West Coast South Africa

Route 27 West Coast South Africa

Seaweed and Cerebos Salt Industries

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Seaweed Industry

On the West Coast one finds two common varieties of seaweed: brown kelp (Ecklonia maxima) and the more delicate red seaweed (Gracilaria verrucosa), which occurs in sizable quantities. The seaweed is gathered along the whole southern African coastline, from Cape Agulus to Luderitz in Namibia.

Kelp is gathered on the beaches, dried, milled and packed into 50kg bags. It is then exported to the Far East, Europe and the US. Sodium alginate (agar agar) is the final product which is used in a variety of foodstuffs such as ice cream, sweets and certain medicines.

Red seaweed is commonly found on the beaches of Saldanha Bay. Many workers are kept busy gathering and drying this delicate plant. After cleaning, it is baled and exported to the Far East. This seaweed is used mainly in the production of jelly.

Cerebos Salt Industry

The dry summers and low rainfall of the West Coast make this region ideal for extracting salt from sea water. In addition, the many drying and canning factories provide a ready market for considerable quantities of salt.

In 1972 Cerebos erected a factory to the south of Velddrif, where the Berg River runs into the sea, to produce salt.

Thousands of tons of salt is produced here annually. It is destined primarily for the local market, although some is exported to Zimbabwe and to neighbouring Indian Ocean island.

The salt is marketed in various stages of coarseness. For the finest table salt, the crystals are dried after collection, ground up and graded using screens before being packed.

Author - Cornel Truter, West Coast Tourist Guide

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