Cape Town - Dassen Island

Dassen Island
Cape Town - South Africa

Dassen Island

Dassen Island

Arriving in Cape Town by sea you will sail past two islands as you make your way towards Table Bay from the north. Dassen Island is the first island which you will come across. It is situated about 10 kilometres off the coast west of Yzerfontein in the middle of some excellent fishing waters.

Many fishing boats launch at Yzerfontein daily to fish for snoek off the island. The waters around the island abound with crayfish but are not for catching. The island is a wildlife sanctuary for sea birds. It is home to 68000 African penguins, 5 different species of cormorant, 2 species of seagull and the African oyster catcher which is a bird on the endangered list.

The other island dwellers are tortoises, rabbits and rock rabbits (Dassie)from which the name of the island evolved. There is a small human presence on the island . They are people belonging to Cape Nature conservation and the lighthouse staff.

Dassen Island lighthouse

Dassen Island Lighthouse

Due to the dangers of disturbing nesting penguins it is not possible to visit the island .There is however nothing to stop you from taking a cruise to the island and to sail around it. Just watch out for the rocks!!!

Many ships have run aground on its rocky coastline. There have been one or two disasters on the island in the last couple of years when ships have sunk nearby and oil has washed up on its shores and soiled many penguins. This has necessitated the capture of the oil soaked penguins who are then taken to Sanccob to be cleaned. This is a very expensive process as chemicals used cost a fortune, and the birds have to be fed for weeks to enable them to build up their natural oils in their feathers again. Once they have been through the process they are released to make their way back to the island. Unfortunately this type of mishap upsets their breeding season and numbers tend to dwindle.

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Dassen Island
Page updated 13.5.2015

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