Walvis Bay is a city in Namibia located on the western coast, the name is derived from whalefish from when it was a main whaling station in that part of the world. The bay has a natural deepwater harbour, making it a frequent destination for sea vessels. This part of the Atlantic Ocean is rich in marine life, which attracts a lot of whales during certain times of the year. The area was discovered by Diego Cao in 1485 when he landed in Cape Cross, which is located north of the bay. Bartholomeu Dias followed in the year 1487; however, the Portuguese did not stake a claim on the area. While it was discovered in the late 40s, it was not until the late 19th century that commercial development occurred on the site, when the British colonized a good part of Africa and annexed Walvis Bay to the Cape colony. The British joined Walvis Bay, Cape Colony, and several other areas to form the Union of South Africa, to provide a safe passage for British ships. As is the case with most African territories, Walvis Bay has had its share of colonizers.
The good fishing opportunities have enabled a lot of fishing industries to make a name for themselves in the area. Fishing is one of the primary sources of living for many people in the area. Another primary import product in the city is sea salt as Walvis Bay has salt pans covering an area of approximately 3,500 hectares, which produces about 400,000 tons of sea salt. There are about 50,000 people residing in the city.
Since the Walvis Bay lagoon is rich in plankton and marine life, it is a common destination for some of the biggest whales, making it a frequent destination for whale watchers as well. Walvis Bay lagoon has provided the citizens of the city, not only with some good fishing, but also other avenues for earning money. Tourism in the city is also booming because of the scenic beauty of the place and the abundance of sea birds by the lagoon. These birds come in assorted breeds, many are pelicans and flamingos. There are over 120,000 birds in the area, making the place a special attraction with the bird watching fraternity.
Far from its colonial history, Walvis Bay city is now independent in its own right. It is relatively easy for the citizens to make a living in the area. If there is anything that the colonizers have done to help the country of Namibia and its cities, it is to introduce commercial development in the area allowing the citizens to be independent and make a living on their own. While the number of tourists in the area is not that big compared to other African locations, Walvis has done pretty well for itself. There are a lot of activities to take part in and a lot of locations to go to. The Bay lies approximately 35 kilometres south of Swakopmund.
When you're next in Namibia, you should definitely make a point of visiting Walvis Bay, just 35 Kms from Swakopmund. Drop by for lunch, sundowners, dinner or all three here at The Raft Restaurant. You will enjoy the view, we're right in the lagoon, on stilts. You can't miss it.
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