Threat level: Low
Cape Verde is a relatively safe country; the crime rates are low and mostly consist of infrequent petty crime. There is also a low threat of terror – tourists should be aware that there is a globally heightened terror threat, which especially applies to travellers from western nations. Be vigilant and take the recommended security precautions to avoid petty crime.
Recent Security Risk Events
Acts such as pick pocketing or purse snatching is common is some areas of Praia and Mindelo. Although this does not represent a huge risk you should be alert at all times and avoid travelling alone at night. Tourists are often targeted by pick pockets because of their perceived wealth; avoid carrying large sums of cash and wearing expensive jewellery. In some isolated cases people have also been robbed after using an ATM machine.
Isolated cases of sexual assault have been reported, incidents like these are very rare and are not thought to be specifically aimed at foreign nationals. Basic precautions such as being cautious of strangers buying you drinks and not leaving your drink unattended will help to ensure a trouble free visit.
The country is a former Portuguese colony and has been independent since 1975. The United States provided emergency humanitarian aid and economic assistance to Cape Verde in the 1970s immediately following Cape Verde’s independence and as such the two countries have a strong diplomatic relationship.
You can drive in Cape Verde with most national driving licences including from the EU, UK and US. The road conditions are quite good as they are not heavily used by local citizens. Hiring a car is relatively easy however you may be asked to provide your passport as a deposit. You should avoid handing this over at all costs.
The rainy season runs from August to mid October, prolonged periods of rainfall can cause landslides which may render some of the roads impassable. Monitor the local news and weather forecast for updated travel warnings to avoid getting caught up in severe weather conditions.
All UK, US and EU visitors are required to obtain a visa prior to entering Cape Verde. This may be obtained on arrival at the airport but many visitors have experienced long delays and problems with this. Alternatively, these can be obtained through specialist travel agencies or your closest Cape Verdean Embassy prior to departure.
It is advised that visitors to Cape Verde are up-to-date with primary boosters such as MMR. It is recommended for most travellers to also get a Tetanus, Hepatitis A and Typhoid vaccinations.
Although there is no risk of Yellow Fever in Cape Verde, if you are arriving from a country where there is a risk of Yellow Fever, or transiting for longer than 12 hours in an at risk country, you will have to provide a certificate of Yellow Fever vaccination. Check with your local health professional prior to travel if you are unsure.
Other health risks
Cases of locally transmitted Zika virus have been confirmed in the last 2 months. There is no vaccine or medicine to cure the virus so great care and caution must be taken. This can include measures such as using a mosquito net at night time and frequently applying insect repellent. You can find more information on the Zika virus and how to prevent mosquito bites here: Zika virus facts. Medical facilities in Cape Verde are limited, and some medicines are in short supply or unavailable.
The largest hospitals are in Praia and Mindelo, with smaller medical facilities and clinics located throughout the country. Medical facilities are very limited in Boavista so you should take this into consideration when travelling to this area: ensure you have adequate supplies of medication if necessary.
The islands of Brava and Santo Antão no longer have functioning airports, so air evacuation in the event of a medical emergency is nearly impossible from these two islands.
U.S. Embassy Praia
Rua Abilio Macedo 6
Caixa Postal 201
Cape Verde Telephone: +238 260 89 00 Telephone: +238 991 33 25 (Out of hours)
British Embassy Cape Verde
There is no British Embassy in Cape Verde. If you need consular assistance contact the British Embassy in Dakar, Senegal. British Embassy Dakar
Senegal Telephone: +221 33 823 73 92 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org