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Walvis Bay LagoonWalvis Bay, with its large bay and sand dunes,is the tourism activity center of Namibia. The bay has been a haven to sea vessels because of its natural deep water harbor, the only one of any size along the country's coast. Being rich in plankton and marine life, these waters also drew large numbers of whales, attracting whalers and fishing vessels.

We took an all day private tour with our group of 16, arranged by one of the couples in advance of the cruise. It was much cheaper than those offered by the ship and nicer to be in a smaller vehicle, a 22 passenger van. Walvis Bay was settled by the English and they drive on the "wrong" side of the street. How great it was to see normal streets and houses, very clean and no tin shacks.Flamingos Our first stop was the Walvis Bay Lagoon to see hundreds of flamingos. They are here year round to feed on the rich food of the lagoon.

Dune 7Then we drove along miles of sand dunes. Dunes in the Namib-Naukloft Park are some of the oldest in the world. Winds from the ocean create shifting sands and often cover the roadway. Fortunately the winds were calm while we were there. We stopped at Dune 7 which is the tallest in the area.Climbing dune 7 Some of us tried to climb to the top but it was very steep and the soft sand made it even more difficult. We made it about half way up! But the slide down was fun. To see a quick video of the slide down, click here.

Moon LandscapeThen it was a drive through the Swakop River Valley to a lookout of the Moon Landscape. Created by the winds that reduced mountains to spectacular rock formations and sand, this vastly-eroded valley has an appearance similar to that of the moon's surface. Unique plants subsist in the desert sand and rocks including 100 different kinds and colors of lichen. The area has several mines, especially noted for their uranium.

SwakupmundNext stop was the town of Swakopmund. While Walvis Bay was settled by the English, Swakopmund was German. It resembles a Bavarian village. We learned it is primarily a tourist area, both for people like us but also for Namibians living in the interior and South Africans who have vacation homes there.Buying crafts The shops were very nice but pricey. We stopped at a local hotel/restaurant for some tea and pastries. It was hard to choose between the apple kucken and the black forest cake! Just outside the bakery was an area where handicrafts were displayed for sale. Of course we couldn't resist.

Salt Processing PlantWe returned to Walvis Bay along the coast with miles of very clean sand beaches. Our last stop was a salt processing plant. They bring in sea water, dry it to crystals, wash it then ship it out as table salt, rock salt for animal consumption or industrial salt.

After dinner the ship held an outdoor dance on the pool deck. It was a beautiful night with the lights of the city twinkling on shore (coastal fog hid the stars). This was our first and only night in port as the ship normally sails to the next port during the night.


To view more photos from Walvis Bay, please go to Namibia Photo Gallery. To read about the next location visited, go to Cape Town, South Africa.




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