St Helena Bay

Saint Helena Bay
St. Helenabaai

Sandy Point, St Helena Bay
View of Britannia Bay west of St Helena Bay
Saint Helena Bay
Saint Helena Bay
Saint Helena Bay

 Saint Helena Bay shown within Western Cape

Coordinates: 32°45′30″S 18°01′40″E / 32.75833°S 18.02778°E / -32.75833; 18.02778Coordinates: 32°45′30″S 18°01′40″E / 32.75833°S 18.02778°E / -32.75833; 18.02778
Country South Africa
Province Western Cape
District West Coast
Municipality Saldanha Bay
  Total 26.92 km2 (10.39 sq mi)
Population (2011)[1]
  Total 11,529
  Density 430/km2 (1,100/sq mi)
Racial makeup (2011)[1]
  Black African 29.7%
  Coloured 59.3%
  Indian/Asian 0.3%
  White 10.3%
  Other 0.5%
First languages (2011)[1]
  Afrikaans 68.9%
  Xhosa 25.7%
  English 3.5%
  Other 1.9%
Postal code (street) 7390

Saint Helena Bay (Afrikaans: St. Helenabaai) is a settlement in West Coast District Municipality in the Western Cape province of South Africa.

Nicknamed by locals as Agterbaai,[2][3] the town is located on the shore of the bay, from which it derives its name[4] and is approximately 150 km north of Cape Town, South Africa. It surrounds the towns of Vredenburg and Paternoster, and is located across the bay from Laaiplek.


Historically, Saint Helena Bay is the location where Vasco da Gama, first set foot in South Africa. The date of this event was recorded as November 7, 1497.[5][6]

The bay was named Bahia de Santa Helena (Portuguese for its current name) after Saint Helena a devout, influential Christian and mother of Constantine I.[5] This location was also the first setting of a battle between the indigenous Khoikhoi people and a European explorer took place.[5]


Saint Helena Bay is a major fishing town.[7] It is home to Sandy Point Harbor - one of two ports to the bay, (the other being in Laaiplek) on the West Coast of South Africa. In winter it is host to many fishing activities, where snoek is found in its waters, as well as an endangered species of rock lobster and crayfish.[8]

The bay has a high number of pelagic fish, and consist of eleven fish processing factories.[9]


Saint Helena Bay is the only area along the South African West Coast where the sun rises across the bay. The reason for this is its unique location, where by the town itself faces north east and almost north.

It is described as "calm and tranquil" as quoted from the Portuguese explorer, Vasco da Gama.[10]

The region of Saint Helena Bay is sub-divided into various suburbs, namely (from east to west): Laingville, West Point, Steenberg's Cove, Hannasbaai, Britanica Heights, Harbour Lights, Sandy Point, Blueberry Hill, Columbine, Mid-West and it incorporates the neighboring towns of Stompneusbaai and Britannia Bay. It includes a total of eighteen smaller bays.[3][11]

Tourism and events

On the actual site of Vasco da Gama's arrival is a monument. Other attractions include dolphin and whale watching[12] as well as sightseeing.[13]

Saint Helena Bay is regular host to the St Helenabaai Seefees, (Afrikaans, translated as St Helena Bay Sea Festival). This event is hosted by the town's Tourism association and takes place annually in December during the South African summer season.[14]

Its surrounding areas include attractions such as the Cape Columbine Lighthouse (19.7 km from St Helena Bay).[15][16]


To the west of Saint Helena Bay, is a secure golfing estate known as Shelley Point.[12][17]

Saint Helena Bay is noted as a popular destination for former South African Rugby Union player, Kobus Wiese, who owns property in the region.[9] In February 2012, South African TV personality and soap opera star, Hildegardt Whites (who plays the role of Bonita Meintjies in 7de Laan) married Polish-born musician Kuba Silkiewicz in Shelly Point, St Helena Bay.[18][19][20] Whites grew up in the West Coast during her teen years.


  1. 1 2 3 4 "Main Place Saint Helena Bay". Census 2011.
  3. 1 2 St Helena Bay.
  4. "Dictionary of Southern African Place Names (Public Domain)". Human Science Research Council. p. 395.
  5. 1 2 3
  6. Op Pad in Suid-Afrika. BPJ Erasmus 1995. ISBN 1-86842-026-4
  9. 1 2 Alternative To Immigration.
  11. Bay of many bays.
  12. 1 2
  14. St Helenabaai Seefees 2012.
  15. Things to Do in St Helena Bay. Safarinow.
  16. Events: St Helenabaai Seefees.
  18. Sjiek, A. April 13, 2012. Hildegardt en Kuba.
  19. Celebrity Wedding: Hildegardt Whites & Kuba Silkiewicz - Shelly Point Hotel & Spa - St Helena Bay.
  20. Kuba & Hildegardt: 4 February 2012. blankcanvasblogs.
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