigation solutions, while the playing surfaces are Paspalum Vaginatum from the Pure Dynasty variety.
In October 2022, fellow Italian designer Pierfrancesco De Simone began work on the second nine, due to open in late 2023. De Simone has designed holes that play over waste areas to islands of fairways and greens, leaving space for the island’s lunar-like soil which pleasingly links with the greenery around, accented by aloe vera and cactuses.
Tourism is growing across the islands which offer relaxing holidays with perfect weather, wonderful resorts, security and privacy. The burgeoning facilities at Viveiro Golf & Country Club are sure to play a key role as Cape Verde puts itself on the map as a new and exciting destination for golfers.
There could be more developments in the pipeline with Faldo Design, headed by Sir Nick Faldo, reportedly creating a course for the spectacular 5-star lifestyle and leisure resort of Estrela Santiago on the south coast of the main island. In the near future, Cape Verde could rival the Canary Islands as a leading holiday destination for golfers.