Lambert's Bay

- South Africa - Wesern Cape - Lambert's Bay
Lambert's Bay - 32°05´29´´S, 18°18´08´´E

Short Description

Lambert's Bay harbour is a small harbour on the west coast that is in decline. The depletion of fish stocks on the west coast through over-fishing have reduced the requirements for an active harbour in the area.

Additional Info

Lamberts Bay is named after Admiral Lambert of the British Navy who did a marine survey of the bay between 1826 and 1840 producing the first reliable charts of the area.

In 1887 Mr Stephan bought the commercial buildings and built the hotel in 1888. Lamberts Bay was used as a lay-up for British warships during the war of 1900-1902 and in 1901 the “ HMS Sybille” was wrecked opposite Steenbokfontein.

The first crayfish factory was started by Mr Lindström in 1918. The harbour is now only used by an occasional small fishing vessel, and some diamond boats which are used for wet dredging and diving operations offshore of the coast-rich diamond fields to the north.

Another attraction is "Bird Island" next to the fishing harbour. It is accessible via a jetty. Here over 20,000 Cape Gannets and huge flocks of cormorants and African Penguins used to breed. A viewing tower and pools for the penguins were built by Marine and Coastal Management in early 2000 with the idea of turning it into a major tourist attraction.
Unfortunately the project was not successful and the ‘island’ is falling into decay, despite there still being a charge levied to walk the jetty to the island!

The gannets used to come here every year for a lengthy breeding period from October to February. The numbers of Penguins and Gannets have decreased to almost insignificant levels for various reason, the principle one being over-fishing in the area. The South African (Cape) Fur Seal has also started predating on the birds as alternative food sources to fish.

Tourism has been slowly declining in the last few years and the fish factories have reduced production and now their main output is par-fried potato chips for sale to restaurants in the Western Cape.

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