Namibia’s only deep water port was first sighted by Europeans in the 1480’s as part of Bartholomew Diaz’s explorations around the coast. It was not until the 18th century, however, that the port began to gain popularity with American whaling ships, hence the name ‘Walvis Bay’.

In 1867 the town was annexed by the British who saw its significance as an international port and centre for a lucrative fishing industry. Three quite different wetland areas converge here to provide the most important coastal wetland ecosystem for migratory birds in Southern Africa. Up to 150,000 birds move through this area each year and this wetland system alone supports half the Southern Africa flamingo population