Saldanha - The Bay of Iron-ore

Private Property South Africa
Anna-Marie Smith

In addition to being a SA Naval Training Base where the SA Military Academy is located, Saldanha Bay is also known as the hub of the West Coast and the pulse of the Sishen-Saldanha iron-ore project.

Situated along the R27 West Coast Road, this friendly village receives most visitors en route to nearby destinations such as the West Coast Reserve near Langebaan and Churchaven, or to northern destinations such as Namibia.

This small industrial town which is situated 140km from Cape Town, is home to a mixture of fishermen, blue collar workers and holiday home owners. Once a sleepy village, Saldanha Bay now has a number of industrial and fishing businesses in operation here where a large percentage of the local population is employed. As a result the property industry here caters for a mixed clientele of permanent residents, business visitors and holidaymakers who have discovered the treasures of the West Coast.

Young families who relocate here for permanent employment usually find property for rent before investing in their own homes either in the village or in one of the neighbouring West Coast towns nearby. Reflecting the true character and history of its residents is the quaint play on words reflected in restaurant names, such as Eigebraai Restaurant and Vetkoekgrot.

Despite its small size, the town caters for business visitors as well as holidaymakers and has a number of hotels including the Mussel Cracker Protea Hotel and the Hoedjiesbaai Hotel. Leisure travel to this part of the world is a popular past time also resulting from regular visitors to the scenic Saldanha Nature Reserve that is a haven of flowers and indigenous vegetation. Tourists often overnight here during the spring flower festivities and the whale season at the end of winter and early spring, which is also when bed and breakfast and guest lodge owners enjoy a mid year peak season before the year end holidays. The town has a rich history with some better known facts going back to 1870 when Salamander Bay was a quarantine station, and Donkergat became a whaling station in 1909 to Norwegian Whalers that remained active until the depression in 1930.

Because of its natural location the harbour lends itself to superb sailing and fishing conditions. Saldanha Bay Yacht Club has made its mark among the Cape yachting fraternity who regularly call here during races between the Royal Cape Yacht Club in Table Bay and False Bay Yacht Club in Simonstown. A number of regattas are also hosted from here where races across to the Langebaan Lagoon is a firm favourite among junior competitors. And for keen fishermen this bay offers plenty in the line of tuna and yellowtail catches.

Future prospects for the town of Saldanha Bay includes the possibility of it becoming a designated Industrial Development Zone (IDZ). Saldanha Bay Municipality is currently in the process of gathering data and public support for a Feasibility Study to be submitted to the Western Cape Government.

Property professionals say that should the application be successful residents and stakeholders will gain from not only socio-economic benefits, but also increased investment spilling over into greater infrastructural and property development in the region.

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