South Africa
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Only 100 metres off the shore of Lambert’s Bay on the Western Cape Coast, is Bird Island Nature Reserve, an island that is home to a massive breeding colony of Cape Gannets. Bird Island Nature Reserve is one of only six such colonies in the world.

The three hectare Reserve has become something of a local hangout for all types of seabirds and not only for the Cape Gannets, but also roosting terns, Gulls, Cape Cormorants and a lively colony of African Penguins. Thousands of these birds breed and roost on the island which is connected to the mainland by a breakwater turning the Reserve into the world’s most accessible breeding colony of Cape Gannets.

An incredible modern bird hide, which serves almost as a classroom of information on these birds, provides visitors with a unique opportunity to view the mating ritual of the Gannets between April and September each year. There was also a time when the penguin colony were almost wiped out when the eggs were being collected in abundance on the island along with Gannet dung, which is a key ingredient in fertilizer, between 1888 and 1990. Conservationists therefore erected artificial structures to encourage the penguins to breed again and today the colony numbers are still growing.

The Reserve is a wonderful way to spend the afternoon - birds, seals and penguins! Come and enjoy the birds nesting, feeding and socializing!

Things to do and see

  • Modern Bird Hide
  • Information Boards & Educational Material
  • Penguin Pool
  • Whale Watching
  • Cape Fur Seals
  • Coffee Shop
  • Gift Shop


There is currently a conservation fee of R40, Adults and R20, Children. Entrance is prohibited during rough seas as it becomes too dangerous to cross the breakwater. Please note that visitors however are to be careful at all times.

Please note, between 1 October and 30 March (Summer months), the Reserve is open from 07h00 to 19h00

Find Us

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 whole journey should take no more than four hours.

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