Rough diamond

Atlantic Gull, West Coast, Lamberts Bay
8946939 - colony of cape gannets at lamberts bay bird island, south africa

Brimming with gannets, dolphins, lobster and fish against dazzling beach backdrops, Lambert’s Bay is one in a million.

Unpretentious and colourful, this fishing town with its moderate all-year climate is a major tourist attraction. Although the town itself with a population of 6 120 is rather unattractive, the absorbing, if pungent, attraction of the three-hectare rock outcrop which is Bird Island, is a sight worth seeing. It’s an important breeding ground for Cape gannets and, to a lesser extent, cormorants, while also attracting Cape fur seals. Ear muffs are recommended because the birds’ cantankerous screeching can be deafening.

Named after the British Navy’s Admiral Lambert who surveyed the bay between 1826 and 1840, the town was officially established when a Mr Stephan bought the commercial buildings in 1887 and built a hotel the following year. When the first crayfish factory was opened by Mr Lindström in 1918, the price was 1/6 and 2/6 per 100 crayfish!

Since 2002, the annual Kreeffees in March/April used to be a highlight for many up and down the West Coast, but sadly it was cancelled this year when SASSI placed West Coast Crayfish on the red list.

Open-air restaurants abound – five in total – each presenting its own inimitable spirit and nosh.

Sea and sand offer plenty to do apart from the usual water sports: dune sand boarding, guided quad bike trips, microlight flights and a trip to the prehistoric shell midden Mussel Point.

The Heaviside’s Dolphin is endemic to this part of the coast and can be spotted as close as 150 metres from the shore all year-round from the caravan park or up on a dune. There are also organised boat trips to view the Humpback Whale on its seasonal migration or the Dusky Dolphin and Southern Right Whale between August and November.

Lambert’s Bay won’t disappoint – it shouts Weskus gees!