Saldanha

Saldanha is a seaside village that lies in the northern most corner of Saldanha bay - the largest and deepest natural bay in the country. The picturesque harbour town of Saldanha is essentially motivated by export and the fishing industry, and crayfish, fish, mussels, oysters and seaweed drive the economy.

The sheltered harbour here is dominated by the Sishen-Saldanha iron-ore project and is home to a Naval training base, the South African Military Academy and a whole fleet of fishing vessels that add a particular character to the bay. This largely unspoilt part of the world is also home to seagulls, cormorants, Cape gannets, duikers and terns that tend to outnumber humans by about a million to one and eco-tourism is popular.

The first European sea traders arrived in Saldanha about 500 years ago and there is fossilised evidence that man may have been present here as many as 117 000 years ago - the West Coast Fossil park has one of the largest displays of late Tertiary vertebrate fossils in the world.

Saldanha bay and Langebaan lagoon, on the south side of the bay, are very popular amongst the yachting fraternity and game fishing devotees - yellowtail and tuna are easy catches and snoek is available in winter.

There is plenty of fresh sea air in the bay, with its five islands and abundant sea life, and it is a favourite amongst kite surfers and skiers and offers unrivalled fishing, deep sea diving and whale watching opportunities.