When I was invited to go to Saldanha by West Coast Way, I have to admit that I was like: Huh? What’s in Saldanha?
I love the West Coast and I have spent most of my Decembers braving the cold waters of Yzerfontein. I’ve been to most places from Melkbos to Elands Bay, but for some odd reason I’ve never ventured into Saldanha.
So when J-P and I arrived at Blue Bay Lodge on Friday, we were blown away by the INCREDIBLE view of Saldanha. Just look at this. It’s amazing when you’re proven wrong about your preconceived expectations of a place.
We were checked into the honeymoon suite at the Blue Bay Lodge, which was built last year in December. The room is truly spectacular, with a big luxurious bath and views from all the windows. The balcony overlooks the bay and has a view of the epic iron ore – I’d recommend bringing a pair of binoculars to check it out.
After a dip in the Olympian-sized bath, we headed down to the restaurant where were greeted by the friendliest staff. Seriously. Everyone in Saldanha is super friendly and passionate about their jobs and the town itself. It was one of the things that stood out to us the most about the trip. ALL the people we encountered are so proud of the town and what it has to offer.
The restaurant is nice and roomy, with big windows overlooking the bay. There’s also a brand new bar area, which has a really trendy design. The drinks are affordable and if you make it in time for happy hour, you’ll get half price cocktails.
For dinner we ordered calamari and mussels. Even typing that sentence made me salivate a bit. The food was DELICIOUS. I had to be rolled back to my room afterwards.
The next morning after breakfast we were greeted by the Operations Manager of Blue Bay Lodge, Mart-Mari Wicht, who took us on an adventure around Saldanha. Now again, let me just say that I was fully convinced that said adventure would just be 20 minutes of walking around fynbos.
I was SO wrong.
Saldanha is essentially like a Matryoshka Doll. Everytime you think you’ve reached the end of it, another layer of awesomeness pops up. Mart-Mari took us to the Navy Military Base, which hosts Stellenbosch’s Military Campus. The grounds are peaceful and filled with beautiful flowers – quite a contrast to what the area is used for.
We went up to a lookout point where we saw an old cannon facing towards the island where the show Meeulanders was shot. (I obviously loved that snippet of information.) The view from up there is absolutely breathtaking.
Saldanha is rich with history and nothing reflects that better than the older part of the Military Base.
We were also taken to Bomsgat, which is an opening between the reef by the beach that resembles the sound of a bomb when the water hits it. The walk to Bomsgat was absolutely awesome – the area is incredibly lush and it reminded me a lot of The Beach. (And also Jurassic Park, but that’s probably not the best reference…)
You can basically spend the whole day at the Military Base, cycling, swimming, quad biking, trail running, hiking or just taking photos of all the beautiful flowers. There’s SO much to do there.
After we left the Military Base we headed to the town where we had coffee at Cup of Cake, a really modern coffee shop with epic cupcakes. So if you have a sweet tooth, you can get your fix there.
When we arrived back at Blue Bay Lodge we got a tour of the grounds, and there’s so much accommodation there! Seriously, it’s perfect for popular people to get married. (I would only be able to fill a tenth of the grounds.)
If you’d like to find out more about the wedding venue, you can check it out here.
But our trip didn’t stop there. We then went to The Saldanha Bay Protea Hotel, which is on the opposite side of the bay. So basically you can reenact The Great Gatsby if one person stands on Blue Bay Lodge’s side, while the other one stands on the Protea Hotel side. Am I the only one who’d like to do that? Okay then. Let’s move on.
The Saldanha Bay Protea Hotel is absolutely pristine and so neatly maintained, it’s actually impossible to believe that it’s 2 meters away from the ocean. When we walked into our room we were so amped to see that it’s basically the size of a bachelor flat in Cape Town, once again with a balcony with an epic view.
After a quick afternoon nap (it was tiring work living our best lives) we went for a walk around the area. The hotel is centrally located, so everything is a stone’s throw away from it. We explored some of the side streets and saw really cool houses before heading back to the hotel to order room service.
J-P ordered ribs and onion rings, while I ordered steak and veggies. (We both love food.) It was DELICIOUS.
The next morning after breakfast we explored the Protea Hotel grounds, and let me just say that it reminds me of a Lana Del Rey music video.
If you’re looking for a relaxed weekend away from the city lights – you’ll definitely be able to unwind here!
To book a room, check out Protea Hotel’s website here.
Contact details: 027-22-714-1264
Thank you to EVERYONE who made this trip possible, and all the passionate Saldanha residents who shared their knowledge with us. It was an incredible weekend for both of us!
To find more West Coast gems, follow West Coast Way on Twitter here.