Walvis Bay

Walvis Bay Pelicans

Travel to Walvis Bay – Namibia’s Major Harbour Town

Nestled between the stunning sand dunes of the Namib Desert and the Atlantic Ocean, Walvis Bay is Namibia’s major harbour. The lagoon is home to prolific birdlife and the town is a popular destination for Namibians wanting a beach holiday.

The history of Walvis Bay dates back many thousands of years to the Khoikhoe and Aoni people, the western world first discovered the area in 1487 when Bartholomeu Dias, the Portuguese navigator, dropped anchor whilst searching for a route to the east. In the 18th century the town became popular with whalers from as far afield as America and whaling continued in the area well into the 20th century.

Walvis Bay was claimed by the Dutch in 1793 but subsequently occupied by the British who seized control in order to facilitate the safe passage of ships heading for the Cape. In 1910 Walvis Bay was incorporated into the Union of South Africa, then in 1922 into the administration of the South West African Administration. In 1978 the United Nations called for the area to be returned to Namibia. When Namibia gained independence in 1990, South Africa refused to relinquish control of the area and only after much international and local pressure was the Bay finally returned to Namibian rule in 1994.

Visit the Rhenish Mission Church, originally built in Hamburg, Germany in 1879 and shipped to the town.

Walvis Bay Lagoon is a bird lovers paradise, offering a feeding ground for thousands of birds including flamingos, pelicans and comorants, take a stroll along the 3km long promenade along the lagoons edge.

The coastal sand dunes are also a popular attraction, most notably Dune 7, one of the highest crest dunes along the coast.

The area offers a wide range of sports including sandboarding, kiting, surfing, swimming, angling, sailing and golf. Its beaches offer the perfect place to relax and soak up the African sun and in the summer months anglers arrive to catch some of the best quality and largest edible fish in Africa.

Boat and Kayak excursions offer the chance to spot Cape Fur Seals, water birds, dolphins and occasionally leather-backed turtles.

Chill out on Walvis Bay’s excellent beaches.

Walvis bay is only 30km south of Swakopmund, the town centre is easy to visit on foot, though transport is needed to reach the lagoon and yacht club. Taxis are available within the town.

  • Walvis Bay Lagoon, home to hundreds of thousands of birds, including many migratory birds traveling between Africa and the Arctic.
  • Use it as a good base to start explorations into the Namib-Naukluft Park.
  • Enjoy numerous sports such as golf, angling and kayaking.


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