Wanderer Tours and Travel

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Wanderer Tours and Travel

Be Curious, Explore, Go Places

Dassen Island is an uninhabited South African island located in the Atlantic Ocean, approximately 10 km west of Yzerfontein and 55 km north of Cape Town. The island covers an area of about 2.73 km2 and is a proclaimed nature reserve. It features a flat and low-lying terrain with dimensions of 3.1 km long northwest-southeast and 1 km wide. 

The island’s name, “Dassen,” originates from the Dutch/Afrikaans word “dassie,” meaning rock hyrax or rock-badger, due to the colonies of hyraxes found there. Initially named Ilha Branca by Portuguese mariners, it was later renamed Elizabeth Eiland before adopting the official name Dasseneiland. 

Natural Features 

Dassen Island is primarily composed of fine-grained tourmaline granite with some zones of biotite granite. The shoreline is characterized by large rounded boulders protruding from the sand, surrounded by reefs except on its eastern side. The island experiences temporary pans during the wet season but generally lacks significant freshwater sources. 

African Penguin Colony 

One of the notable features of Dassen Island is its breeding colony of African Penguins, which has faced challenges leading to a declining population. Factors contributing to this decline include commercial exploitation of eggs, guano collection disrupting nesting sites, overfishing affecting prey availability, and oil pollution from shipping activities. 

In recent years, conservation efforts have been underway to protect and rehabilitate the African Penguin population on Dassen Island. Organizations like SANCCOB play a crucial role in rescuing and caring for penguins affected by various threats, including diseases like Avian Influenza. 


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