Trip Details

Volunteer Turtle Conservation in Cape Verde

Did someone say Turtles? If you’re an animal lover and want to be a part of the solution to the conservation of these beautiful gentle creatures, then this TRU experience is a dream come true! The beaches of Cape Verde are one of the most visited sites by the Loggerhead sea turtle (Caretta caretta) for nesting during the months of July to October and extending until December. This species plays a critical part in maintaining the health of seagrass and coral reef ecosystems for other marine life. On our programme in volunteer turtle conservation, you’ll learn about sea turtle conservation techniques and help towards the survival of these special little guys!

Find your calling with the local Conservation Team!

Throughout this programme, you will be busy working alongside members of the local community who share your passion for all things Turtle. This will include patrolling beaches to protect the turtle mothers, transporting eggs to a safe hatchery, and feeding and cleaning these little hatchlings until they are strong enough to be released into the ocean. You will also have the chance to educate the community about these turtles’ importance within the marine ecosystem. Be aware, however, that this can be a tiring and sometimes frustrating role – but worth every minute!

Find your Calling

After a day’s work in volunteer Turtle Conservation, you may want some time away from the beach! The town of Tarrafal, where you will be based (when you’re not on night patrol!), is a busy, vibrant fishing port with lots to see and do, including market stalls and cafes serving great African cuisine (although all meals are included in our programme).  However, if you want a little down-time, you can also relax back at your comfortable accommodation, mixing with new friends or enjoying the sun.

Why be a Turtle Conservation Volunteer?

  • Do something important for our precious planet earth!
  • Enjoy working with a passionate team who share your interests
  • Stay on a beach field camp on night patrol as you protect the turtles
  • Meets others who are volunteering or backpacking abroad
  • Explore Cape Verde’s diverse terrain and vibrant communities
  • Enjoy African cuisine, with all meals and beverages* included

*tea, coffee and drinking water

Get in touch to find out more or browse through our many other volunteer experiences.

Trip Itinerary

You will be very busy during your stay as a Turtle Conservation Volunteer, but you’ll also have lots of fun working in a team that shares your love of marine life! During night patrol, you will be based at a field camp that has no electricity, so do be aware that you will be camping out at the beach for some of the time!

Mandatory Orientation Day

On the Monday of your first week at this location, you will join our orientation day to learn about your surroundings and local culture. Thereafter, your program will continue as usual from Tuesday throughout the rest of the week.

Orientation Day Schedule

  • Welcome: Introduction to Cape Verdean traditions and culture; House rules, Code of Conduct and handling of documents,
  • Basic Kriolu Lesson
  • Visit local supermarkets and ATMs, and explore the surroundings of our centre.
  • Lunch
  • Visit to Mar De President Beach and spend some time on the beach before returning back to the centre for dinner.

Programme Schedule

Monday to Friday
(June – December)

1830 to 1900 – Beach Clean-up

1900 to 1930 – Orientation for the day along the beach

2030 to 2230 – Shift 1 – Night patrol

2230 to 0030 – Rest

0030 to 0200 – Night Patrol

0200 to 0400 – Night Patrol

0400 to 0600 – Patrol to clean up the beach

(January to May)

0900 – Travel to the beach

0930 to 1000 – Orientation for the day

1000 to 12:00 – A mix of activities including:

  • Cleaning and maintenance of the turtle project site
  • Tree plantation at the beach or
  • Awareness program at the local school
  • Designing/distributing printed pamphlets or
  • Making awareness boards and placing them at the beach
  • Promoting the importance of sea turtles in the villages around the beach through paintings and drawings and beach clean-up activities.

1200 to 1400 – Lunch at the centre

1400 to 1430 – Travel to beach

1430 to 1630 – Continue with activities planned for the day

1630 to 1800 – Join the locals to play beach football or volleyball.

Weekends

Weekends are free to relax and hang out at the volunteer accommodation with other volunteers, or you can use this time to travel and explore Cape Verde with your new friends.

Please note: This schedule can be changed and/or amended depending on weather conditions, local conditions and unforeseen circumstances

Trip Accommodation

Tarrafal is named after the indigenous plant Tarrafe, and is also called Mangui or Mangue. Situated in the northern part of the island of Santiago, Tarrafal is a fishing port with a vibrant community and warm, friendly people who love to meet new visitors!

About the Accommodation

Our centre offers safe and comfortable surroundings with dorm-style separate male/female accommodation and western toilets available (shared).

And if you’re travelling to Cape Verde alone, you will quickly make new friends of fellow travellers and on-site staff who will be there too. There is WiFi available throughout the communal areas of the house to catch up with friends and family.

Food Arrangements

African cuisine will probably be very different from what you’re use to, and deliciously so!  Typical Cape Verdean food includes rice dishes, beans, fruits, vegetables, chicken, beef, and fish with its own African spices.  At our centre, you’ll find a mix of local and Western food to enjoy, with all meals, tea, coffee, and filtered water included in your stay. There are 3 meals during the week and 2 meals on weekends.

Facilities
There are ATMs, mini-marts, some shops and restaurants close by in the city centre.

Trip Country Info

Cape Verde

The beautiful islands of the Cape Verde were initially uninhabited until the Portuguese discovered it in the 15th century. The country flourished during the 16th and the 17th centuries due to the Atlantic slave trade. But with the decline of the slave trade in the 19th century, the country experienced an economic crisis. Yet the location of the island made it survive as it became a significant commercial center in the 19th century, as the location was perfect for re-supply of the ships. In the present day context, the economy of the country is mostly relying on the services provided by the country targeting the growing tourism industry.

Cape Verde has a mild climate compared to the mainland of Africa with an average high temperature of about 26 °C during February and 31 °C in September. The country has an irregular rain pattern in the months between August and October and it is in September that the country experiences its maximum rainfall. The country can boast about the rich vegetation and the forest that provides a rainforest habitat although the close proximity to the Sahara is makes most islands with no mountains mostly dry. The islands as initially were isolated; the existence of a number of endemic species mostly the birds and reptiles can be seen although the existence is threatened by the human developments.

Explore Africa’s most westerly point with it’s incredible volcanic landscape and black and white sand beaches.

 

Culture
As the Portuguese discovered the country; the culture is immensely influenced by them. Rural Portuguese practices are displayed in the social and cultural patterns of the country.

Participant Criteria & Requirements

Standard Requirements

MUST have a yellow fever vaccination and must obtain a certificate as proof
Travel Insurance
Under 18, Parental Consent

Additional Requirements

Team Player
Open Mind

What's included

  • 24/7 support in case of emergencies
  • Accommodation
  • Airport Pick up
  • English speaking coordinator
  • Meals
  • Orientation

What's not included

  • Airport drop off
  • Flights
  • Travel insurance
  • Vaccination
  • Visa