Anyone planning a visit to Cape Verde will be at once nervous, excited, and (understandably) a little bit terrified at the prospect of embarking on one of the most thrilling adventures the country has to offer – paddling with real-life wild sharks at Shark Bay on the Island of Sal.
The sharks are lemon sharks – 11ft (3.5m) in length, 420lb (190kg) in weight, and equipped with a few dozen razor sharp teeth in the mouth. Lovers of warm water, lemon sharks take their name from their distinctive and unusual bright yellow pigmentation – giving them a lemony hue as they glide and glisten beneath the waves – and are a common sight around the tropical shores of Cape Verde.
With their menacing black fins gliding through the water recalling the terrifying scenes from Steven Spielberg’s Jaws and practically every David Attenborough sea life documentary you’ve ever seen, you will be forgiven for believing that if you see a shark in the water, your number one priority for survival is to stay out of it. However, at Shark Bay, visitors are invited to “enjoy” the exhilarating experience of fighting against their natural instincts and join these magnificent hunters in the salty sea waves.
The Lemon Sharks of Cape Verde
Lemon sharks pose no threat to humans. In fact, when you go paddling with these beautiful creatures, you’re more likely to trip on the rocks beneath the waves than you are to be attacked by a lemon shark. And if you do stumble and go splashing down in the water, you’ll simply frighten the sharks off – they approach the shallows to hunt and feed on fish, so there really is nothing to be frightened of.
Nonetheless, fear is only natural in the presence of these toothy predators – and fighting that feeling to get up close to them is all part of the experience.
Lemon sharks are fascinating creatures, and indeed, due to their tameness, penchant for exploring shallow waters, and their ability to handle being in captivity for long periods of time, they are in fact the best known and most researched of all sharks.
They love tropical and subtropical waters in coastal areas – which is why they are such a common sight around Cape Verde. In fact, they never venture out too deep – always remaining in moderately shallow water (no deeper than 260ft (80m)), no matter where they go.
Like all sharks, lemon sharks have electroreceptors in their heads, which they use to detect electric pulses emitted by potential prey. Their diet consists of fish, crustaceans, and the toes of unsuspecting tourists (just kidding – these creatures like to eat fins, not feet). Their teeth are as sharp as you’d expect, however they are unusually shaped – curved, as opposed to straight up and down, which allows the sharks to catch smaller fish which would otherwise be too quick and slippery.
And why are they yellow? Well, because their lemony colouration allows them to successfully hide in their natural habitat. Camouflaged against the sand in shallow waters, lemon sharks can stalk their prey undetected, and indeed conceal themselves from any larger sharks that might pose a threat.
Humpback Whales and Loggerhead Turtles
Wading with lemon sharks is just one of many wonderful wildlife experiences that holidaymakers routinely enjoy when they visit Cape Verde.
Over on the Island of Boa Vista is one of the world’s most important nesting sites of the spectacular loggerhead turtle. Between the months of July and October, turtle watching tours are popular attractions, and support the turtle conservation projects in place on the Islands.
Venture little further out to sea, and you’ll get up close to the mighty humpback whale. Great pods of humpbacks come to Cape Verde between March and May to feed and give birth to young. Seeing these 40-ton giants leap high out of the water and come crashing down again is one of the most exciting displays in all of nature, and hearing the males sing and rumble is simply unforgettable.
Wondrous Wildlife Holidays in Cape Verde
Lemon sharks, giant turtles, humpback whales, dolphins – the wildlife in and around Cape Verde is simply unmissable, which is why more and more people are choosing to visit these fascinating shores every year.
Anyone considering Cape Verde have a range of luxury Resorts available to them. On Sal Island, The Resort Group PLC presents the Dunas Beach Resort & Spa, Tortuga Beach Resort, and Llana Beach Hotels – all of which offer the ultimate in relaxation and exquisite service. The White Sands Hotel & Spa will open its doors on the Island of Boa Vista, joining the others to serve as an ideal base for all of your shark-infested adventures.
There is also a wealth of investment opportunities currently available at the White Sands Hotel & Spa. Presently in construction, the Resort features 835 luxurious properties spanning 16 different categories, and features six swimming pools, six restaurants, a range of bars, a night club, tennis courts, beach ball courts, children’s facilities and the world-famous YHI Spa.
Buying a property here will enable you to tap into the growing Cape Verdean tourist market, and of course allow you to come and enjoy the country’s sunshine, sea, culture and wildlife for yourself whenever you want.
What’s more, our fantastic 5/6/7 Property Options make investment easy.The offer means that all who invest in a property at the White Sands Hotel & Spa today will start enjoying fixed returns from the moment the resort opens. This offer starts with a 5% net rental yield in the first year, increasing to 6% in the second year and rising again to 7% in year three – providing the long-term security you need from your investment. And all this while you still get to enjoy your property as your very own paradisiacal holiday home for up to five weeks every year under our Hotel Managed Program.
To learn more about the 5/6/7 Property Options offer, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us today.