"Surrounded by the Namib Desert" Top 5 Page for this destination Walvisbaai by MikeAtSea

Walvisbaai Travel Guide: 93 reviews and 249 photos

Formerly a whaling station, Walvis Bay has become the principal port of entry into Namibia. In 1795, while occupied by the British, Walvis Bay was turned into a naval base in order to monitor and intimidate the empire's European rivals during the so-called "scramble for Africa." When Namibia gained independence in 1990, Walvis Bay and the surrounding enclave remained part of South Africa until February 28, 1994. On this date the enclave was transferred to Namibian control, ending a long disputed claim between the two countries.
The town is very much built for the harbour, with numbered streets forming an unexciting, but easily navigable grid around it. The city center can be covered on foot. Of special note are the municipal buildings, decorated with attractive wood carvings from Namibia's Kavango region. Exhibits at the local museum illustrate the history of the town and the indigenous Topnaar people. The lagoon on the outskirts of Walvis Bay is home to a bird sanctuary. Flocks of flamingos and pelicans feed here in the nutrient-rich water. The lagoon also supports an important salt industry.
The resort town of Swakopmund lies 50 km north of Walvis Bay. It was under German domination until 1915. With Walvis Bay under British control, the German authorities tried to develop their own interests by establishing Swakopmund as a port, but without much success. When German rule was surrendered to South Africa, all trading returned to Walvis Bay. Before independence, Africaans, English and German were the official languages. Following independence, English became the official language, with Bantu and Khoi-San the main ethnic language groups.
Walvis Bay is a good starting point for excursions into the desert and dune regions offering visions of unspoiled landscapes, compelling beauty and a feeling of unconfined space.

  • Last visit to Walvisbaai: Mar 2005
  • Intro Updated Mar 27, 2005
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Reviews (15)

Comments (6)

  • Dec 8, 2010 at 10:37 PM

    fascinating place - i'd love to visit namibia, i love desert regions!

  • mvtouring's Profile Photo
    Feb 16, 2007 at 2:39 AM

    Very informative page ;-)

  • nsbm's Profile Photo
    Nov 3, 2006 at 8:49 AM

    your southern africa pagesa re so inspiring...wish i coud visit as many as u have but yr pages provide the impetus

  • nigelw6443's Profile Photo
    Aug 10, 2006 at 5:22 AM

    I will be doing a boat trip to Walvis so will not make it to the town. Thanks for the tips though!

  • acemj's Profile Photo
    Apr 17, 2005 at 9:02 AM

    your pictures are further inspiration for me to get to one of my dream destinations.

  • dowdow's Profile Photo
    Apr 3, 2005 at 5:07 AM

    Hi, great well written and very interesting introduction and beautiful photos!


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