The only other (apart from Boulder’s Beach) mainland breeding colony of African Penguin in South Africa is here at Stony Point. It started around 1982.
Located in the 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 provides an opportunity to see these now endangered birds close up, via the boardwalk through the colony. It allows the public to observe the penguins going about their daily activities in their natural habitat, without disturbing or disrupting them.
The size of the colony is now almost that of the Boulders colony, numbering 2500 breeding pairs.
Signage and display boards throughout give good insights into African Penguin biology.
Early in 2017 a Cape Leopard attacked the colony over several nights causing considerable damage. Predator proof fencing is now being installed as even the death of a dozen or so of these endangered birds is a great loss to the breeding population.
Also present at the colony are three species of cormorant; the Crowned Cormorant, Cape Cormorant and Bank Cormorant, all of which breed on the outer rocks. Also, Hartlaub’s Gull, Kelp Gull and the occasional Grey Heron which forage in the colony, while the Rock Hyrax, more commonly known as the Dassie, can be seen on the surrounding rocks. African Black Oystercatcher is usually present on the rocks below the car park.
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.
The reserve is run and managed by Cape Nature and a conservation entry fee is payable.
There is also a community restaurant adjacent to Stony Point, which sells refreshments and food during the day.
Stony Point Nature Reserve contact information
Operating hours: 08:00 – 17:00 (last permits issued at 16:30, gates close at 17:00 sharp)
Reserve office phone number: +27 (0) 28 272 9829
Emergency number: +27 (0)28 271 5138 (Answering machine will refer to officer on duty)
A good days birding is to combine this with the Rooi Els birding area and the Harold Porter Botanical Garden (see the site guide for this) just after Betty’s Bay.
Approximately 90 minutes drive from Cape Town.
The drive along the R44, Clarence Drive, which is spectacular at any time, follows the coast, but during the months July – October, Southern Right Whales that swim up from the Antarctic to calve may be seen, sometimes at quite close quarters,