LAND OF MYSTERY, CULTURE… AND SODADE
The lyrics of the song sung by Cesaria were written by Armando Zeferino Soares, son of São Nicolau, recalling the odyssey of his fellow countrymen forced by the colonial power to emigrate and to work as slaves on the plantations of Sao Tome and Principe – a tragedy that lasted into the second half of the twentieth century. “Sodade” of Monte Verde, imposing with its 1300 meters of height, of the quiet streets of Ribeira Brava and of the generous Caleijão Valley, where nature decided that not all the island’s valleys would be steep, inaccessible and inhospitable.
There are boarding houses available in Ribeira Brava and Tarrafal. A Hotel with more than 200 rooms is being built in Tarrafal. You may also rent rooms in the other villages. During the high season we recommend you to book rooms with advance.
The local cuisine is devoted to fish dishes, which has always been a source of food security on the island despite the risks that so often the ocean waters represent, thus representing a less unpredictable resource than the drought threats on agricultural production. Tasting the fish of São Nicolau is a safe encounter with the products that pure water, free from contamination, can still offer to man.
The gastronomic specialty of the island of São Nicolau is modje – a stew made with meat o castrated ram (goat) potatoes, onions, cereals and garnished with rice. Fish and shellfish such as lobster are also the base of the diet of the island. Grogue of São Nicolau is just as much appreciated as the grogue of Santo Antão, and the canned tuna fish is also very popular for its great quality. Typical food is also served in bars located in Ribeira Brava, Tarrafal and Preguiça.
There are craft shops in the communities of Ribeira Brava and Tarrafal, some of themwith specific items typical of this island where the dragon tree is a brand image.