What You Need To Know
Walvis Bay is a port town on the coast of Namibia. The bay is a safe haven for sea vessels because of its natural deepwater harbour, protected by the Pelican Point sand spit, being the only natural harbour of any size along the country’s coast. Being rich in plankton and marine life, these waters also drew large numbers of southern right whales, attracting whalers and fishing vessels.
Walvis Bay is Sheltered by the Pelican Point sand spit, its tidal lagoon is home to abundant birdlife including flamingos, pelicans and Damara terns. The harbor is busy with fishing boats and ships. Dolphins, whales and Cape fur seals inhabit the Atlantic waters around the Pelican Point Lighthouse. East of the bay, coastal sand dunes like Dune 7 mark the start of the Namib Desert.
Area: 1,124 km²
The Namibian Dollar is the currency of Namibia. The Namibian dollar has been the currency of Namibia since 1993. It is normally abbreviated with the dollar sign $, or alternatively N$ to distinguish it from other dollar-denominated currencies. The currency code for Dollars is NAD It is divided into 100 cents.
Walvis Bay features the very rare mild variation of the desert climate (BWn) according to the Köppen climate classification. It is caused by the rain shadow of the Naukluft Mountains and the cooling effect of the coastal sea temperature by the Benguela Current. Walvis Bay receives only 13.2 millimetres (0.52 in) average precipitation per year, making it one of the driest cities on earth. Despite its dry climate, the city is relatively humid. Average relative humidity throughout the year remains above 80%. The warmest month is February with average temperature 17.9 °C (64.2 °F), while the coolest months are August and September with average temperature 13.2 °C (55.8 °F). The diurnal temperature range is also low, averaging only 5.7 °C (10.2 °F). There has also been considerable warming at the airport in recent years, in 1980 the mean temperature was 17.0 °C, rising to 25.1 °C in 2014. On 17 May 2015, the temperature at Rooikop near Walvis Bay International Airport reached 37.4 °C.
English is the official language, but many people also speak Afrikaans and German. There are also several indigenous languages spoken, mainly in the rural areas.
Typhoid, hepatitis A and hepatitis B vaccinations are recommended for travel to Namibia. Safety regulations in Namibia require all visitors to have a yellow fever certificate if arriving from an infected area. There is a malaria risk in the northern region of Namibia during the rainy season (January to April). HIV/AIDS is prevalent and precautions are essential, although travellers are seldom at risk unless engaging in unprotected sex with locals. Cholera outbreaks do occur and visitors should drink only boiled or bottled water, and avoid ice in drinks. There has been an increase in the incidence of rabies among dogs in Windhoek; travellers at risk of animal bites should consider a rabies vaccination.
There are good medical facilities in Windhoek, but medical insurance is essential as treatment is expensive. Outside of the main cities medical treatment may be hard to come by. Travellers to Namibia should seek medical advice at least four weeks prior to departure. For peace of mind it is best to take prescription medications along when travelling; medicines should be kept in their original packaging and accompanied by a signed and dated letter from a doctor detailing why the medication is needed.
The majority of visits to Namibia are safe and trouble-free, but beware of increasing street crime and pick-pockets in Windhoek and other town centres. Theft from vehicles, especially from service stations, is common and valuables should be kept out of sight and the car locked. Avoid using taxis if possible and never take one alone. Care should be taken when travelling in the Caprivi Strip; travel in daylight hours only (livestock wandering onto roads at night cause many accidents), and stay on the main tarred highway as there is a risk of landmines remaining from the Angolan civil war. Namibia is considered at very low risk of terrorism, and no major incidents of violence against foreigners have been reported. Travellers should carry identification, such as photocopies of their passport, at all times.
Walvis Bay has a number of public (government-run) and private schools, among them Duinesig Primary School, International School of Walvis Bay, Kuisebmond Secondary School, Walvis Bay Private High School and others. A number of kindergartens cater for young children.
The Namibian Maritime and Fisheries Institute (NAMFI) is a tertiary education institution based in town. International University of Management (IUM) and Monitronics Success College both have branches in Walvis Bay.
The town is laid out in a large grid pattern, and apart from the few shops in the centre that you can walk around, you really need a car, especially to reach the Yacht Club at the western end and to explore the lagoon. If you don’t have your own wheels, there are plenty of taxis in Walvis Bay.