Natural theatre and secluded bays
A rugged, rocky coastline with small, sandy bays tucked in between make the landscape of Jacobsbaai both picturesque and unique. This hamlet is just 90 minutes’ drive from Cape Town up the R27 and hugs the coast between Saldanha and Paternoster.
Locals call Jacobsbaai ‘Namaqualand by the sea’ for its spring wildflower tapestry that follows the coastline. Sun, sea, sand and stars are all plentiful in Jacobsbaai, which attracts those seeking solace, peace and calm. There’s just one restaurant, one tiny café and the roads are still gravel in the hamlet.
Unlike many villages on the West Coast, Jacobsbaai is young. Farmer Nic Tredoux started developing Jacobsbaai as a business venture, and in the mid-nineties there were still only a few buildings there. Since then it has grown into a community of people from all walks of life, all passionate about preserving the iconic whitewashed West Coast style of building – some using local rock. Painters and potters find inspiration here and the village boasts two art studios, a pottery studio and renowned writer and storyteller is also resident here.
Jacobsbaai is well known for its abundant crayfish and is popular amongst fishermen in search of local fish species. The hamlet actually comprises seven little bays, each with distinct personality. Kwaaibaai is popular amongst surfers, while Toothrock and Bamboesbaai are renowned for diving, fishing and crayfishing. Smalbaai is popular with Oystercatchers and cormorants sunning on the rocks and Mauritzbaai can be awash with hundreds of terns roosting on the rocks in the shallow waters. The sandy beach of Hospital Bay is ideal for swimming and sunning. The bay’s unusual name is from the 1800s when ships dropped off their sick to be quarantined here before reaching Cape Town.
A 17-km hiking trail runs between Swartrietbaai and Tietiesbaai nearby, and boardsailing and kayaking are also popular along this stretch of coastline.
The natural fynbos surrounding Jacobsbaai supports a variety of wildlife including jackal, duiker, steenbok and tortoise. Birding is popular here too – for buzzards, kites and eagles, while southern right whales and dolphins can often be spotted along the coast. In spring the landscape transforms into a riot of colour, with daisies and wild flowers adorning the hamlet of Jacobsbaai all the way to the sea. If it’s peace, beauty and natural attractions you seek, that’s what Jacobsbaai is built on.
Jacobsbaai Information Centre
Telephone: 27 (0)22 714 2088
Saldanha Office, Oorlogsvlei, Van Riebeeck Str, 7357
Open: Mon-Fri: 09:00-17:00