About Salt River
The Cape Town suburb of Salt River is located the east of the city centre, near Table Bay, Woodstock, and Observatory. It is named after the Salt River, which is formed by the confluence of Liesbeeck and Black Rivers. The Salt River has been channelized and flows into Table Bay between Paarden Eiland and Brooklyn. The suburb of Salt River was known for its association with the clothing and textile industry in the Western Cape, but due to companies importing cheaper clothes, many factories had to close in the area.
Salt River was Cape Town’s first industrial suburb. The original settlement developed at a ford on the Salt River, and by 1665 there were several fisherman’s cottages and an inn. A grain mill was added in 1800. Salt River is the country’s oldest railway junction, where the lines from Cape Town’s eastern and southern suburbs join. The steel and locomotive industries were important in the suburbs’ early development due to the expansion of the rail network in the early 1900s. Many of the inhabitants are descendants of the Cape Malay people who moved here from District 6 in the late 1950’s and early 1960’s. Salt River is known to be one of the most religiously tolerant suburbs in Cape Town and there several churches and two mosques in the area.
Salt River was a self-contained little community from the 1960s to 1990’s when few people had cars and when cars were not even a necessity because of Salt River’s close proximity to Cape Town. Because of this self-containment, residents of Salt River rarely found the need to venture too far from home, with the result that they were not really affected by discontented feelings of what came to be known in the Apartheid era as “the previously disadvantaged” peoples. The mood of Salt River residents has always been more relaxed and contented. Also for this reason many of the second and third generations have preferred to stay in the suburb in houses which are over a 100 year old, even if now they can afford to live in wealthier suburbs.
Brimming with shops, schools, businesses, and homes; Salt River has a tangible vibe as locals and visitors bustle on the streets and go about their daily routine. The many attractions of Cape Town are all close by and easily accessed via the major motorways. It is also only fifteen kilometers from the Cape Town International Airport. Although a relatively small suburb, Salt River has two Primary Schools as well as two High Schools. It forms part of Cape Town’s urban renewal initiative, which aims to improve and upgrade the current property and space available.