Walvis Bay is paradise for bird lovers and animal enthusiasts alike. Translated to mean “Whale Bay”, this small town got it’s humble beginnings with the rich marine life, including southern right whales, which attracted many whalers and fishing vessels. This Namibian gem is full of beautiful architecture, quirky eateries and Dune 7—which is the highest sand dune in the world. It is also home to their most famous resident—Angelina Jolie.
Despite all these acclaims, what really makes Walvis Bay special is the incredible bird watching opportunities of flamingos.
A 30 kilometre drive South from the center of Swakopmund will lead to one of Namibia’s largest salt mines, which produces 700,000 tons of salt per year and 90% of Africa’s salt. Right next to this salt mine is a 45,000-hectare protected lagoon that is absolutely booming with Greater and Lesser Flamingos, along with a stunning backdrop of the Namib sand dunes.
To tell the difference between the Greater and Lesser flamingos, it is important to take note of their colour. The Greater flamingos are a white to light pink colour, while the Lesser flamingos are a much deeper pink.
The number of flamingos at Walvis Bay varies largely on the tides, in which populations are highest at low tide. There is a well-groomed promenade that offers a well groomed walking path along a portion of the lagoon, so there are plenty of photo-taking opportunities and park benches to sit and admire the natural phenomenon. It is easy to lose track of the hours as the flamingos move their long necks down in the mud looking for food.
Once the walk around the lagoon has finished, there’s a great place to grab a coffee and a snack at Dolphins a Coffee Shoppe. Located right next to the lagoon, patrons can continue their birdwatching from a seat inside and a warm coffee in hand.
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