Walvis Bay

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Walvis Bay
Walvisbaai
Walfischbucht
City
Walvis Bay
May 2005 aerial photograph of the harbour area
May 2005 aerial photograph of the harbour area
Nickname(s): windwaai baai
Motto: In utrumque paratus (Latin = Prepared for either)
Walvis Bay is located in Namibia
Walvis Bay
Walvis Bay
Location within Namibia
Coordinates: 22°57′22″S 14°30′29″E / 22.95611°S 14.50806°E / -22.95611; 14.50806Coordinates: 22°57′22″S 14°30′29″E / 22.95611°S 14.50806°E / -22.95611; 14.50806
Country  Namibia
Region Erongo Region
Established 1840
Government
 • Mayor Uilika Nambahu
Area
 • Total 1,124 km2 (434 sq mi)
Population (2016)[1]
 • Total 100,000
Time zone WAT (UTC+1)
 • Summer (DST) WAST (UTC+2)
Climate BWk

Walvis Bay (Afrikaans Walvisbaai, German Walfischbucht or Walfischbai, all meaning "Whale Bay") is a city[2] in Namibia and the name of the bay on which it lies. The town has 100,000 inhabitants and covers a total area of 29 square kilometres (11 sq mi) of land.[3]

The bay is a safe haven for sea vessels because of its natural deepwater harbour, protected by the Pelican Point sand spit, being the only natural harbour of any size along the country's coast. Being rich in plankton and marine life, these waters also drew large numbers of southern right whales,[4] attracting whalers and fishing vessels.

The Dutch referred to it as Walvisch Baye and the English as Whale Bay. In its eventual formal incorporation, it was named Walfish Bay, which was changed to Walvish Bay, and ultimately to Walvis Bay. It has also been referred to as Walwich Bay[5] or Walwisch Bay.[6] The Herero people of the area called it Ezorongondo.[7]

A succession of colonists developed the location and resources of this strategic harbour settlement. The harbour's value in relation to the sea route around the Cape of Good Hope had caught the attention of world powers since it was discovered by the outside world in 1485. This explains the complicated political status of Walvis Bay down the years.

The town is situated just north of the Tropic of Capricorn in the Kuiseb River delta and lies at the end of the TransNamib Railway to Windhoek, and on the B2 road.

Walvis Bay, with its large bay and sand dunes, is an important centre of tourism activity in Namibia. Attractions include the artificial Bird Island, centre of a guano collection industry, the Dune 7 sand dune, the salt works, the abundant birdlife, and a museum. Kuisebmund Stadium, home to two clubs in the Namibia Premier League, is also located in the city. The beach resort of Langstrand lies just a few kilometres north. The Walvis Bay Export Processing Zone is an important facet of the local economy.

History[edit]

Map showing location of Walvis Bay and reference to South Africa before the handover to Namibia

Portuguese navigator Diogo Cão reached Cape Cross, north of the bay, in 1485.[8] There followed Bartolomeu Dias, who anchored his flagship São Cristóvão in what is now Walvis Bay on 8 December 1487, on his expedition to discover a sea route to the East via the Cape of Good Hope.[9] He named the bay "O Golfo de Santa Maria da Conceição."[10] However, the Portuguese did not formally stake a claim to Walvis Bay.

Little commercial development occurred on the site until the late 19th century. During the scramble for Africa, the United Kingdom occupied Walvis Bay and a small area surrounding the territory, and permitted the Cape Colony to annex it in 1884, although the initial steps to do so had been taken in 1878.[11]

In 1910, Walvis Bay, as part of the Cape Colony, became part of the newly formed Union of South Africa.[12] Subsequently, a dispute arose with Germany over the exclave's boundaries, which was eventually settled in 1911, with Walvis Bay being allocated an area of 1,124 square kilometres (434 sq mi).[13]

Walvis Bay Church

The exclave was overrun by the Germans during the South West Africa Campaign early in the First World War, but South African Forces eventually ousted the Germans in 1915.[14] Subsequently, Walvis Bay was quickly integrated into the new martial law regime established in South West Africa.[15]

South Africa was later awarded control (a Class "C" mandate) over South West Africa by the League of Nations to administer the territory.[16] Civilian rule was restored in South-West Africa in 1921 and administration of Walvis Bay was transferred to South-West Africa under the South West Africa Affairs Act of 1922.[17]

Despite the territory never having been part of German South West Africa, the Act stated that: "the port and settlement of Walvis Bay, which forms part of the Cape of Good Hope, shall for judicial and administrative purposes be regarded as if it were part of the mandated territory of South West Africa".[13] However, South Africa had also sought to annex South West Africa itself, and had presented such a proposal to the League of Nations.[11] Consequently, in 1949, the Act was amended to give representation in the Parliament of South Africa to whites in South West Africa.[18]

In 1977, following increasing international pressure to relinquish its control over South West Africa, South Africa repealed the Act, but transferred control of Walvis Bay back to the Cape Province, thereby making it an exclave.[19] From 1980, it was represented in both the Provincial Council and the House of Assembly as part of the Green Point constituency in Cape Town, before becoming a separate constituency in 1982.[20]

In response, the United Nations Security Council passed Resolution 432 (1978), which declared that "the territorial integrity and unity of Namibia must be assured through the reintegration of Walvis Bay within its territory".[21]

In 1990, South-West Africa gained independence as Namibia, but Walvis Bay remained under South African sovereignty, with South Africa increasing the number of troops.[22] However, in 1992, the two countries agreed to establish a transitional Joint Administrative Authority for Walvis Bay and the Offshore Islands.[23] The Authority was headed by two Chief Executive Officers, Nangolo Mbumba, then Secretary to the Namibian Cabinet, and Carl von Hirschberg, former South African Ambassador to the United Nations.[24]

In August 1993, prior to the end of apartheid, the Multiparty Negotiating Forum, in South Africa passed a resolution calling for "the incorporation-reintegration of Walvis Bay and the Off-Shore Islands into Namibia." [25] The Transfer of Walvis Bay to Namibia Act was passed by the Parliament of South Africa that year.[26] Following the signing of a treaty between the two countries, South Africa formally transferred sovereignty of Walvis Bay and the Penguin Islands to Namibia on 1 March 1994.[27]

Education[edit]

Walvis Bay has a number of public (government-run) and private schools, among them Duinesig Primary School, International School of Walvis Bay, Kuisebmond Secondary School, Walvis Bay Private High School and others. A number of kindergartens cater for young children.

The Namibian Maritime and Fisheries Institute (NAMFI) is a tertiary education institution based in town.[28] International University of Management (IUM) and Monitronics Success College both have branches in Walvis Bay.

Fishing[edit]

In Walvis Bay there are different fishing companies like Hangana Seafood, Caroline Fishing, Benguella Fishing Company, Etale Fishing Company, Cadilu Fishing, Etosha Fisheries, Kuiseb Fishing Enterprises, Blue Ocean Products, Benguella Sea Products, Consortium Fisheries, Talanam Fish Processor. These companies catch different types of fish like snoek, horse mackerel, anchovy, steenbras, kabeljou, kingklip, hake, catfish, tuna and sardines. Hangana Seafood are processors and exporters of fish and fish products. As such, the fishing enterprise accounts for a major part of Walvis Bay's economy.

Entertainment and sport[edit]

'The Raft' a popular restaurant in Walvis Bay

Walvis Bay contains open spaces, scenic beauty and unique marine and plant life. It is well suited for the outdoor lifestyle, boasting sports such as sandboarding, kiting, surfing, swimming, angling, sailing, golf and other indoor and outdoor sport codes. There is Walvis Bay Lagoon and Aquatic Activities, Kuiseb River Delta and the beach itself where people enjoy swimming and catching fish.

The 2 km sand spit allows the adjacent water to remain smooth in very strong winds, ideal for record attempting vessels like Vestas Sailrocket [29]

The ocean-facing side of the sand spit includes a world-famous surf spot known in the international surf media as "Skeleton Bay."[30]

It is home to Eleven Arrows F.C. and Blue Waters F.C., local football clubs that compete in the Namibia Premier League.

Climate[edit]

Walvis Bay features the very rare mild variation of the arid climate (BWn, according to the Köppen climate classification). Walvis Bay receives an average of less than 10 mm of precipitation per year, making it one of the driest cities on earth. Despite the fact that it has an arid climate, Walvis Bay seldom gets very hot or very cold, an extremely unusual feature for a city featuring this climate; this is primarily due to cold offshore currents near Walvis Bay in combination with its low latitude, which respectively prevents heat and cold from being manifested.

Climate data for Walvis Bay
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 30
(86)
31
(88)
33
(91)
32
(90)
36
(97)
37
(99)
37
(99)
35
(95)
30
(86)
26
(79)
25
(77)
23
(73)
37
(99)
Average high °C (°F) 20.4
(68.7)
19.1
(66.4)
20.4
(68.7)
19.1
(66.4)
19.6
(67.3)
18.7
(65.7)
18.3
(64.9)
16.5
(61.7)
15.7
(60.3)
16.9
(62.4)
17.6
(63.7)
19.5
(67.1)
18.48
(65.28)
Average low °C (°F) 15.1
(59.2)
14.4
(57.9)
14.7
(58.5)
12.6
(54.7)
12.2
(54)
11.1
(52)
10.5
(50.9)
9.9
(49.8)
10.4
(50.7)
11.6
(52.9)
12.3
(54.1)
14.1
(57.4)
12.41
(54.34)
Record low °C (°F) 12
(54)
12
(54)
11
(52)
10
(50)
7
(45)
7
(45)
7
(45)
6
(43)
7
(45)
9
(48)
11
(52)
12
(54)
6
(43)
Average precipitation mm (inches) 0.9
(0.035)
1.4
(0.055)
4.4
(0.173)
0.4
(0.016)
0.9
(0.035)
1.0
(0.039)
0.0
(0)
0.2
(0.008)
0.1
(0.004)
0.2
(0.008)
0.4
(0.016)
0.1
(0.004)
10
(0.393)
Average relative humidity (%) 81 79 81 78 71 67 69 77 79 79 79 65 75.4
Source #1: Namibia Meteorological Service[31]
Source #2: Weatherbase[32]

Politics[edit]

Walvis Bay is governed by a municipal council that currently has ten seats.[33]

Twin towns – Sister cities[edit]

Walvis Bay is twinned with:

See also[edit]

Gallery[edit]

Walvis Bay on Wikimedia Commons.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Hartman, Adam (5 July 2016). "Walvis Bay has long list of challenges which hamper services". The Namibian. 
  2. ^ "Local Authorities". Association of Local Authorities in Namibia (ALAN). Retrieved 1 October 2012. 
  3. ^ "ELECTIONS 2010: Erongo regional profile". New Era. 16 November 2010. 
  4. ^ Southern Right Whale, Eubalaena australis, The Namibian Dolphin Project
  5. ^ Narrative of a voyage to the South Seas Charles Medyett Goodridge, Hamilton and Adams, 1832, page 16
  6. ^ The World of Waters or A Peaceful Progress o'er the Unpathed Sea, Fanny Osborne, R. Carter, 1852, page 337
  7. ^ Windhoek?! Rather make that Otjomuise Werner Menges, The Namibian, 12 May 2005
  8. ^ Foundations of the Portuguese Empire, 1415–1580, Diffie Bailey University of Minnesota Press, 1977, page 156
  9. ^ Historical Dictionary of European Imperialism, James Stuart Olson, Robert Shadle, Greenwood Publishing Group, 1991, page 170
  10. ^ Às portas da Índia em 1484, Abel Fontoura Costa, Imprensa da Armada, 1935, page 31
  11. ^ a b Succession of States and Namibian territories, Y. Makonnen in Recueil Des Cours, 1986: Collected Courses of the Hague Academy of International Law, Academie de Droit International de la Haye, Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, 1987, page 213
  12. ^ Debates of Parliament, Hansard, Volume 9, Issues 19-21, Government Printer, 1993, page 10179
  13. ^ a b Walvis Bay: exclave no more, Ieuan Griffiths, Geography, Vol. 79, No. 4 (October 1994), page 354
  14. ^ The War in Africa, David Killingray in A Companion to World War I, John Horne, John Wiley & Sons, 2012, page 119
  15. ^ Biennial Conference: Papers nos. 33-59, African Studies Association of the UK, 1996, page 5
  16. ^ The Namibian War of Independence, 1966-1989: Diplomatic, Economic and Military Campaigns, Richard Dale McFarland, 2014, page 67
  17. ^ Strategic territory and territorial strategy: the geopolitics of Walvis Bay's reintegration into Namibia, David Simon, Namibian Economic Policy Research Unit, 1995, page 8
  18. ^ Official Documents of the 4th Session of the United Nations General Assembly, United Nations, 1949, page 11
  19. ^ The Green and the dry wood: The Roman Catholic Church (Vicariate of Windhoek) and the Namibian socio-political situation, 1971-1981, Oblates of Mary Immaculate, 1983, page 6
  20. ^ Sub-Saharan Africa Report, Issues 2578-2584, Foreign Broadcast Information Service., 1982, page 48
  21. ^ Resolution 432 (1978) of 27 July 1978
  22. ^ Namibia Nears Freedom, But S. Africa Tugs On Its Lifeline, David Zucchino, Philadelphia Inquirer, January 14, 1990
  23. ^ Namibia Yearbook, Issue 3, pages 18
  24. ^ Country Report: Botswana, Namibia, Swaziland, Lesotho, Economist Intelligence Unit, 1992, page 13
  25. ^ Pretoria to quit Walvis Bay: Multi-party body's policy breakthrough, The Independent, 17 August 1993
  26. ^ No. 203 of 1993: Transfer of Walvis Bay to Namibia Act, 1993.
  27. ^ Treaty between the Government of the Republic of South Africa and the Government of the Republic of Namibia with respect to Walvis Bay and the off-shore Islands, 28 February 1994
  28. ^ "About us". Namibian Maritime and Fisheries Institute. 2008. 
  29. ^ "The Speedspot". Vestas Sailrocket. , "Walvis Bay Yacht Club". google maps. 
  30. ^ The World’s Seven Longest Waves, Surf Europe, 21 July 2015
  31. ^ "Tabulation of Climate Statistics for Selected Stations in Namibia" (PDF). Namibia Meteorological Service. Retrieved 11 September 2012. 
  32. ^ "Walvis Bay, Namibia Travel Weather Averages". Weatherbase. Retrieved 15 November 2014. 
  33. ^ "Know Your Local Authority". Election Watch (3). Institute for Public Policy Research. 2015. p. 4. 
  34. ^ Walvis strengthens ties with Drakenstein and Lobatse, Adam Hartman, The Namibian, 8 November 2011

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]

Media related to Walvisbay at Wikimedia Commons