Stony Point Nature Reserve is home to one of the largest successful breeding colonies of African Penguin in the world.
Located in the quaint coastal town of Betty’s Bay in the Overberg, the Stony Point Nature Reserve is home to a unique colony of African Penguins. Stony Point offers the public the chance to see these wonderful flightless birds up close, via the boardwalk through the colony, which allows the public to observe the penguins go about their daily activities in their natural habitat, without disturbing or disrupting them.
Also present in the colony are three species of cormorant; the Crowned cormorant, Cape cormorant and Bank cormorant, all of which breed on the outer rocks. There are also Hartlaub’s Gulls and Kelp Gulls which forage in the colony, while the Rock Hyrax, more commonly known as the Dassie, can be seen on the surrounding rocks.
The colony lies on the site of the old Waaygat Whaling Station, which was used to harvest and process whale meat in the early to mid 1900s. Remnants of the machinery and infrastructure for this long-defunct industry can still be found at the site.
There is also a community restaurant adjacent to Stony Point, which sells refreshments and food during the day.
How to get there
From Cape Town, take the N2 north. Just before Sir Lowry’s Pass, turn right on to Sir Lowry’s Pass Road. At the T-junction in Gordon’s Bay, turn left on to the R44 (Clarence Drive), following the road along the coast, past Rooi Els and Pringle Bay. Turn right at the first sign for Betty’s Bay, on to Porter Road. Follow Porter Road for 2.5km, then turn right on to Crassula Avenue. Turn right on to Disa Road at the four way stop 600m down Crassula Avenue, and then follow the signs to Stony Point, which will be on your left. The trip from Cape Town should take between 70-90 minutes, depending on the traffic in Somerset West.
Stony Point Nature Reserve contact information
Operating hours: 08:00 – 16:30 (last permits issued at 16:00, gates close at 16:30 sharp)
Reserve office phone number: +27 (0) 28 272 9829
Emergency number: +27 (0)87 288 0499 (Answering machine will refer to officer on duty)
Cellphone reception: Yes
GPS: 34 37 14.21 S, 18 89 32.65 E
The main purpose of visiting Stony Point is to witness the thriving African penguin colony located there. The boardwalk through the colony affords the public the opportunity to see the penguins close up, without disturbing their daily activities.
There are also four species of cormorant (Bank, Cape, Crowned and White-breasted) that breed and nest on the rocks near the colony, which can be viewed.
This unique mainland seabird breeding colony is the home to three endangered seabird species and one rarity, all of whom are visible from the reserve’s elevated viewing boardwalk.
The iconic black and white African penguin is the focus of conservation efforts. Our hardy endemic arrived from declining off-shore island colonies to this rocky mainland location in 1982 and has thrived ever since to currently support the largest penguin colony in the Western Cape with over 2 000 seasoned breeding pairs (data correct as of 2014).
The uniformed black Bank cormorant pairs, with courting white rumps, predominate at the rocky outcrops of Beacon Bay in Stony Point. The clumsy Cape cormorant roosting numbers are increasing at this location due to their symbiotic foraging relationship they share with the deep diving penguin and other neighborly marine predators. Finally, our rarity at this unique location is the Crowned cormorant whose pairing numbers are also increasing. They too brood alongside the Bank cormorant and also predominate the rocky out crops of Beacon Bay. Their tea-pot form, crest of plumage and ruby colored eye amongst the black and turquoise of the larger Bank cormorant requires a keen eye to note.
On a blistery cool day, our visit to this resort was just what we envisaged. An up-close experience with these womnderful creatures. Only one matter raised the eyebrows when the official in the ticket office informed us that they do not accept Wildcards. Very strange.
Great place. Penguins close up, cormorants (at least 3 species), lizards, hyraxes. A relaxing and natural environment. Great cafe as well.
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