“Walvis Bay” means “Whale Bay”, probably owing to the proliferation of these lovely sea creatures in its clear waters. This beautiful African city rife with natural resources and exotic wildlife is slowly becoming a favorite tourist destination because of the unique and exciting activities it has to offer on its wondrous sandy dunes and clear, blue waters. Located on the Namibian western coast, it is found along the Atlantic Ocean.
While sailing his ship Sao Cristovao in search of a route to the East via the Cape of Good Hope, Portuguese explorer Bartolomeu Dias made the discovery. He cast anchor in Walvis Bay on December 3, 1487. While not officially proclaiming discovery, he named the place “O Golfo de Santa Maria de Conceicao”.
The growth of large varieties of Plankton made whales live in this bay. Between late 1700 and 1900, whale hunters frequented in large numbers and hunted in these areas. Europeans found out that this bay area can be utilized as a good sea route via the Cape of Good Hope. So, in 1670, the first group of Europeans arrived and started to settle in Walvis Bay. The Dutch flag was hoisted in January 1793 in these lands, to indicate their regime, but for a short period.
It was Britain that anchored Walvis Bay to African territory in 1840 after taking control of the Cape, first and foremost, to ward off the Germans who seemed to be interested in conquering the beautiful bay area. It was also done to serve as safe passage for British ships through to the Cape of Good Hope and for better administration. Incidentally, Britain was the dominant seafaring country during that time. Walvis Bay officially became a part of the Union of South Africa in the year 1910. Although there was initially a squabble with the Germans regarding boundaries and territorial issues, in 1911, Walvis Bay was finally given its own allocation of land with an area of 1124 square kilometers.
In the First World War, Walvis Bay was invaded by the persistent Germans but was overpowered by the South Africans Forces and in 1915, when a new martial rule was enforced in Southwest Africa, Walvis Bay also embraced it. In 1919, after the Treaty of Versailles was signed, The League of Nations annexed Southwest Africa to South Africa. In 1921, Southwest Africa enjoyed the civilian rule and Walvis Bay was also a part of it.
For fifty years, this was the status quo. Then in 1971, ruling power over Walvis Bay was transferred to the Cape Province because South Africa felt that its authority over Southwest Africa was slowly coming to an end. Finally, in 1990, Southwest Africa acquired its much longed for independence. Namibia was finally born as a new nation, although Walvis Bay continued to be ruled by South Africa. In February 28, 1994, supreme political power over Walvis Bay was formally granted to Namibia.
For the tourists who are enthusiastic and love to sun bathe Walvis Bay is the apt place to go since it has a sunny weather. Tourists who want to fish, surf, golf and sand-board are visiting Walvis Bay now a days, since they get all these in one place. These multiple activities available here make tourists all over the world yearn to come here. Walvis Bay is the proud owner of a variety of exotic plants, marine creatures and natural scenes.
Cecelia Owens loves travel and she does freelance writing for the top South African travel comparison website, BestFlights.co.za offering Flights to Namibia.