Europeans only entered the bay in the early 1600’s upon which they named the bay “Saldanha”. A navigational error caused them to mistake the wonderfully protected natural harbour as the present day Table Bay. The bay is thus named after a Portuguese seafarer who never set foot here!
In the 1600’s the French and the Dutch were in conflict in the Bay. The French withdrew and the Dutch, under the auspices of the Dutch East India Company, utilized the area to supply fish and Penguin eggs to their trading post in Table Bay. They established a military post on the Lagoon to stop the fisherman and later farmers, from trading with passing ships.
The 1700’s saw the Dutch in conflict with the British and major sea battles raged in the Bay. With the increase of sea traffic in the region, the islands around the Lagoon claimed many a victim with valuable treasures still buried in the depths of the Lagoon today. The islands, rich in guano, were exploited during the guano rush in 1844 where more than 300 ships lay in the bay. The area bordering the lagoon was occupied by farmers and the Khoisan were gradually
pushed further north or taken on as labourers and servants.
During the American Civil War the Confederate Warship The Alabama took refreshments aboard in the bay. One George Lloyd deserted from the ship and settled on the Lagoon and later founded Churchhaven. In the late 1900’s the West Coast gained in popularity as a holiday destination and grew in leaps and bounds. The West Coast is famous for its authentic and soulful people, unpretentious and down to earth. Everything centers around the nutrient rich fishing waters of the region, and the constant confrontation of survival at sea to bring back the rich harvest. During such endeavours image and masks disappear, leaving pure human values to crystallize. Today you can experience these wonderful villages with its unpretentious locals as molded and shaped by this rich history.