Frequently Asked Questions
Do I need to have any previous experience working with turtles to join the Volunteer Program?
No, it is not necessary. You will receive complete information and training at any moment of the season. This does not apply for Field Assistants!
Is it necessary to be fit?
This is a very physically demanding job, which involves many hours walking along the beach at night. Your body will adjust in a couple of weeks. It is, however, recommended to be physically active for handling this work.
Will the organization refund my flight expenses?
Currently the organization does not have the sufficient funds to cover the volunteer’s travel expenses. Therefore, you will need to cover your own travel expenses until Sal. The benefits for your job are specified for each job offer you can apply for.
Do I need to buy any specific equipment?
The equipment you will need is simple and cheap. The most important thing you will need to work at night with turtles is a head torch with red light. The clothes you will be using for patrolling must to be dark. It is important to include a hoody into your suitcase, as nights can be chilly, and a waterproof layer.
For living at the camp, it will be necessary to bring your own sleeping bag and met. The camp is based within a Protected Area, and beside this, we want to minimise the impact of our activities on the natural surroundings. Therefore, we will ask you to bring biodegradable soap for your personal use.
Sal, and Cape Verde, do not have any recycling plant, and waste becomes a significant problem in the island. In order to reduce the amount of waste we produce, we will ask you to bring your own reusable drinking bottle. Also, you must bring re-usable batteries, as batteries are a high pollutant that can be treated in Sal.
Is it Sal a safe place?
Santa Maria town and Sal in general is a very placid place where you can move around with fairly little chances to be assaulted. Nevertheless, you have never to forget that you are in a foreign country with a different language. Using common sense will keep you safe from getting in trouble.
Safety at the beach during night patrols is our priority. Although nowadays it is not very frequent to find hunters on the beach, shifts are always taken by a minimum of two people, and you will have always a project phone with credit for communicating any emergency it might occur. There will be always somebody at the camp available to assist you on the beach.
How is the rest of the team?
You will work with a mix of people of different nationalities, ages and backgrounds. A big proportion of the team is local people that works in the project. We all share a bit commitment for our work and a great wish to contribute in the conservation of the marine turtles and the other natural resources of Cabo Verde.
How is the weather in Sal?
In general terms, the weather in Sal is warm and very windy most of the year. The hottest months are August and September (28-32°C average). It is very dry all the year, but seasonal storms can occur in September and October. It gets chilly at night, especially when it is windy.
How is life in Sal?
Sal is a small island in the archipelago that has recently become an important touristic destination. Although there have been a significant development of the island in the last few years, the level of the services is still quite poor. Electricity and water cuts are normal, and getting some stuff at the shops can be very difficult. We recommend you to bring your anything you feel essential for your daily living in your baggage.
The island is known for a great offer on water sports. Santa Maria offer a fairly wide choice on restaurants and bars. There is a great mix of nationalities living in the island, coming mostly from Europe and continental Africa, beside of the Cape Verdean community.
Is it necessary to get vaccinations to get into de country?
No specific vaccines are required. It is only required certification of vaccination against yellow fever to visitants older than 1 year coming from countries that have notify any case of yellow fever during the last 6 years. We recommend to contact the Cabo Verdean embassy in your country to get further information.
Do I need to get a visa to travel to Cabo Verde?
Yes, it is necessary to get a visa to enter the country. You should contact the Cabo Verdean embassy in your country to get advice of what procedure you need to follow in order to get a visa for your stay, as it is different depending on the country. Bear in mind that your visa has to cover the whole length of your stay, and not only the entry; otherwise, you will have to pay a fine when leaving the country.
How is the medical assistance?
There is a public hospital in Espargos and a basic public clinic in Santa Maria. Besides, there are two other private medical centres. Most medicines are available in the pharmacy, but we recommend you to bring with you any medication that you use frequently. The organization those not cover medical expenses, so you will need to buy a medical insurance for your stay.
What is the life cost in Sal?
Prices for food in supermarkets and touristic restaurants and other items are quite high due to the influence of tourism and importation taxes. Local restaurants serve nice food at fair prices. A litre of milk costs 1€ at the supermarket, a small beer 1,5€ in a bar, and a basic diner 5 o 6€.
Why do I have to pay a deposit at my arrival?
Everybody joining the project is required to pay a refundable deposit of 100€. This is to prevent equipment damage and to ensure that everybody will respect the living rules in the apartments and make a good use of the equipment of the project. The deposit will be used only in case of inappropriate use.
How is the lodging?
Our campsite is located inside a Protected Area and in one of the main nesting beaches of the island. It is compound by a number of framed tents for resting and sleeping. You will be sharing a tent with other people living at the camp. The maxim number of people that a tent can fit is 12. There is a common shaded area next to the kitchen, a chemical toilet and a rudimentary shower. There is no electricity at camp, but there is fresh water for drinking and cleaning.
You will have an apartment in Santa Maria at your disposal for your days off. You will be sharing a room with another member of the team. There will be a locked box where you can keep your personal belongings.
Will I have spare time?
You will work a maximum of 6 out of 7 nights. During your nights off you will be in an apartment in Santa Maria. The Volunteer Manager will be available to assist you arranging any activity you would like to do on your day off.
At the camp, most of your work is conducted at night. Daytime is for resting, collaborating with the maintenance of the camp, and enjoying some spare time.
What is the cheapest way to get to Sal?
There are many international flights to Sal (SID), specially coming from Europe and the USA. You can normally get cheap single flights at the last minute. You have many options, depending what country you are coming from. These are the most frequent and cheapest companies flying to Sal: TACV, TAP, Thomson, JetAir, Binter Canarias, Transavia, Thomas Cook and TUIfly. You will need to spend some time searching and comparing prices.