Walvis Bay, Namibia
Quirky history and spectacular nature make "Whale Fish Bay" a fascinating stop along the southern African shore. Perched on the edge of the Skeleton Coast and the Namib Desert, the port makes an excellent jumping-off spot for exploring the vast Namibian interior.
What We Love
Swakopmund: Around 20 miles north of Walvis Bay, this old colonial town offers a little slice of Germany in Africa including gingerbread architecture, schnitzel, and weiss beer.
The Desert: Whether you explore nearby Moon Valley or the Skeleton Coast dunes by 4x4 or hop a scenic flight down to the giant orange sand dunes of Sossusvlei, Namibia's arid wilderness is a certified wonder of the world.
Best Known For
Marine Wildlife: Whale watching cruises, kayaking adventures with dolphins, and 4x4 trips up the shore to the see giant sea lion colonies of the Skeleton Coast are popular activities here.
Dune Bashing: From 4x4 safaris and quad bike adventures to sandboarding and mountain biking, there are several great ways to discover the massive dunes of the Namibian coast.
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Who It's Best For
Wildlife Enthusiasts: Despite the extreme climate, Namibia's central coast is rich in animal life, including many creatures with special adaptations for the harsh desert climate.
Outdoor Adventurers: Walvis Bay is all about exploring the great outdoors, be it on the land, in the sea, or in the air.
Don't Say We Didn't Warn You
Fog Is Common: The close proximity of hot desert and cold ocean means the coast is often shrouded in fog or marine layer overcast.
Pack Lots of Sunscreen: Even when it's overcast (and relatively cool), rays from the intense Namibian sun can filter through and burn your skin.
Joe Yogerst is a California-based contributor to ShermansCruise who has also written for Travel + Leisure.