Cape Verde is home to the third-largest population of nesting loggerhead turtles globally, making it the
perfect place to watch turtles. These turtles nest on the islands of Boa Vista, Maio, Santiago, and Sal
between July and October.
In the course of this turtle activity, female turtles visit the beach about three to five times during nesting
season at intervals of between 10 and 15 days. These female turtles have to navigate hundreds of
kilometers to return to their natal beaches and lay eggs.
They will start building their nest and laying their eggs, which will hatch after approximately 60 days
(mainly between August and December). The eggs hatch at night when it is cooler. As soon as the eggs
hatch, the babies leave for the sea, except for those who do not survive. Due to external factors like light
pollution that misleads turtles, predators like stray dogs, crabs, and birds that eat turtle eggs, some eggs
may not hatch and make it back to the ocean.
Turtle Conservation and Protection
Project Biodiversity helps in protecting beaches on Sal Island where turtles nest. The Cape Verdeans take
the conservation and protection of these turtles very seriously because they are endangered. There are
several conservation projects set up to protect these animals.
In 2017, Cape Verde made it illegal to kill turtles. The sad truth: Despite being protected by international
laws, the marine turtles in the archipelago are still harvested in large numbers for human consumption.
In an attempt to give back to nature, No Limits Adventure, which offers turtle watching activities,
supports projects like Project Biodiversity through profit donation. The profits from these projects will
serve as resources to improve the protection of Cape Verde’s loggerhead turtles.
What to Expect
Expert guides will patrol the sandy dunes to spot a turtle quickly. Once they spot one, they will
immediately contact the guests for them to witness the scenario up close. Night tours for turtle watching
require guests to wear dark clothes and shoes.
When you go out on the beach at night, let your eyes adjust to the ambient light. More importantly,
using the camera flash is strictly prohibited as it may affect the protected beaches. When carrying a
flashlight with you, make sure the bulb emits infrared waves 590-750nm in wavelength, which will not
disturb the sea turtles.
Turtle watching in Cape Verde has always been the highlight of holiday vacations! The beauty of
witnessing tiny loggerhead turtles finding their way back to their natural habitat is beyond words. These
turtles live their whole lives in the sea and only come to the shore to lay their eggs, so witnessing this
moment is a memory to cherish.
If you are interested in Turtle Watching while on Sal Island, do not hesitate to check out No Limits
Adventure. Join our dedicated staff to experience turtle watching with up close and personal
encounters. Our excursions are organized in the period with the highest probability of seeing turtles
(almost 100% chance), from July to the middle or end of October. In partnership with Project
Biodiversity, our company offers adoption certificates for guests interested in helping contribute to sea
turtle protection. So join us for a Turtle Walk this nesting season!