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Located on the south-western coast of South Africa about 110km from Cape Town, Saldanha Bay is a beautiful natural harbour in the town of Saldanha. In this blog post, we delve a little deeper and take a look at some interesting facts about Saldanha Bay as a port.

  1. Saldanha Bay received its name from a 6th-century Portuguese sailor, Admiral Antonio de Saldanha. The bay was named after him, even though he never actually set foot in the area, but rather anchored in Cape Town’s Table Bay.
  2. The Battle of Saldanha Bay took place off the Dutch Cape Colony on 21 July 1781 during the 4th Anglo-Dutch War. Under the command of commodore George Johnstone, a squadron of Royal Navy warships captured five Dutch East India Company ships. There were very few casualties on the Dutch side and none on the British side.
  3. Saldanha Bay’s strong military links make it a fitting place to host a Naval training base and the South African Military Academy.
  4. The Capitulation of Saldanha Bay took place in 1796, when a Dutch expeditionary force sent to recapture the Dutch Cape Colony was surrendered to the British Royal Navy.

    Saldanha Bay
    Loss of the Dankbaarheyt, PY8442 Image : Wikipedia – click for link
  5. Saldanha Bay was first noted in writing in 1601, by Dutch explorer Van Spilbergen. It is said that had it not been for a lack of fresh water, Saldanha Bay would have become South Africa’s major harbour instead of Cape Town Harbour.
  6. The town of Saldanha is home to one of the largest exporting ports of iron ore on the African continent. In fact, being a sheltered harbour plays an important role in the Sishen-Saldanha iron-ore project.
  7. This town also relies heavily on its thriving commercial fishing industry, which revolves around oysters, mussels, fish, crayfish and even seaweed!
  8. The port in Saldanha Bay is actually the largest natural port in Africa, and the area it covers has been earmarked as a regional motor for the development of the Western Cape province.
  9. The incredible location of Saldanha Bay makes it a popular destination for water sport Some popular water activities include kayaking, windsurfing, sailing and stand-up paddleboarding. The uncrowded beaches also make for incredible walks.
  10. The original Saldanha port developed into a modern-day harbour that is currently there, and this then led to the construction of a railway more than 800 kilometres long that connected Saldanha to the mines at Sishen in the Northern Cape. A deepwater jetty was also constructed in the Bay to accommodate large ore carrier ships.

There are some exciting developments planned for this harbour and we look forward to seeing how it grows and develops over the coming years.


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