Cabo Santa Maria: The Cape Verde Shipwreck


The wreck of container ship Cabo Santa Maria off Cape Verde.


(Image: Ximonic. The shipwrecked Cabo Santa Maria transport vessel)

She’s a rusting ghost of her former self, collapsing into the sea, but the shipwrecked Cabo Santa Maria is still an impressive sight off the spellbinding coast of Cape Verde, one of the most developed and democratic nation’s in the African Union.

The wrecked transport vessel has been an offbeat tourist attraction since 1968, when she ran aground on the shore of Boa Esperança, on the north side of Boa Vista, the third largest of the 10 islands that make up the volcanic West African archipelago.


The Cabo Santa Maria was shipwrecked off the coast of Cape Verde in 1968.


(Image: runningamok)

The crew, fortunately unhurt as their ship came to grief, fled as locals salvaged valuable cargo from the Cabo Santa Maria’s hold. For almost half a century, the shipwreck has been assailed by wild Atlantic storms that have caused much of her hull and superstructure to disintegrate into the ocean.

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The rusting hulk of 50-year-old shipwreck Cabo Santa Maria


(Image: Ximonic)

Intrepid tourists looking to catch a glimpse of the atmospheric shipwreck can reach the nearby sea shore via overland vehicle or by hiking over rough terrain. According to Easy Voyage: “You can reach it with a 4×4 via a torturous cobblestone road built by the Portuguese, followed by a track in the middle of palm and acacia trees which grows worse with every passing minute.


The Cape Verde shipwreck.


(Image: Ximonic)

The website adds: “You will see a few goats and donkeys grazing among the rocks and the odd patches of grass. You can also get there on foot from Sal Rei, where you can choose from the various trail options (it will take between an hour and a half and two hours to get there).”

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