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.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Current Positions Update

All of the available positions have now been filled for the 2015 season. Thank you for your interest.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Paid Positions working with turtles in Sal, Cabo Verde 2015

One position remains for a native English speaker only.
Download an application form here.

Cabo Verde is the world’s third most important nesting site for Loggerhead turtles (Caretta caretta).
Despite being an endangered species and protected by law, the turtles are still killed for their meat. In 2007 it was estimated that loggerhead turtles on Sal would be extinct by 2015 if something was not done to stop the illegal hunting and trading of their meat. 

In the 2008 ADTMA SOS Tartarugas began patrols to deter hunters and the mortality in that first year declined by an estimated 72%. Since that time hundreds of volunteers and local employees have patrolled the beaches, directly saving many adult females from hunters. As the project evolved we began to offer turtle walks and other programmes to enable visitors to the country to participate in these conservation activities and to inform and educate about the need to protect marine turtles.

Click on this link to see lots of photos of our work and life in Sal. 

Due to local licensing laws it was necessary to create a separate company to offer these activities, so in 2014 "The Cabo Verde Nature Company" was born to partner SOS Tartarugas, specifically to raise money for conservation activities not only on Sal but on other islands as well.

Extracts from the log book

The usual nesting season is from June until October with hatchlings being born from mid-August until late December.  CV Nature is based in easy-going town of Santa Maria, a popular tourist destination known for its beaches and water-sports.  Team members are based self-catering accommodation.

By joining the CV Nature team you can share the wonder of seeing nesting turtles with the Sal's multinational visitors as well as knowing that your work makes a valuable contribution to conservation. The experience will provide you with good knowledge of turtle conservation techniques and also give you the opportunity to make a real difference to the survival of marine turtles. 

Please follow these links for a complete job description and how to apply.
Tourism Ranger
How to apply

How to Apply 2015

Tourism Ranger
Sal, Cabo Verde

Please read the job description and FAQs carefully before deciding if you are suitable for this position the dates to which you can commit. An application form can be found at the end of this document.  Please follow the instructions very carefully as incomplete or incorrect applications will not be accepted or acknowledged.  Send your application to info(a)  (Replace with at symbol).

Your application will be acknowledged within a few days and you will be notified if you have been shortlisted and we will invite you for an interview by skype. You must have skype, we will not call by phone. If your application is successful you will be sent a detailed job offer with terms and conditions.

Download the application form here.  

Tourism Ranger 2015

This position is suitable for candidates who wish to pursue a career in eco-tourism or those interested in the educational side of conservation.  You will gain excellent experience in leading groups and sharing information about environmental issues as well as making a contribution to the conservation of marine turtles and participating in scientific work. 

You will work for The Cabo Verde Nature Company, an organisation set up specifically to generate funds for turtle conservation and environmental causes in Cabo Verde.  Reporting to the Tourism Manager, you will be involved in all our activities with visitors.  These will include, but are not limited to, leading night-time visits to nesting beaches, giving information to tourists and working in our educational centre.  This job is a mixture of daytime and nighttime shifts.  Please consider that you will be accompanying people on turtle walks six nights out of seven for as long as 14 weeks, sometimes without seeing a turtle.  You need to be confident, outgoing, resilient and cheerful to fulfil this job.

Previous experience with turtles is an advantage but is not necessary, as full training will be given.  However, you need to have a strong desire to contribute to turtle conservation and be able to communicate information about marine turtles as well as having a belief in environmentally conscious living. You must have previous experience in a tourism, sales or customer service environment.  You should be comfortable talking to small groups as well as individuals and recognise that contact with turtles is often a life changing experience for visitors.  A large part of your job is making that experience the best that it can be.  We need native English speakers as well as people who are fluent in English plus another language (German, Dutch, Italian or French). You must be trustworthy, financially astute, organised and have computer skills.

Requirements for Tourism Ranger:
Desire to work in eco-tourism
Previous experience in tourism, sales or customer service 
Outgoing personality and good communication skills
Fluent in English OR fluent in English and at least one other language
Good level of physical fitness
High level of energy and flexibility
Able to communicate well with small groups of people
Ability to work and live with people of different backgrounds and nationalities
Able to work independently and show initiative
Organised and presentable

Benefits:  Shared accommodation in an apartment in Santa Maria and a living allowance of between €100 and €300 a month depending on experience.  Water and electricity paid. You must complete a two week training period and written test.  Your allowance may be increased if you reach your performance objectives.

Timing : 16 June - 14 October (17 weeks)

Download an application form here.

FAQs 2015

Will I be trained to work with turtles?
  Yes, full training will be given and will be ongoing throughout the season.  
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 10km in three hours.
In what way will this work further my career?  You will gain very good knowledge of marine turtle ecology and the threats that they face. You will also be trained to guide turtle walks according to international codes of conduct. In addition you will have experience in making presentations, to small and large groups as well as receive sales training. The experience you will gain is only limited by your willingness to become involved. 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. 
What type of people will be on the project?  We have a very wide range of participants in terms of nationalities, age, experience and background.  People participate in the project for many different reasons but all with the desire to do something practical to help conserve marine turtles.
Will I receive any payment?  Living allowances are offered for if you meet the stated criteria, successfully complete the training and pass a written test.  Bonuses are available if you take on extra responsibility or show initiative.
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.  Unfortunately, we cannot assist you with visas.  For short stays (one month or less) you can buy a visa on arrival for €25.  Once you are accepted we will give you more information about this.
What is the cost of living in Sal?  The price of food and other items is high due to import taxes, you should bring extra money to cover unforeseen costs.  
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 maximising 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 and every night can be different as the work is very dynamic and the timings vary a lot.  However, our normal work schedule is:

20:15 - 00:00 Turtle Walks
10:00-13:00 Education centre / hotel visits
16:00 - 18:00 Education centre / hotel visits

What is the accommodation like?  The apartments are on the eastern side of Santa Maria, close to the beach.  In all likelihood you will share a double room with another team member (same sex). You are responsible for keeping your room and the communal areas clean.  You may lose some of your deposit if items or missing or the apartment needs a lot of cleaning.

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 the UK (Birmingham, Gatwick, Manchester) Thomson or First Choice or Thomas Cook
From Germany (Dusseldorf, Frankfurt, Munich, Hanover) Tuifly
From Brussels Jetair
From Italy Neos
From France Excel 
From the Nordic countries TUI Denmark  Sweden Finland Norway
From the Netherlands Transavia  (October - June) 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.
From Canary Islands Binter
Please bear in mind that flight prices and charter flights are often cheaper as you get closer to the departure date.
Here is a useful flight guide .
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.
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 the work of SOS Tartarugas?  Please visit our website or 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

Thursday, January 17, 2013

From picking up rubbish to saving turtles from hunters....

.... there is no routine and no 'normal' day in this line of work.

Take a look at this album to see what we do.

All in a day's work

For lots more information, job descriptions & application form read December's blog posts.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Background to the project


Cabo Verde is the world’s third most important site for nesting loggerhead turtles.  SOS Tartarugas began operations in June 2008 on Sal in response to the wholesale slaughter of turtles as they came on to the beach to nest, a situation that may have resulted in rapid extinction.  SOS Tartarugas is a non-profit environmental organisation.  The main objective is to protect and conserve loggerhead turtles through deterring illegal hunting and protecting nesting habitat.  We work in conjunction with local and national government and law enforcement agencies and over five seasons have significantly reduced the number of nesting turtles killed.  SOS Tartarugas is based on Sal but also works in conjunction with other partners on several more islands.  The organization is a member of TAOLA, the Cape Verdean Sea Turtle Network.  For more information visit or our blog


The project encompasses patrolling beaches (night and morning) to monitor nesting and deter hunting, data collection, research, working with tourists and local businesses, operation of hatcheries, education & outreach activities and beach clean-ups. The work is undertaken by full-time and part-time Rangers of many nationalities as well as volunteers from the community & Capeverdean Monitors.  Although there is a wide scope of activities within the project, protection of nesting turtles continues to be the main focus and this can be stressful and tiring, but ultimately highly rewarding.  You can find more information about typical nights and days on our blog. Extracts from thelog book

The usual nesting season is from June until October with hatchlings being born from mid-August until late December.  The project is based in Santa Maria, a popular tourist destination known for its beaches and water-sports.  Participants are based in self-catering accommodation as well as in field camps.