Lambert’s Bay Bird Island Nature Reserve
Bird Island Nature Reserve in Lambert’s Bay is a bird-lover’s paradise. The tiny 3 ha island is located just 100m’s offshore from Lambert’s Bay and is connected to the mainland by a narrow breakwater.
Since 1888, Guano was collected from the island and used for making fertiliser. As a result, the penguin community declined radically, mostly because their eggs are regarded as a delicacy. However, under new management. This came to an end in 1990 when the management of the island was handed over to Cape Nature, who now protect the colony of breeding Cape gannets, cormorants and the Jackass penguins are being encouraged back.
You can reach Bird Island by means of walking across a breakwater wall, which was erected in 1959 by Ferdinand Käsner. The breakwater offers visitors an amazing opportunity to see a blue-eyed Cape gannet up close and doing it’s mating dance, between April and September.
Out of the six sites world-wide where Cape gannets breed, Bird Island is the only breeding site that is easily accessed by the public. There are numerous signs all over the island with background information on all the West Coast birds.
Crossing the breakwater can be quite dangerous depending on the weather, so it’s best to be very careful.
Not only is Bird Island an important roosting and breeding site for seabirds, it also attracts the Cape fur seals who love sunbathing themselves on the island’s rocks. There is a nearby visitor’s centre, which has an aquarium and a penguin pool, an auditorium for lectures, a coffee shop and a small local curio shop.
- visitor’s centre
- sign-posted interpretation route
Summary of wildlife and flora
Birdlife: Cape gannet, cormorants and Jackass penguins
Marine Life: Cape fur seals
Directions to the reserve
- If travelling from Cape Town, take the N7 towards Clanwilliam.
- On the approach to Clanwilliam, take the R364 Graafwater/Lambert’s Bay road to the coast.
- Once in Lambert’s Bay, follow the signs to the harbour and Bird Island.
- The entire journey should take no more than four hours.
- GPS: 32 5 22.13 S 18 18 8.95 E
Summer: 1 October to 31 March – 07h00 to 19h00
Winter: 1 April to 30 September – 07h30 to 18h00
Accommodation and permit bookings Tel: +27 (0)21 483 0190
Entrance will be prohibited if rough seas make it too dangerous to cross the breakwater.
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