SKIMMING across the ocean attached to a raging 12ft kite would be any thrillseeker’s holiday dream.

But Atlantic waves crashed around me and blustery gusts had me hanging on for dear life as I cast care to the wind off the Cape Verde islands.

One false move, I thought, and I could be on an earlier-than-expected flight home.

This was my first try at kite-surfing and the blissful island of Sal was the perfect spot to give it a go.

The sandy beach where I began my adventure was littered with first-timers practising techniques with huge kites before braving the water.

As I pushed down on the control bar a little too hard mine shot off, sending me bumping across the sand.

Baby lemon sharks weaved past me

It wasn’t enough to put me off, though, and soon I had mastered the “body drag” — performing a Superman pose above the water as the kite dragged me along the shore.

Kite-surfing is one of the big draws to Sal and lessons can be booked from the Hilton hotel where I was staying.

But it’s not all that is on offer in this part of the Cape Verde archipelago, off the north-west coast of Africa.

The temperatures reach a toasty 26C at this time of year and the hotel is geared up for sun-worshippers, with a beach bar, large outdoor pool and airy rooms with balconies.

Come mealtimes there are sumptuous possibilities, from a pool bar serving light snacks and cocktails to swish La Victoria with indulgent tasting menus — or the Bounty Beach restaurant is an idyllic spot to watch the sun set.

It’s worth heading out to the town of Santa Maria if you are keen to try local grub, though.

There is the freshest seafood at Americos, on the main strip, as well as the Palm Beach restaurant, which serves dishes of grilled tuna with mango and caramelised onions as well as fruity cocktails.

Once fed and rested, kite-surfing is not the only adventure to be had and high on my to-do list was a fast-and-furious quad bike ride, inset, through the salt mine region.

Kitted out with helmet, bandanas and goggles, the group I was with roared along sandy tracks at up to 40mph.

Everyone’s brakes screeched going into a hairpin bend and I clung on to the steering wheel as a dust storm was whipped up all around me.

The Cape Verde seas are also great for shark-spotting and No Limits Adventure offers day-long tours.

Climbing into the shallow waters of Shark Bay, I watched as groups of baby lemon sharks weaved past me just a few feet away.

This breed do not bite but, with four ominous fins cutting through the water in front of me, it was hard not to feel slightly queasy. My bravery was rewarded, though, because I was soon whisked away to the Pedra de Lume salt baths to enjoy soaking up the waters in the crater of an old volcano.

As the evening drew in, we made our way back to the hotel and I spotted a wall with the words “No Stress” daubed on to the brickwork.

This is a common refrain among the laid-back islanders — and when you venture to this former Portuguese colony with its sunny skyline and peaceful beaches, it’s just how you will feel.

GO: Cape Verde

COVID: You will need confirmation of Covid vaccination or a negative PCR or antigen test taken 72 hours before travel. Children under 12 do not need to present a test.

GETTING/STAYING THERE: Specialist tour operator Cape Verde Experience offers a wide choice of UK flights and holidays to seven of the ten islands.

Seven nights’ B&B at the 5H Hilton Cabo Verde Sal Resort is from £1,299pp including flights, private transfers and UK airport lounge. Call 01489 866969 or see capeverde.co.uk.

OUT & ABOUT: Guided quad bike tours are from £59 per quad for two people for two hours. A three-hour kite-surfing introduction is from £84pp, including transfers from hotel. See capeverde.co.uk.

Shark-watching tours cost from £21pp, including hotel transfers. See nolimitsadventure.com.

ISLAND HOPPING: Cape Verde Experience has seven-night packages from £1,579pp, taking in the islands of Sal, Sao Vicente and Santo Antao. (Includes internal flights). See capeverde.co.uk/ih.


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