St Helena Bay.

This 31 km stretch of coastline has 18 bays, 3 harbours, beautiful beaches and wonderful sea, bird and wildlife. It is also one of only three natural bays on the world’s mainland coastlines where one can view both sunrise and sunset over the sea.

St Helena Bay has the highest concentration of fish processing factories in South Africa and the crayfish industry was set up in 1915. It is difficult to know exactly where one town ends and the next one starts but  it is a great area to enjoy whale, dolphin and birdwatching, kayaking, fishing, hiking, surfing and sailing.

Driving back along the coastal road form Shelly Point towards Velddrif the first palace you come to is a  fishing village with the quaint name of  Stompneusbaai. (Stompneus refers to a type of fish that is abundant in the west coast waters) In fact you can see Stompneusbaai from the northern side of Shelly Point.

Stompneusbaai as seen from Shelly Point.
Stompneusbaai as seen from Shelly Point.

The gravel road is the direct route to Vredenburg and there is also a turn off that goes to Paternoster.

A shot of Stompneusbaai taken from that gravel road to Vredenburg.
A shot of Stompneusbaai, with Shelly Point in the background  taken from that gravel road to Vredenburg.

Portuguese explorer Vasco Da Gama landed in St Helena Bay in 1497. The bay, know locally as ” Die Agterbaai”, is one of the worlds prime fishing centres which provides a livelihood for the local inhabitants.

A granite monument to Vasco Da Gama.
A granite monument to Vasco Da Gama.
It would be fascinating to find out the meaning of the etchings in the granite.
It would be fascinating to find out the meaning of the etchings in the granite.
Another view of Stompneusbaai from the beach.
Another view of Stompneusbaai from the beach.

I had heard that there were some caravan parks in the bay area and did eventually find 2 of them. The one is near Stompneusbaai and I went and had a quick look. I think a picture in this case is worth a thousand words.

The entrance to
The entrance to the Midwest Caravan Park.

This park has got to be the worst I have seen on my journey thus far. The ceiling of the showers in the ablution block were so low that I would have had to shower on my knees.

Houses on the mountain side over looking the bay.
Houses on the mountain side over looking the bay.

Most of the new developments along this stretch of coastline are being built on the hill slopes as much of the sea front land is still owned by the local inhabitants and fisheries

Plots for sale overlooking the bay at St Helena Bay.
Plots for sale overlooking the bay at St Helena Bay.
Fishing boats in the St Helena Bay harbour.
Fishing boats in the St Helena Bay harbour.

View of the harbour from one of the hill side developments.

View of the harbour from one of the hill side developments.

There is also a lot been done in the Maricultural Industry. I believe these are Abalone tanks.
There is a lot being done in the Maricultural Industry. I believe these are Abalone tanks.

St Helena Bay Hotel.

St Helena Hotel.

I got a bit confused as many years ago I spent a night at this hotel but then it was called Steenberg’s Cove Hotel.

An invoice for a room, bar and breakfast from a bygone era.

An invoice for a room, bar and breakfast in 1980 and it was in season

St Helena Hotel Caravan Park.

St Helena Hotel Caravan Park.

The other caravan park in the area is part of the hotel and is quite difficult to spot from the road. If I had found it earlier I would have spent a few days here while I explored the region as it looked pretty good. Nice grass stands and a reasonable ablution block.

3 Comments

  1. Brendon on October 23rd, 2009

    I agree, those etchings are very interesting.

  2. Bernardo on July 12th, 2010

    What those lines carved in the monument are: the portuguese coat of arms at the center, with a crown on top, representing the old monarchy, and two pillars on each side. The right one is topped with an armillary sphere, which the portuguese used to simbolize their world-wide empire, and the one to the left with a christian cross. You can learn more about those symbols at Wikipedia. 😉

    As a sidenote, you probably meant to say that Gama landed in 1497, not 1947. 😛

  3. pbdphoto on July 12th, 2010

    Hi Manuel thanks so much for the interesting info about the monument. Quite right that should have been 1497.



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