Table Bay is a natural inlet of the Atlantic Ocean, overlooked by Cape Town and the famous Natural Table Mountain. Bartolomeu Dias was the first European to explore the region in 1486.
The region of the Western Cape which includes the Table Bay Area (where the modern City of Cape Town is located) was inhabited by Khoikhoi pastoralists who used it seasonally as pastures for their cattle. When European Ships landed on the shores of Table Bay they came into contact with Khoikhoi. In the summer months the Khoikhoi moved around between the Areas of Table Bay, Swartland and Saldanha Bay in search of fresh grazing pastures with their cattle herds. It was the gradual dispossession of local Khoikhoi pastoralists by early Dutch settlers that opened up the area for European settlement.
Portuguese navigators were the first Europeans to settle the Bay. Although it was less well sheltered than other bays along the Coast, it was favoured by the availability of fresh water and therefore became a place of call for ships voyaging to India and the East. The shore was permanently settled by the Dutch in 1652.