An image with a picture of a whale and the Cape Verdean flag - 'Go whale watching in Cape Verde'.

The Best Places to Go Whale Watching in Cape Verde

Situated off Africa’s west coast, the Cape Verde islands are teeming with marine life. From flying fish to white-lipped dolphins, the ocean world forms a big part of Cape Verdean culture.

It’s also a popular whale watching destination, with plenty of opportunities to spot humpback whales during their annual migrations from the North Atlantic. Whether you decide to take a whale watching tour or just happen upon them while taking an interisland ferry, whale watching can be an incredible and memorable experience.

By the end of this article, you’ll have a better understanding of whale watching in Cape Verde and be equipped with all the knowledge needed to plan an unforgettable trip. So let’s dive in and learn more about the best spots in Cape Verde for whale watching!


Key takeaways from this article:

  • Where to go: The islands of Boa Vista and Sal.
  • When you can see them: Sightings are possible between February and May.
  • Which species you can see: Humpback whales, pilot whales, sperm whales and more!
  • What you should bring with you: A good camera and plenty of water.


About whale watching in Cape Verde

A grey image with a picture of a whale and a microphone - 'Humpback whales are natural singers'.
Trivia about Whale Watching in Cape Verde

Seeing whales is a popular activity for tourists visiting Cape Verde, as the waters surrounding this archipelago are home to several unique species.

Maybe you’re a marine biologist hoping to see whale populations with your own eyes, or perhaps you’re hoping to take a few fantastic photos to show your loved ones back home – either way, Cape Verde has something for everyone.

With its stunning beaches, lush landscapes and incredible wildlife, taking a boat ride to go whale watching in Cape Verde is an unforgettable experience that should not be missed.

#Tip: Whale watching is one of many fantastic activities you can do while in Cape Verde. Check out our Cape Verde activity guide to discover more fun activities to get stuck into!


A cultural icon – The whales of Cape Verde

Three reasons why Cape Verde is a hotspot for whale watching.
Here are the top reasons to go whale watching in Cape Verde.

The whales of Cape Verde have long been a critical part of the culture and history of the archipelago. For centuries, whale hunting was a significant source of food for the people of the islands, with whale meat and bone being used for many purposes. Commercial whale hunting was then banned in 1966.

Today, whale watching is becoming increasingly popular in Cape Verde as more people flock to the islands to take part in one of the many wildlife tours available. Today, the whales of Cape Verde are an important sign of the country’s flourishing marine ecosystem.


Where can I go whale watching in Cape Verde?

An image depicting Santa Maria and Santa Monica as two of the best places for whale watching.
The best places to see whales.

While much of the waters surrounding Cape Verde are essential breeding sites for whales, there are some islands which are better suited for whale watching trips, such as Sal and Boa Vista.

These two breeding sites provide a great opportunity to observe the whales up close. The whale watching tours are led by experienced and knowledgeable local guides who can tell you more about whale behaviour and show you the best spots to find them.

For Sal, we recommend taking a motor yacht from the popular town of Santa Maria. In Boa Vista, you’ll find trips departing from Sal Rei, the major settlement on the island.


When is the best time to go whale watching in Cape Verde?

A graphic showing the best time in the year to see whales in Cape Verde.
The best months for whale watching.

The spring months are the perfect time to go whale watching in Cape Verde. From February until May, there’s a window of opportunity for you to enjoy wonderful views of the native marine wildlife that surround this beautiful African archipelago.

This is the best time to catch sightings of humpback whales, which are frequent visitors around these islands during their seasonal migration. As long as sea conditions are good, you’ll enjoy lovely, clear views.


What whales can I see in Cape Verde?

The waters surrounding the archipelago are important low latitude breeding grounds for many different types of whales, but none can top the numbers of humpback whales that migrate through the area each year. These extraordinary mammals measure up to 18 meters in length and live up to an impressive 80 years old – look out for their spectacular jumps too!

A graphic showing four of the most popular whale species in Cape Verde.
A diverse cast of whales.

Because wide swaths of the coastal waters have been designated as national parks and reserves for conservation efforts, chances are pretty good that you’ll get the chance to witness these incredible animals in their natural habitat.


While relaxing at a beautiful beach may be the first thing on your mind when you get to Cape Verde, we highly recommend taking the opportunity to see the fantastic wildlife too.

If you want to make the most out of your voyage and make memories that will last you a lifetime, why not book your next whale-watching trip to Cape Verde in the spring?


  • Where can you see whales in Cape Verde?

    Whale populations can be found all around the waters of Cape Verde, however Boa Vista and Sal are the most popular islands for whale watching.

  • Can you see dolphins in Cape Verde?

    Cape Verde is often populated by playful pods of dolphins. Sadly, these magnificent creatures have also experienced a decline in recent years; so it’s best to keep an eye out and stay alert – there’s nothing more beautiful than seeing dolphins off the coast! If you’re lucky, you may even be able to spot them up close.

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