Why Involvement Volunteers International?
Volunteer in Cape Verde
Involvement Volunteers International (IVI) are a charity & non profit org, dedicated to giving back to underprivilaged communities worldwide. With over 30 years of volunteering experience and an excellent safety and support record, let IVI organise your volunteering trip abroad.
Cape Verde is around 500km off the West of Senegal, Africa and made up of 10 volcanic islands. The landscape is diverse, with rugged mountains, gorgeous beaches, lush jungles and some viewpoints to die for! This is a country for the adventurous and for those who want to experience a unique culture, in a country that’s not firmly on the tourist map.
IVI have some exciting volunteering projects in Cape Verde, from teaching, turtle conservation, renovation, sports coaching, culture week and our 2 week adventure week! Get involved and give back today 🙂
Volunteer Projects in Cape Verde
Join IVI Volunteers in Cape Verde and teach English to primary school or kindergarten children. Assist at the local school, creating lesson plans and working with local teachers.
Supporting local schools in and around Tarrafal, on this project you will be restoring and renovating, making a nicer environment for the children. We also help the schools by providing learning facilities where they are needed.
Your participation will have a lasting impact on the marine ecosystem and sustainablility of this important project. Get hands-on work with wild nesting sea turtles in an exotic and unique destination, gaining valuable fieldwork experience.
Use your sports skills and pass on your knowledge to the excitable kids. Teach them the value of sports, and how it can impact both mental and physical health. The enthusiastic children will greatly value your time and effort, in installing healthy exercise habits they can use throughout their lives.
2 weeks of fun, exploring and adventure await you, as we take part in activities such as hiking, trekking, snorkelling and rum tasting! Visit local villages, meet the locals and learn their culture, trek through lush rainforest, mountains and valleys, go on a cycling tour and take an ocean adventure, snorkelling and sea kayaking!
Get ready for a fun-packed week full of adventurous trips and cultural excursions to learn about Cape Verdean culture! Throughout the week, you will learn the local lanuage, explore Tarrafal and surrounding areas and take part in activities to engage with the Cape Verdean people and become immersed in the local lifestyle.
30 Years Experience
IVI is an Australian charity & non profit organisation founded in 1989 and is one of the pioneers of overseas volunteering successfully placing over 20,000 volunteers globally. We accept volunteers from all over the world and place them in meaningful overseas missions.
Affordable Volunteer Travel
Safe & Responsible Projects
Work Experience & University Credits
The spectacular and diverse islands of Cape Verde were originally uninhabited, until they were discovered by Portuguese sailors in the 15th century. The country was known for its slave trade throughout the 16th and the 17th centuries but the decline of this trade in the 19th century, sent the country into economic crisis. However, the island survived, as it became an important commercial hub in the 19th century, being a perfect location for re-supply of major ships. In the present day, it still relies on these services, as well as targeting an ever-growing tourism industry.
Cape Verde’s islands can vary dramatically, some being flat, with golden sand beaches and some being mountainous and volcanic. From salt mines, volcanoes, forests, colonial towns and picturesque beaches, Cape Verde is an adventurous destination!
Cape Verde has a mild year-round climate compared to Africa’s mainland, with average temperatures of 26 °C in February and 31 °C in September. Between August and October, the country experiences irregular rainfall, with September having maximum rainfall. The islands are rich in vegetation and forests, with some being particularly dry due to their close proximity to the Sahara. The islands have a number of endemic species (mostly birds and reptiles) due to the country once being uninhabited, however these species are becoming increasingly threatened by human development.
The culture in Cape Verde is very much influenced by the Portuguese, who discovered the island, with Portuguese social and cultural patterns being displayed in some parts. Cape Verdean people are descendants from African slaves and European migrants, resulting in many of the inhabitants being of mixed race. The majority of the population are Roman Catholic, with lots of churches on the island. The locals also love a game of football!
Our projects are based around the town of Tarrafal. Tarrafal (also named Mangui or Mangu), gets its name from the indigenous plant Tarrafe (Tamarix senegalensis). It is located on the Northern part of Santiago island. It is also a municipality (government town) and a fishing town.
You will stay in our volunteer house in Tarrafal. Rooms are singer gender and shared with other volunteers (around 4-8 per room). Tea, Coffee and Drinking water are provided, as well as wifi, hot showers, lockable rooms, bed linen and fans.
There are ATMs, small supermarkets and some shops and restaurants available in the city centre.
Three meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner) during the week and two meals (breakfast, dinner) during weekends are provided. Local food is a mix of West African, European and Portuguese cuisine. Typical is fresh seafood, corns, beans, rice, potatoes, stews and vegetables. Your daily meals will contain a mix of local and various types of Western food.
Mandatory Orientation Day
On your first Monday you will join our welcome orientation day, to get familiarised with your new surroundings, as well as the local culture. Your project will continue as usual from Tuesday and throughout the rest of the week.
- Welcome meeting, introduction to Cape Verdean traditions and customs, general house rules, code of conduct and sorting important documents
- Basic Kriolu language lesson
- Visit to the local supermarket and ATMs, a tour of the nearby surroundings and the volunteer centre.
- Spend some time on Mar De President beach, before returning back to the accommodation for dinner.
“Yasi” is the name for the local minibuses, which are the most popular way to travel within the islands of Cape Verde. They can accommodate around 12 to 14 passengers. For shorter distances and in rural areas there is also the pickup trucks and cab options.
Taxis are frequently found in the cities of Praia and Assomada, with unique painted colours in the two cities. Taxi’s in Praia are painted in beige and taxis in Assomada are painted in white. The taxis occasionally have a meter attached, however they are rarely used, as the rates which are typically accepted are cheaper than they would be on the meter.
Tarrafal beach is the closest to where you will be staying and is situated in a pretty cove, popular for snorkelling and diving in its deep blue waters. This is the perfect way to relax on your day off, plus it’s said to be the best beach on the island!
Santa Maria Beach
This stunning beach is one of Cape Verde’s most popular and is situated on Sal island. With golden sand and turquoise blue waters, perfect for swimming, this is the ultimate beach lover’s paradise. There are numerous hotels and restaurants nearby too.
Santa Monica Beach
This is a huge beach on Boa Vista island, stretching for 10km. Much quieter, with few resorts, this expansive beach is perfect for those looking for a more deserted place, away from tourists.
Santo Antao Island
The most Western island in Cape Verde, Santo Antao is the most ‘off the beaten track’ and packed with lush green forest, banana, papaya and mango trees, tall mountains, terrace fields and many walking trails. This island was made for a true adventure!
Pedra de Lume Salt Mines
Visit the salt mines on Sal island, where you can even soak in the salty water. They are surrounded by old volcanic craters and a pretty spectacular view.
Go Shark Spotting
Also on Sal island, is Shark Bay, where you will find groups of lemon sharks swimming up and down the coast line. You can swim out close to them as they are not harmful to humans.
Pico do Fogo
Pico do Fogo is an active volcano on Fogo island, which sits at 2829m. For those who love outdoor adventures, you can climb the peak, which will take around 3-6 hours.
Cidade Velha Old Fort
Cidade Velha old fort is situated on Santiago island (where you will be staying) and is the remains of an old fortress and town built by the Portuguese in 1462. Its situated on a hill with stunning views out over the island.
This is a very pretty city, with cobbled streets, colourful colonial buildings and a relaxing harbour. Its situated on the island of Sao Vicente, which is known for its music, culture and nightlife, as well as its carnivals. Mindelo is a lively and traditional town with lots of live music during the evenings.
This is the bustling and lively capital of Santiago island, home to a great local market selling fresh produce and spices. Here you will find many restaurants, colonial buildings and museums.
Cape Verde has many other exciting activities on offer from horse riding, quad biking, fishing, diving, snorkelling, turtle viewing, kite surfing, and sightseeing in the old colonial towns and villages.