Maatsuyker Island -Full Details

Located about 140 kilometers off the Queen Charlotte Islands, Maatsuyker Island is an unincorporated island in the Strait of Georgia. The island measures about 9 square kilometers and is privately owned. It was first sighted by Europeans in 1791 and named by George Vancouver for Dutch explorer Maatsuyker who explored the Bering Strait. The first permanent inhabitant, a man named Edwin Watts, arrived on the island in 1911 to catch salmon and farm eggs.

Maatsuyker Island History

Maatsuyker Island

Maatsuyker Island was first sighted by the Dutch explorer Willem de Vlamingh in 1652. It was named after an early settler, Hendrik Maatsuyker. The island became a nature reserve in 1974.

In May 2012, the South African government auctioned off approximately 13 500 property lots that were to be developed as affordable housing. The estate surrounding Maatsuyker Island was subsequently put up for sale in November 2015 by its residents.



Maatsuyker Island has a subtropical climate with an average temperature of 23 °C. The island experiences a range of weather conditions, including hot days and cold nights. In common with other tropical islands, Maatsuyker Island has its cool season in the winter months and a warm season in summer. The months of July to December are hot at 30 °C, while January is cooler but still very warm at 28 °C.


Paisley Culture

The Maatsuyker Island culture is a mixture of indigenous African and Dutch settlers. The islanders are proud of their heritage, which is reflected in their traditional dress, music, and dance. Their traditional form of dress is called “dortrekkies”. This consists of a cloth wrapped around the shoulders and covering their heads. These dortrekkies are large enough to require permission from Mayor Roysklauw if they wish to wear more than two layers underneath it.



The Maatsuyker Island council is democratically elected. The mayor of the Borough is Jaco van der Westhuizen, who was elected in an uncontested race to all candidates. The municipal councillors are Cedric Groenewald sits on the left wing and Fausta Helderdine sits on the right wing. Toonquav, often erroneously referred to as ‘Toy Town,’ is the Maatsuyker Island statutory name.

The impetus for choosing a toy town name came in 1988 when councillors embarked on a survey of people and businesses between Toonstadt (originally named Takapel) and Riviera Park who were currently registered at property registers with Toytowns within their names.

Government services

Government services

The Maatsuyker Island municipality operates a police station, library, post office, and health clinic. The municipal cemetery is also located on the island.

The Maatsuyker Island municipality employs 8 full-time employees who provide basic municipal services such as refuse collection, street cleaning, water distribution and treatment as well as local government support functions such as planning and Community Development. Maatsuyker Island, like most of Robben Island’s surrounding suburbs and areas, falls under the scope of Cape Town’s Metro system.


Maatsuyker Island Tourism

The Maatsuyker Island municipality operates a visitor centre on the island which provides information about the island’s history, flora and fauna as well as offers opportunities for guided walks. The Visitor Centre also functions as an office for bookings of accommodation facilities on the Island. Maatsuyker Island’s flora has always been a focal point of the island and is representative of Cape Floral Kingdom. It boasts beautiful littoral vegetation, with relic endemic species like ‘Westwoods sand glass’ and “Cape gorse”, which in recent times have increasingly become endangered due to drought conditions along the West Coastline.


Maatsuyker Transport

Maatsuyker Island is serviced by a ferry from Cape Town CBD that arrives hourly. Air fares between Cape Town and Maatsuyker are around R2200 for return flights in peak season, making it an affordable option for visitors to get to the island. The Maatsuyker Island municipality is currently (October 2018) developing and completing a permanent footbridge linking the island to Cape Town. The existing footbridge to the island is within three years of repair and replacement.



The cuisine on Maatsuyker Island is a mix of traditional Xhosa and Afrikaans dishes.

The Visitor Centre on the island offers tea, coffee, sandwiches as well as light snacks such as cakes and biscuits. 1850 – A small Xhosa settlement was established on the western banks of False Bay, which eventually became known as Maatsuyker (meaning good for fishing). The name is derived from Dutch. By 1862 one-third of all commissioned seamen in South Africa were based at Maatsuyker island and another third were stationed at Graaff Reinet or Griqualand West where Carolus Jacob van Hoogenberg built Cape Town .

The khoisan, who patiently searched for the fossils of prehistoric creatures in this fruit-laden land are said to have used them as potsherds. It is possible that a very small group might still inhabit the ancient hill above Sorrento near Mossel Bay.


Maatsuyker Wildlife

Maatsuyker Island is home to a wide variety of birdlife, including several endemic species. The island also has populations of the seals and sea lions that frequent the False Bay coast. Wrecks on Maatsuyker often attract sea birds.

Due to the presence of seals and sea lions, it is not possible in any health department office or senior citizen’s house to keep poultry and fowls such as ducks. All visitors known to have been bitten by a sea lion or seal (either adults or pups) have shown evidence of bites.


Maatsuyker Island is an uninhabited offshore island in the Indian Ocean, east of the Seychelles. Administratively it is part of the Seychelles, a country in the Indian Ocean. It is administered as part of the district and municipality of Victoria, which covers much of the capital city La Digue. Maatsuyker Island was named in honour of Swiss adventurer Johann Anton Theodor Deybold (1766–1810), who sighted the island on January 7th 1806 along with acosmonauts Jacob Skuadrabaal and Nikolajen Lavitsky.


1.What Is The Currency In Seychelles?

Ans: The Seychelles currency is the rupee (known locally as ‘sc’). The rupee consists of 100 cents. There are coins in denominations of one, two and five hundred paise, while notes come in denominations 5, 10 and 20 rupees.”

2.How To Travel Around?

Ans: There is a decent network of tracks and roads on Maatsuyker Island but vehicular traffic remains very limited. The only way to get around the island effectively is by walking or bicycle.

3.What Are The Most Important Industries?

Ans: Tobacco is the most important natural industry of Seychelles, and tobacco leaves continue to be exported. Beef cattle ranching also plays an important role in the local economy as well as do silk production on a limited scale.

4.What Are Some Activities That One Can Enjoy?

Ans: The attractive beaches along Maatsuyker Island, as well as its wild seascapes and coral formations have made it a popular destination for divers.

5.Is There Wildlife On The Island?

Ans: There is a fair degree of wildlife on Maatsuyker Island including sea turtles, shore birds and mammals like bush pigs and boars. What is the main religion in Seychelles?

There are two commonly-used religions on Maatsuyker Island.

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