Walvis Bay, Namíbia

The Outstanding Shoreline of Walvis Bay

Old Lighthouse, now Lodge
landing ship
flock on land
Spring Spring Jeep
the landing
Intruders in the Colony
pure curiosity
By the Crest of the Sands
Forgotten Passenger
The Marginal
jackal in search
The Raft
the dock
roasted twins
Hasty Takeoff
Formation in Almost V
by the sea
Lagoon of the (Many) Flamingos
The Pelican Point
From Namibia's largest coastal city to the edge of the Namib Desert of Sandwich Harbour, there is an unrivaled domain of ocean, dunes, fog and wildlife. Since 1790, the fruitful Walvis Bay has been its gateway.

We leave the neighboring city of Swakopmund to the account.

And counting on the path as the end of the previous day had revealed it, a B2 road, straight without end, almost without traffic. We quickly realized how wrong we were.

As soon as we cross the dry bed of the Swakop River which gives the city its name, we are plunged into a dense and floating morning mist. It covered most of the seafront between the ocean and the dunes that predated the delivery of the Namib Desert to the Atlantic.

The mist hung in successive pockets. It enveloped the asphalt. From time to time, he gave us visions of surreal Namibian settings. To the east of the road, mountains of sand that the almost backlight turned into volatile mysteries, homes of oryx, gazelles, brown hyenas that we longed to catch a glimpse of. On the opposite side, from the sea, endless sands.

After driving for almost 20km, we arrive at the entrance to Langstrand, a seaside retreat that appears out of nowhere, a group of prefabricated houses, some white, several in color, which seem to have been recently assembled from the respective kits.

The housing satellite of Langstrand is managed by Walvis Bay. After another 19km, we come to the detour to this, which was the destination city.

On its 5th street, we cut to the port, the largest in Namibia. We joined a group of passengers who, like us, knew the promise of that trip to Walvis Bay, so named by the Afrikaans settlers because of the number of whales (walvis) that they found there.

Walvis Bay: Navigation to Pelican Point

In a flash, we set sail aboard a Mola Mola vessel.

For a patch of dark blue and frigid Atlantic, open only to the north, the direction from which, due to the lack of navies, waves of mist continued to come, which the tropical sun caused to dissipate.

Gradually, we concluded that almost everything in Walvis Bay appeared in quantity.

Huge flocks of cormorants rose from the depths of the mist in swift flights, as low as the mist.

From the upper deck, we could see how the vessel was forcing them into narrowly missed diversions.

We were still sailing against a tide of thousands of pink jellyfish.

As we approach the tip of Pelican Point, this growing fauna is joined by flocks of birds that inspired the name of the place.

And colonies of restless sea lions.

Oli, the guide, invites his representatives on board.

First comes a lucky sea lion that the crew feeds on fish.

A large white pelican follows, which would accompany us for most of the expedition.

We reached the end of that sandy peninsula.

Vigorous waves hit the high sand and splash the hundreds of sea lions that share it.

Nearby, two structures break the natural dominance of the landscape.

One of them is an oil platform, in an area where the Portuguese company Galp itself has been trying its luck.

The other, a large diamond ship that searched for precious stones on the seabed.

They formed a duo of modern mirages that intrigued us, but which never tormented the European discoverers of these lands.

Led by a Portuguese commander, of course.

Pioneering and Portuguese disinterest in the Colonization of these Stops

In 1485, Diogo Cão reached what he would call Cabo Cruz, 160km north of Walvis Bay, today famous for the pattern of discoveries that celebrates his feat.

Even more so for its populous colony of Cape fur seals, one of the largest in the world. face of the earth.

Two years later, Bartolomeu Dias followed its trail, in search of a passage to the Indian Ocean and the land of spices.

In pursuit of Cabo das Tormentas, he made the ship Almirante São Cristóvão anchor in the same bay we were about to leave.

He named the shelter Golfo de Santa Maria da Conceição.

At that time, the priority of the Portuguese Crown was to reach the Indies, it is said that, at the same time, to find the mythical Prestes João.

Desert and inhospitable as they turned out to be, these lands did not prompt King D. João II to claim them.

Incidentally, the Namib desert so discouraged the European colonial powers that, only after more than three centuries (in 1793), the Netherlands claimed the region.

The English followed. And, in 1910, it was taken over by the South Africans.

Until Namibian independence in 1990.

Contradicting the initial secular contempt for Europe, we, like any passenger on the Mola Mola agency, were still in a serious daze.

Back to the Interior of the Bay, always in the Company of Sea Lions

The helmsman abandons the protection of Walvis Bay. He evades the powerful waves there, in search of the cetaceans that gave him his name. That morning, in vain.

Agreed, we return to the protection of the bay.

We sailed as close as possible to the sea lion colonies, respecting the rules that protected the animals.

These rules did not apply, in the same way, to several kayakers.

These, paddled among hundreds of specimens that swam and performed acrobatics and stunts around, a few meters from the noisy, smelling and conflicting crowd that disputed the sand and the sun's rays.

At the time of the old Pelican Point lighthouse, now converted into an exquisite lodge, a jackal that had roamed the entire peninsula in search of food, roamed among the colony.

Keeping an eye on the unprotected offspring or any placentas released by the females.

We disembarked a short distance from the old lighthouse.

in a camp braai already prepared, we are served oysters and sparkling wine for starters. An invigorating repast follows.

By Boat to Jeep, Pelican Point Peninsula Below

After lunch, we got off the boat and into a jeep, driven by Conrad, a resident of Walvis Bay who knew those parts by heart and knew what he could and could not do there.

Conrad passes a few surfers riding the long, famous waves of Skeleton (Donkey) Bay.

From this unusual Atlantic spot, we proceed to the base of the peninsula.

From where, in turn, we cross the muddy plain of Sandwich Harbor to the homonymous domain where the hyperbolic dunes of Namibe contain the Atlantic.

In the transition, in an exceptionally vegetated stretch, Conrad asks us to pay attention to the landscape, in order to find specimens of hyenas or herbivores.

We spotted black-faced impala, gazelle and, the highlight, a small herd of suspicious oryx.

The Southern Hemisphere's winter caused exaggerated winds and waves.

The waves, in particular, stretched the ocean right down to the base of the dunes. They made it impossible for us to travel through the “death zone”, so called because the vehicles have a time defined by the tides to travel through it and because, too often, they find themselves cornered by the rising sea.

Conrad was too experienced to make that mistake.

Discovering the Hyperbolic Dunes of Namibe

Accordingly, we head into the interior of Namibe, through a labyrinth of dunes that we navigate in roller coaster mode, with gradual ascents and descents that the driver chose as vertiginous as possible, in order to irrigate the adrenaline expedition.

In the process, we reached the back of a last dune, whose huge sand ravine ended 100 meters below, almost directly into the ocean.

“Okay, here we are!” announces the guide with a mission accomplished tone. “If you walk along the crest of the dune above, you will find the best view of these parts”.

No sooner said than done.

With the sun almost disappearing in the Atlantic and the morning fog long since dissipated, a south-north gale sent sand kicking up from the exposed edges, making it difficult for us to see and walk.

We climbed high enough to contemplate that threshold panorama, that of the dune stretching out of sight, with the Atlantic, submissive, at its feet.

Return to the City of Walvis Bay, with Passage at Lagoa dos Flamingos

Half an hour later, we cross the sandy expanse of the Namib-Naukluft National Park again.

Soon, the rosy redoubt of the salt flats of Walvis Bay.

Once on the city waterfront, Conrad stops for us to appreciate the flamingo lagoon and the hundreds of wading birds that, at that hour, were grouped there.

Shortly thereafter, Walvis Bay took up its quiet night shift.

We return to Swakopmund, on the same B2 in an endless straight line with no traffic, which we were able to count on again.


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