West Coast History

The western cape of South Africa is as diverse and rich in culture and history as the rest of this beautiful country. We focus on adding to your experience of our towns so are proud to bring you a bit of history.

 

Historical fact #8: The Saldanha skull

The fragmented 'Saldanha' skull cap of an archaic Homo sapiens person was found in 1953 on an exposed surface between shifting sand dunes at Elandsfontein. The skull cap is estimated to be around 400 000 years old, much older than 'Eve's footprints. These fossil...

Historical fact #6: The grave in the dunes

In November 1991 contractors digging foundation trenches for a new building at the public recreation site at Ganzekraal, about 60 km north of Cape Town, made a gruesome discovery - an unmarked grave containing two clothed human skeletons. So began a fascinating...

Historical fact #5: West Coast Chronology – 1601 – 1985

  1601 - Van Spilbergen entered the bay (Saldanha) and named it. 1620 - Augustin Beaulieu wrote a description of the islands. 1623 - Olafsson landed at Scbaapen Island. 1648 - De Flacotart spent time reconnoitering the bay and he named the islands. A sailor was buried...

Historical fact #4: The Lisboa wreck in Paternoster

The Lisboa was a Portuguese twin screw steel steamship, built in 1910 in Glasgow and displacing 7459 tons. She was owned and operated by the Portuguese Empreza Nacional de Navegacao as one of their mailships and commanded by Captain Menezes. At the time of her loss...

Historical fact #3: Early activity on the Langebaan lagoon

Saldanha bay was originally named after Joris van Spilbergen who was also responsible for naming Table Bay. Before that time Table Bay was known as Aguada de Saldanha after a Portuguese admiral Antonio de Saldanha who was killed by indigenous people in 1503. Aguada de...

Historical fact #1: Darling airfield in World War II

 Weskus Stories What could the town of Darling and a grim struggle for survival several hundred kilometers off the South African coast have in common? The former is famous for its floral excellence and idyllic country lifestyle, while the latter conjures up images of...