On the east coast of Sal are the salt mines of Pedra de Lume. In a moon like crater of an old volcano seawater turns into salt. The colors of the salt pans are surrealistic. The white and bright pink salt pans contrast with the snow-white salt mountains and the blue sky. You can also float in the medicinal salt water of the salt pans. For even more relaxation there are also scrub and mud treatments. Not for nothing Salinas Pedra de Lume is a popular destination in Cape Verde to visit.
The crater – where the salt pans are situated – has a radius of no less than 900 meters. The crater is an old extinct volcano. The highest point of the crater (the edge) is 39 meters above sea level, while the lowest point is far below sea level. The base of the crater is therefore the lowest point of the Cape Verde islands. The salt lake has formed naturally in the crater by infiltration of water from the nearby ocean. The salt lake is divided into salt pans (basins), so that the sun can easily evaporate the water. Eventually the natural product salt remains. Because of the natural conditions the water is 27 times (!) saltier than seawater. If you are going to swim, you will automatically stay afloat. A unique experience!
Origin Salinas of Pedra de Lume
The salt pans are dated to 1833 when an old mineral salt was discovered at Sal. The challenge was to transport the salt from the high crater to the boats in the port of Pedra de Lume. First, transport via animals was used. In 1921, eventually a cable car served as a solution. This cable car was 1,100 meters long and had a capacity of 25 tons of salt per hour. Old parts of the wooden frame of the cable car are still visible. Later a tunnel was made through the wall of the old crater, which facilitated access. The production of salt on this scale has not been active since 1985. In addition to the salt pans, there are still a few old houses of workers, a salt production factory and storage places to admire. Currently there is still salt winning but to a very limited extent. This is mainly intended for the manufacture of beauty products, for therapeutic purposes and the crater is a tourist attraction. The uniqueness of these salt pans in an extinct volcano crater has put Pedra de Lume on the list of nominees for the UNESCO World Heritage List.