Marine Life of Dyer Island

In the picturesque Western Cape Province of South Africa is a quaint fishing village by the name of Gansbaai. It is popular with tourists because it is known to be a whale-watching destination, as well have having very large numbers of Great White Sharks in its waters. Cage diving to see these sharks is therefore an attraction in Gansbaai. The increased shark activity here is due to the penguins, seals and other marine animals that live on the nearby islands, of which one is the well known Dyer Island.


During the fifteenth century, Portuguese seafarers came across the island, which they named Isla de Fera. This means Island of Wild Animals, which was a very apt name for the island as it is rich in wildlife. In 1806, Samson Dyer moved to the island and made his living by collection guano and selling it as fertilizer to farmers. Some historians have suggested that he also dealt in seal clubbing for American Companies. He is, however, remembered for his fertilizer sales in most history books and as he was the first permanent resident to the island, the name of the island was therefore changed to Dyer Island. The boats that were used to bring the guano to the mainland are on display at the Maritime Museum, after being salvaged by the Air Force.

Just off of Dyer Island is Geyser Rock, and both these islands are now protected nature reserves. Cape Nature is responsible for overseeing the conservation efforts here, as Dryer Island is home to thousands of African penguins and sea birds, while Geyser Rock has a massive Cape Fur Seal population of over fifty thousand.

Visitors will be able to book boat trips from Gansbaai to Dyer Island through a channel named Shark Alley, but are not allowed access to the island as it is a protected area that is not open to the public. However, visitors will be treated to wonderful sights such as seeing the seals frolic in the water, witnessing the migration of a few whales or stoping off at the shark diving boat to experience the magnificence of nature under the water.