Walvis Bay, Namibia
A picturesque coastal city on Namibia’s central coastline, Walvis Bay faces the beautiful South Atlantic Ocean and is surrounded by undulating sand dunes, pristine national parks, and scores of wildlife – from pelicans and flamingos, to seals and dolphins.
With a population of only around 85,000 inhabitants, the pace of life in Walvis Bay is on the slow side. The main industries here are fishing and tourism, and many of the locals wear a permanent smile.
Walvis Bay enjoys fine weather almost all year round, and is blessed with excellent restaurants, bars, cafés and shopping opportunities.
Cruise ships dock at Walvis Bay Harbour, which is Namibia’s largest commercial port. The pier is only a short metered taxi ride from the city centre. There are also shuttle bus services that drop passengers off at the Civic Center in the centre of the city.
As the Walvis Bay Harbour is primarily a commercial port, it does not have facilities for cruise passengers. However, once passengers get into the centre of the city, they can find everything they need.
Facilities in the nearby city centre include:
- Restaurants and cafés
- Tour operators
- Car hire companies
- Wi-Fi access.
How to get around
Walvis Bay is a small city and is easily explored on foot. However, for safety reasons, it would be advisable to take taxis during the evening.
To access outlying attractions, it’s best to join an organised tour or simply rent a car. There are numerous car hire companies scattered throughout the city’s CBD, along with many tour companies.
- It is a 3 minute journey to the Walvis Bay Museum from the Civic Centre.
- It is a 10 minute journey from the Walvis Bay Waterfront to the centre of the city.
- It is a 2 hour journey to the Salt Works saltpan complex.
- Currency - The local currency in Walvis Bay is the Namibian Dollar. Coins come in 5c, 10c, 50c, $1 and $5 denominations. Banknotes come in $10, $20, $50, $100 and $200 denominations.
- Time Zone - Walvis Bay is on Western Africa Time (WAT) which is 2 hours ahead of Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) from October to March, and 1 hour ahead from April to September.
- Weather - Walvis Bay sees less than 10mm of rainfall every year, making it one of the driest cities on Earth. Although it has an arid climate, temperatures here never get too hot or too cold. The average temperature during the year hovers around 18 - 20 degrees Celsius, being slightly warmer during February and April, and slightly colder during August and October.
- Sandwich Harbour - A lagoon perched on the Atlantic coast of Namibia, within the Namib-Naukluft National Park, Sandwich Harbour is the perfect place to get away from it all and spot all kinds of wildlife, including jackals, ostriches, seals, flamingos and scores of migratory birds. Giant sand dunes – up to 100 metres high – slope straight into the turquoise waters of the Atlantic Ocean here, making Sandwich Harbour the ideal place to get on a 4x4 for a little fun. The best way to visit Sandwich Harbour is on a tour. Half day tours start at around $90 per person.
- Walvis Bay Waterfront - Lined with excellent restaurants, cafés and shopping opportunities along its esplanade, the charming Walvis Bay Waterfront area is a nice place to take a stroll, especially when the sun’s about to set. Visitors can take a boat to watch sea lions, pelicans, flamingos and even whales in their natural habitat if after something a bit more adventurous.
- Salt Works - This 3,500 hectare saltpan complex currently supplies over 90 per cent of South Africa’s salt, and makes for an interesting day trip from Walvis Bay. Sea water is pumped into the shallow lagoons that stretch over this vast land. The water is then left to evaporate in the sun, producing salt that looks almost like snow. The best way to take in the salt fields is with a scenic flight. A day long scenic flight tour starts at around $500 per person.
- Namib Naukluft Park – Approximately a 1 hour’s drive east of Walvis Bay, the Namib Naukluft Park is a nature lover’s paradise. Covering almost 50,000km², the Park is one of the country’s largest and is filled with unique landscapes, from vast dunes to gravel plains, and looming mountains to deep canyons. Also home to herds of roaming wildlife, including springboks, zebra, baboons and ostriches, the area is unsurprisingly a popular tourist destination.