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.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Frequently Asked Questions

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.
Do I need to be fit?  Everyone finds the first couple of weeks hard as walking on soft sand takes a little bit of getting used to.  You need to be physically active and able to walk up to 15km in four hours.
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.
Can I apply for shorter periods than those stated?  Yes, for exceptional candidates dates can be flexible.
Will I receive any payment?  Living allowances for Rangers are only offered if you meet the stated criteria & successfully complete the training & pass a written test.  Bonuses are available for those who take on extra responsiblity.
Will I be reimbursed for flights and other expenses?  No, only benefits stated above will be paid. 
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.  For short stays (one month or less) you can buy a visa on arrival for €25.
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.
Am I required to pay any fees?  Volunteer fees are €100/week.  Rangers are paid a living allowance.  All participants are required to pay a €100 returnable deposit against breakages or loss of project equipment. 
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.  You should bring a rain jacket. Warm clothes are needed at the start and 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 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.  This is a job and should not be viewed as a working holiday.

What is a typical day like?  Every day & every night can be different as the work is very dynamic and the timings vary a lot.  However, our work schedule for Rangers & Volunteers is usually:
20.30 Briefing
21:00 Night patrols (either 21:00-01:00 or 01:00-07:00 or 21:00-07:00)
06:00 - 09:00 Morning patrol
09:00 - 16:00 Rest & leisure time
16:00 - 18:00 Work period (maintenance & other tasks)
19:00 Dinner

For the tourism team
20:15 - 23:00 Turtle Walks
10:00-12:00 Hatchery duty / hotel visits
16:00 - 18:00 Hatchery duty / hotel visits

What is the accommodation like?  Accommodation is provided in apartments (shared rooms, shared bathrooms & living areas).  You may not stay in the same room for the whole period you are with the project.  All apartments are very close to the beach. You are responsible for keeping your room and the communal areas clean.  
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 Netherlands Transavia or Arkefly
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 is not possible during the peak of the season.  At other times 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 with you (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 (
To find out more about living on Sal as well as our work please take a look at the photos on our facebook page in particularly the photo album for job applicants

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