10 August 2023
Way out in the Atlantic Ocean, 460 kilometers off the coast of Senegal, lie the islands of Cape Verde. Divers love them for the cave dives, wrecks, dolphins, sharks, manta rays and loggerhead turtles. Plus, of course, the beautiful small stuff like nudibranchs.
You can dive all year round in Cape Verde. Sea temperatures range from around 27 oC in Summer to 19 oC in Winter. For winter months you will need a 7 mm wetsuit, a 5mm one in summer. February is the coolest month, with temperatures in the low 20s oC. August and September are the hottest and wettest months.
Diving is possible from several of the islands, including Sal, Boa Vista and Santiago. For wrecks go to Santiago. Boa Vista is better for large pelagics and turtles but seas are rougher here in winter. Sal has the most dive operators and established dive sites.
Cape Verde diving is still in its infancy and very special.
A large population of loggerhead turtles lay their eggs on Cape Verde, especially on the island of Boa Vista. A great place for colourful invertebrates and, being far into the Atlantic, many pelagic visitors. On the more offshore dives you might see dolphins and many types of sharks. Resident large animals include turtles, manta rays, grouper and nurse sharks.
Before travelling you need to complete a Airport Security Tax Form (TSA) and pay 3,400 escudos.
Some nationalities, eg British, can stay for up to 30 days without a visa, but prior to register online. Your passport should be valid for a minimum period of 6 months from the date of entry into Cape Verde.
There are many wrecks around Cape Verde: it was once a stopping off place for pirates, merchant ships and slave traders. The Cape Verde islands were formed by volcanic action so there are many rocky walls and caves.
The best dive sites include the Buracona cave and tunnels, and Cavala
Map of Cape Verde
"I was diving in Sal Island, I did not expect much at the beginning but after several dives I was impressed by their marine biodiversity. Caves diving is certainly a must to do in Sal Island. I am thinking to return to Cabo Verde but would love to dive in other islands like Sao Vicente and Santo Antao.
Buracona volcanic cove. A cave, open to the ceiling through which sunlight streams in. Regona is a series of tunnels and caverns. You might see nurse sharks here.
full of caves. Nice sea life.
"This place is in the south of Sal Island. A volcanic place. Nice sea life
Nurse shark. Photo credit: Malek Bee/Unsplash
The Kwarcit lies at around 28 m. This wreck was a Russian fishing boat which was sunk in 2006 by Manta Divers to create and artificial reef. It has some beautiful corals on it, plus lots of life like frogfish and nudibranchs.
A cargo ship which sank in 1966. The wreck lies in three parts at 11 m on a sand bank. Be careful not to kick the sand up or you'll lose the visibility. You may see a manta ray or a turtle on this dive, as well as trumpet and parrot fish.
A wall which starts at around 25 m and goes down to over 60 m. This is where you might see the bigger sharks, like Bull sharks, between May and September. You might even hear humpback whales singing. There is also a cave.
Hotel Foya Branca Resort
Sao Vicente Island
Tel: +238 5124021 / +351 927311628 (WAPP)
Santoantao Art Resort hotel
1310 Porto Novo
Tel: (+238) 979 55 60
Tel: +238 913 75 27
WhatsApp: +49 172 30 55 373
Santa Maria Caixa Postal 12
Ilha do Sal
Tel: +238 982 26 45