Dassen Island

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Dassen Island
Native name:
Dassen Island and lighthouse, 9km off the coast of Yzerfontein. Lighthouse is 28m, circular iron tower with white and red bands. 1893. 02.JPG
Dassen Island and lighthouse, 9 km (6 mi) off the coast of Yzerfontein
Coordinates33°25′24″S 18°05′14″E / 33.423402°S 18.087127°E / -33.423402; 18.087127Coordinates: 33°25′24″S 18°05′14″E / 33.423402°S 18.087127°E / -33.423402; 18.087127
Area2.60 km2 (1.00 sq mi)
Population0 (2011)[1]
Official nameDassen Island Nature Reserve
Designated29 March 2019
Reference no.2383[2]

Dassen Island is an uninhabited South African island in the Atlantic Ocean. It is situated about 10 km (6 mi) west of Yzerfontein and 55 km (34 mi) north of Cape Town. The flat and low-lying island measures about 3.1 km (1.9 mi) long northwest-southeast and 1 km (0.6 mi) wide, with an area of 2.73 km2 (1.05 sq mi).[3] It is a proclaimed nature reserve.

In Dutch "das", the plural being "dassen", is a badger (Meles meles). In Dutch/Afrikaans the word "dassie" means "rock-hyrax" or "rock-badger" and the island is named after the colonies of hyraxes (Procavia capensis) encountered there by the discoverers. Named Ilha Branca ('white island') by the early Portuguese mariners, it was renamed Elizabeth Eiland by Joris van Spilbergen in 1601. The form Dasseneiland (Dutch/Afrikaans) is preferred for official purposes.[4]

The island is underpinned by a fine-grained tourmaline granite, with a few zones of biotite granite. The intrusive rocks (late Precambrian) are in part covered by sand. Along much of the shoreline large, rounded boulders protrude from the sand to heights just above the high water mark. Although temporary pans form during the wet season (winter) in the interior, there is in general little fresh water on the island.

Except on its eastern side, Dassen Island is surrounded by reefs. Many ships have been shipwrecked here.

External links[edit]


  1. ^ "Main Place "Dassen Island"". Census 2011. Retrieved 29 August 2013.
  2. ^ "Dassen Island Nature Reserve". Ramsar Sites Information Service. Retrieved 10 September 2019.
  3. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-05-27. Retrieved 2010-03-13.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  4. ^ Raper, Peter E. (1987). Dictionary of Southern African Place Names. Internet Archive. p. 130. Retrieved 28 August 2013.