Western Cape, Garden Route – The Point, Mossel Bay

About the Birding

The Point area (-34.1855, 22.1597) in Mossel Bay offers fantastic sea-birding opportunities, especially along the rocky shoreline and in the nearby coastal waters. Begin your birding adventure at the Point area parking lot and head towards the rocks along the shoreline. Look out for African Black Oystercatchers feeding along the water’s edge, easily recognizable by their striking red bills and black plumage. You might also spot a Eurasian Whimbrel, Little Egret, Ruddy Turnstone, Giant Kingfisher, or Pied Kingfisher hunting the shallow pools during low tide.

As you scan the coastline, you’ll likely see Hartlaub’s Gulls, Greater Crested Terns, and White-breasted Cormorants perched on the rocks or flying overhead. Keep an eye out for the larger Cape Gannets gliding gracefully above the water, often diving for fish. Cape Cormorants are also commonly seen in this area, sometimes flying past in large groups during the winter months. There’s also a chance of spotting an African Penguin swimming past or making a quick visit to Mossel Bay harbour.

If you’re lucky, you might catch a trawler passing the point on its way to the harbour. Trawlers often have pelagic birds trailing them, providing fantastic pelagic birding opportunities. Throughout the year, you can expect to see White-chinned Petrel, Sooty Shearwater, Shy Albatross, and Parasitic Jaeger.

In winter, you may catch a glimpse of a Northern Giant Petrel (or Southern), but can expect Subantarctic Skua, which often over-winters in Mossel Bay Harbour for about 2 to 4 weeks in June/July every year. During summer, Cory’s Shearwaters in their hundreds, sometimes thousands, pass the point. Be on the lookout for Manx Shearwater, Great Shearwater, Sabine’s Gull, and Storm Petrels (Wilson & European) as they have often been spotted amongst the Cory’s, especially during the strong southeastern winds in the afternoon.

About the Birding Site

The Point area in Mossel Bay is located at the south-eastern end of the town, overlooking the Indian Ocean. The coastline is rocky, with several tidal pools and small sandy beaches. The area is also home to a small harbour, a lighthouse, and the Bartolomeu Dias Museum Complex, which can provide additional birding opportunities.

The habitats in the Point area include rocky shores, sandy beaches, and coastal waters, making it ideal for a variety of seabirds. The topography is relatively flat, with easy access to the shoreline and plenty of vantage points for bird watching.

Access to the Point area is easy, with ample parking available. There are no admission costs, and the site is open to the public. The area is also wheelchair accessible, making it suitable for birders of all abilities.

Other Related Information

The Point (-34.1855, 22.1597)
The Harbour (-34.1781, 22.1435)
The Bartolomeu Dias Museum Complex (-34.1803, 22.1424)
Entry Fee R20.00/pp

Key species:

Cape Gannet, White-breasted Cormorant, Cape Cormorant, African Oystercatcher, Greater Crested Tern, Sandwich Tern, Common Tern, Kelp Gull, Grey-headed Gull. and Hartlaub’s Gull.

Contact details:

The Bartolomeu Dias Museum Complex
Website: https://www.diasmuseum.co.za/
E-Mail: info@diasmuseum.co.za