Information about jobs, volunteering opportunities and holidays working in turtle conservation in Cabo Verde Africa. For more general information turtle conservation on Sal visit the Turtle SOS website, facebook page or blog.

Thursday, November 24, 2011


Will I be trained to work with turtles?  Yes, full training will be given and will be ongoing throughout the season.  For short-term volunteers training will be more hands on and less theoretical.
In what way will this work further my career?  The experience you will gain is only limited by your willingness to become involved.  The project is multifaceted and not only would you learn about working with nesting loggerhead turtles but you could also become involved in research projects, work with tourists, manage data, make presentations, work with communities and with children, and possibly gain experience of managing others.  You will have experienced a new culture and will have demonstrated that you can work hard and have the ability to cope under physically difficult conditions. 

Research projects
If you are a student and wish to complete a research project as part of your studies, we have several ongoing studies that may be suitable.  We can also collaborate on the development of new studies that make a contribution to the conservation of loggerhead turtles in Cabo Verde.  Research projects are undertaken in addition to duties as a Ranger.  If this is of interest please complete the application form for a Wildlife Ranger position and complete the section regarding research projects.
Can I apply for shorter periods than those stated?  Yes, for exceptional candidates dates can be flexible. Living allowances for Rangers are only offered if you make a minimum commitment of two months.
Will I be reimbursed for flights and other expenses?  No, only benefits stated above will be paid.  There are opportunities to increase your living allowance by taking on extra responsibility.
Do I need a visa?  Yes, you should obtain a tourist visa suitable for your length of stay from your own country prior to arrival in Cabo Verde.  We can supply a letter supporting visa applications but cannot assist in any other way.
As a Wildlife Rangers will my living allowance cover all my expenses?  The price of food and other items is high due to import taxes, you should bring extra money to cover unforeseen costs.  In previous years Rangers cooked communally dinner on a budget of €10 per person per week, other meals are prepared individually.
What is the weather like?  Generally weather in Sal is warm and pleasant, (August and September are the hottest months) with strong sea breezes.  Usually small amounts of rain fall in August, September and October.  Warm clothes are needed towards the end of the season.
What are medical facilities like?  There is a government run hospital which is basic and a private clinic which is expensive.  Most medicines are available, but you must arrange insurance that will cover repatriation in an emergency.  We will not be responsible for medical expenses and will ask for proof of insurance.  Cases of malaria are rare in Sal but are sometimes seen on other islands.
What is it like living in Sal?  Sal is a new tourism destination and as such is subject to power cuts, water shortages and other issues that may be expected in a developing nation.  You will not find the same level of service and goods to which you may be accustomed.  However, Santa Maria is a pleasant place to live with low crime, a wide range of water sports, bars and restaurants.  The population on Sal is a mix of European, African and Capeverdean.  Those who come with a flexible and open attitude will enjoy exploring a different culture and maximizing their time on a sunny island with great water sports and good social life.
How much leisure time will I have?  During the nesting season you will usually work six days/nights a week, although this may vary depending on the needs of the project. On your day off you will probably be too tired to do much but sleep and rest but people do find the time to dive, sunbathe or sightsee.
What is the accommodation like?  Turtle House is a surf hotel during the winter and has a range of rooms and communal areas with an outdoor space with hammocks.  It is very close to the beach.  All rooms are en suite with either two or three beds (single sex sharing).  Cooking and eating areas are communal.  You are responsible for keeping your room and the communal areas clean.  We recommend you visit the website

About the field camps
Two field camps are planned, one at Serra Negra and one at Mont Leão, the only Marine Protected Zone (MPZ) in Cape Verde.  In 2011 Serra Negra had the highest density of turtles on Sal - it is therefore the best opportunity to work with turtles and is also where the majority of training will take place.  Mont Leão has a lower nesting density but has a high mortality rate and therefore is a critical area for protection.  Both beaches are only 20 minutes drive from Santa Maria but are quiet and infrequently visited.  By participating in these camps you will make a very real difference to the survival of nesting turtles on Sal.  You will stay on the beach in groups of three or four living in tents, for three to six nights and have one day of rest in Santa Maria at Turtle House each week.  We may share the camp with soldiers. 
During the night you will make patrols in the area and during the day will have time to rest and swim and perform maintenance duties around the camp (including beach cleaning).  There is a pit toilet and shaded areas but limited fresh water for showering.  Drinking water and basic foodstuff is provided, including rice, pasta, sugar and tinned goods but you will be responsible for bringing fresh food, bread and other items with you.  Facilities and comfort will be limited so you should be sure that you are able to cope with these conditions before you apply for this option.  You will be advised what you need to bring if you are offered a place. 
What is the best way to reach Sal?  You can reach Sal (SID) from many European, African and American cities.  Flights to Cabo Verde can be expensive and it is sometimes best to look for flights with charter, rather than scheduled airlines.  One way bargains can often be obtained close to the day of travel.  We suggest that you try the following :
From Lisbon TACV Cabo Verde Airlines or TAP or White Airways
From the UK (Birmingham, Gatwick, Manchester, East Midlands, Glasgow) or First Choice
From Germany (Dusseldorf, Frankfurt, Munich, Hanover)
From Brussels
From France Excel
From Scandanavia,
From the USA there are direct flights on TACV from Boston to Praia (the capital city) but it is generally cheaper to fly via London or another European city.
Please bear in mind that flight prices and charter flights are often cheaper as you get closer to the departure date.
Can my partner, friends or relatives visit me on the project?  This must be arranged in advance.  Please note that during their visit it is unlikely that you will be able to take extra time off since we usually have the minimum number of people we need. If your friends wish to stay in Turtle House (subject to availability) they will be required to pay for accommodation and will be expected to participate fully in the project. 
Will I have time to see any other islands?
We recommend that you allow time at the end of your contract to visit other islands or to relax before going home.  If you are accepted, the date that you have been given as your end date is the date you will be expected to work until.  Any breaks in work (such as graduation ceremonies) must be notified prior to the start of your contract.
How can I find out more about SOS Tartarugas?  Please visit our website ( and blog (

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