Walvis Bay (Walvisbaai) lies some 30 kilometres south of Swakopmund, accessed (if you happen to approach from the north) on a stunning ocean road seamed by mighty dunes. The town is situated at a wide lagoon with innumerable sea birds, pelicans and flamingos. On a clear day one can see the black-and-white lighthouse at the tip of the premontary at the northwest of the lagoon.
Walvis Bay History
Walvis Bay had already been discovered by Diaz as early as 1487, but was founded only in 1793 by the Cape Dutch and two years later annexed by the British. In 1910, Walvis Bay became - like the entire Cape Colony - part of the South African Union. After Namibia's independence, the only deep sea port on the Namibian coast remained under South African rule and only in 1994, the former South African president F.W. de Klerk gave it back to Namibia.
Today, Walvis Bay has about 50,000 residents and is a busy harbour town. Most people are employed at the modern harbor terminal and in the booming fish industry. Another production branch is the processing of sea salt. The salt fields of Walvis Bay cover an area of 3500 hectares and annually produce 400,000 tons of high quality salt.
The Beauty of Walvis Bay Namibia
The lagoon is the scenic feature of Walvis Bay. It is one of the most important wetlands of southern Africa and is the hibernation area for thousands of migratory birds. Worth a visit in Walvis Bay is the local museum in the Civic Centre, the Birdlife Information Centre and the wooden Rhenish Mission Church from the year 1880. "Dune 7" near town is the highest sand dune of the area. Who climbs it, can enjoy a wonderful view.
A unique experience is the adventurous 48 km drive to Sandwich Harbor, a freshwater lagoon surrounded by dunes, and a favorite amongst anglers and ornithologists. A four-wheel drive is a necessity. The track is not in all parts easy to recognize. Some stretches go through soft sand, and the last bit one has to walk. You have to inquire about the tides. At high tide there is no way as the dunes just slope down steeply into the water. Walvis Bay has many restaurants, cafés and pubs as well as good B&B, hotel or guesthouse accommodation.
What To Do in Walvis Bay Namibia
Cruise aboard the 45' Royal Cape Catamaran ‘Silverwind', and enjoy an adventure packed tour to Pelican Point to explore the Walvis Bay area. From meeting with pelicans to feeding seals, and if luck permits, leaping dolphins and shy turtles…You are also treated to enjoy our Walvis Bay cultivated Oysters with sparkling wine and snacks, while spacious seating and trampolines provide you with comfort and time to relax.
The morning ‘Dolphin and Seal Cruises' are from 09:00 till 13:00. ‘Silverwind' and The Team depart from the Walvis Bay Yacht Club and continue on their route, into the beautiful Bay Area, which holds more beauty than the eye can see - A Shipwreck, Lighthouse, Oyster Platforms, different Bird species, Seals and more Marine Life.
In the Bay Area, the catamaran will move alongside the Oyster Platforms. Here your guide will share more information with you about the Walvis Bay cultivated Oysters. Included in the tour is the tasting of these delicacies.
‘Silverwind' proceeds to the ever-growing Pelican Point to have a closer look at the Lighthouse. The old supply railway spoors can still be seen from the years when the Lighthouse was still occupied by the Coast Guards. Pelican Point also has it's own little Jetty, but this facility is only used for our Corporate and Team Building Charters.
Moving around the Point, 3 different types of Dolphins may be encountered, namely: the Heavyside Dolphins - which are the most important, as they are endemic to the coast of Namibia, Dusky Dolphins and Atlantic Bottlenose Dolphins.
In Season, the larger mammals like the Southern Right Whale and the Humpback Whales may be spotted and with a bit of extra special luck, the mighty Killer Whales (Orcas). Rare sightings of the Sunfish and the Leatherback Turtles also keep you on the look out!
All this can be seen while comfortably relaxing in the Saloon, trampolines or on deck, whilst enjoying a glass of sparkling wine and snacks
Experience the thrill of dolphins leaping out of the water alongside the boat, seals fed by hand, fresh oysters and cold champagne on the calm waters of the Walvis Bay lagoon.
This tour is very popular with visitors to the coast, as it shows them an area that the average visitor doesn't have access to. The entire cruise is done with ski boats in the protected lagoon area of Walvis Bay, where the water is calm and abundant with bird life.
Boats depart from Walvis Bay at 09h00 and cruise the harbor through to Bird Island, and then cut across the lagoon to moored Russian trawlers where inquisitive seals will swim up to the boats for something to eat. From there we head for Pelican Point where entertainment is provided by a large seal colony and schools of dolphins swimming alongside the boats. Dolphins sighted are the Heavyside (endemic to this area) and Bottlenose.
For the bird lovers, apart from seeing many flamingos, cormorants, and pelicans, there are common sightings of the White Chinned Petrel, Wilson's Storm Petrel, Cape Gannet, Black Oystercatcher and even the Jackass Penguin. Often as a bonus there can be sightings of huge Leatherback Turtles feasting on jelly fish, the massive 'Mola Mola', more commonly known as the Sunfish, as well as schools of Dusky dolphins.
Whale sightings are becoming more frequent, with the best time being from August to October.
The dolphin cruise can also be booked as a private charter for anything from 2 - 18 passengers. Aside from the fresh oysters and champagne charter cruises can also be booked to include a picnic lunch on the beach.
Historian Quad Bike Edu-Desert Tour
This is a quad bike tour for those seeking more than just a quick thrill. Participants on this activity get to enjoy and learn about the fascinating desert environment around the Kuiseb Delta near Walvis Bay. The tour departs from Walvis Bay, generally early in the morning to avoid the thermal winds that pick up in the afternoon, and lasts about 4 hours. By using quad bikes you are able to traverse terrain that is otherwise difficult to access but great care is taken to make this as eco-friendly as possible. This arid landscape with its undulating sand dunes and ephemeral river is older than the Namib Desert and holds an array of interesting sights and facts, a very special journey of geological, archaeological, botanical and zoological aspects of this region.
With the experienced guidance of Fanie du Preez, you'll initially be given a pre-tour quad bike training session on lightweight, fully automatic bikes that make them suitable for riders with no previous experience and of most ages. It is then time to explore and discover the desert's hidden secrets.
Part of the tour looks at the formation of the delta, the historical changes that have taken place over thousands of years, the creation of Sandwich Harbour and Walvis Bay, as well as how dunes are formed and their different shapes and colours.
This harsh environment supports a variety of species of fauna and flora that have adapted to the arid climate. Present day animals that may be seen on the trip include brown hyena, jackal, elephant shrew, oryx, springbok, snakes such as the Sidewinder, chameleons and geckos and various beetles. Endemic birds include the Dune Lark and Damara Tern. However, the land holds evidence of much more diverse wildlife from a time when the terrain was not so extreme, including petrified footprints of elephant, rhino, buffalo, large antelope species and giraffe.
One of the final highlights of this trip is meeting with the Topnaar (one of the oldest Namibian inhabitants), a small community of people that are descendants from the Khoi-Khoin and that still live their traditional lives in the dunes, nearly entirely supported by the harvesting of the !Nara fruit.
You will be transported from Walvis Bay to Pelican Point at 07h45. Your morning is spent kayaking amongst the Cape fur seals. These loveable but rather smelly creatures often approach playfully jumping out of the water or attempting to nibble your paddle. Dolphins also enjoy company and from July to November whales enter these waters. (more about Kayaking in Walvis Bay)
Sandwich Harbour Excursion
This tour goes to Sandwich Harbour, where the desert meets the ocean. Experience the exciting Walvis Bay Lagoon area, saltpans and the Kuiseb River Delta on your way to the haunting landscape and beauty of Sandwich Harbour. This is an ideal expedition for serious birders as well, the vegetation around the lagoon hosts the famous endemic dune lark and various raptor species. Expect to spot up to 50 different species of birds on a good day.
The Marine Dune Day:
On the ocean waves in a vessel of your choice (speedboat or catamaran) opportunities abound to observe sea creatures and landmarks alike. Cape fur seals are very curious creatures, dolphins too like to swim alongside your craft and overhead pelicans often swoop to give you a quick gander.
Cruising passed the going's on of Walvis Bay Harbour, spare a thought for the oyster farmers. This delightful sea food is known across the world for its superb taste, brought about by the nutrient rich Benguela current running along the Namibian coastline. Ahead lies Pelican Point and the iconic black and white lighthouse.
The Sea Kayak Scenic Tour is a half-day trip in and around the surrounding waters of the beautiful Walvis Bay Lagoon. Paddlers will be required to rendezvous with their guide at Walvis Bay at 07h45. This early morning start maximises kayaking time as the notorious Walvis Bay winds increase during the late morning/early afternoon. Although kayaking is an exciting sea adventure, this well-run activity caters for both the novice and experienced canoeist.
From your meeting point you will be driven by a 4x4 vehicle to Pelican Point, an opportunity in itself to observe the abundant bird species along the way. Expect to view flocks of flamingos, cormorants and pelicans. Waders and a large variety of other seabirds can be observed as well. A minimum of 2 and a maximum of 12 participants are allowed and no previous kayaking experience is required.
While kayaking you can expect to experience close-up interaction with playful cape fur seals while heavyside dolphins often escort you on your paddles, these are the only endemic cetacean to the west coast of southern Africa. There are numerous photographic opportunities and the fabulous bird life of the Walvis Lagoon is never very far away.
|Languages spoken||Afrikaans, German, English|
|Currency used||Namibian Dollar (NAD)|