History of Saldanha

Province: Western Cape
West coast
Coordinates:32°59′52″S 17°56′44″E
Area:17.36 km2
Municipality: Saldanha Bay

Who was Saldanha?

Saldanha Bay is named after António de Saldanha who was captain of a vessel in Albuquerque’s fleet which visited South Africa in 1503. The name was given to Table Bay where the ship cast anchor. This area’s name was originally had been Table Bay but from 1601 the present Saldanha inherited the name.

Small victory?

In 1781 a British squadron under Commodore George Johnstone seized six Dutch East Indiamen who feared an attack on Cape Town and had taken refuge in Saldanha Bay. This was the only achievement of the expedition sent to seize Cape Town during the war of 1781–1783.

Sheltered deep bay

Diplomat Edmund Roberts visited the Bay in 1833 and reported that it was “well sheltered from violent winds and had sufficient depth of water, but little in the way of agriculture and that few cattle and sheep could feed on the scrubland. There is a Naval training base here and the South African Military Academy moved to Saldanha in 1958.

During a smallpox epidemic that struck the cape in 1871, patients were shipped to a quarantine camp in Saldanha.

The postcode for Saldanha is 7395

Things to see and do in Saldanha

  • There are some well-established hiking trails with great vantage points from which to view  Southern Right Whales in the calving season. Read about whales here
  •  Hoedjeskoppie Nature Reserve is located on a hill in the middle of Saldanha. Here there are some traditional fisherman’s cottages and you can take in some sweeping views of the surroundings,  On a clear day you can see as far as Table Mountain.
  • The SAS Nature Reserve in the military base has some walking routes that are all bike-friendly. There are stunning views, bird and game spotting, and access to the northern peninsula of Saldanha Bay.
  • Sea farming or aquaculture was started here in the tidal basin in 1982. The cold current makes it ideal for mussels, clams, and oysters that feed on plankton 
  • National Marine Week is celebrated every year during the second week of October, its purpose is to create awareness in the maritime and coastal environment and the promotion of sustainable use and conservation


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Useful Numbers in Saldanha

  • Police: 022 714 8333
  • Municipality; 022 701 7000
  • Traffic department: 022 701 6900
  • Fire: 022 713 1815
  • Water:
  • Electricity:
  • Ambulance: 10177 / 022 714 4590
  • Post office;022 714 1109
  • Library: 027 714 8010
  • Closest hospital;Weskus Fam Med 022 011 0053
    Saldanha clinic 022 714 4669
  • Pharmacy; 022 714 2201
  • SPCA: west coast 022 289 0998
  • Schools: saldanha primary 022 714 1358
    Diazville Senior Secondary 022 714 1909
    Diazville primary 022 714 1645
  • Tourism – (0)22 714 2088

Local Listings