Walvis Bay - City of Namibia
Walvis Bay, is the name of both a port in Namibia and the bay on which it lies.
NAMIBIA National Animal : Oryx (antelope)
The bay has been a 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 whales attracting whalers and fishing vessels. The Dutch referred to it as Walvisch Baye and the English as Whale Bay, and in its eventual proclamation it came to be called Walfish Bay, and eventually Walvis Bay.
Walvis Bay, with its large bay and sand dunes, is the tourism activity centre of Namibia. Other attractions include the artificial Bird Island, centre of a guano collection industry, the Dune 7 sand dune, salt works, birdlife and a museum. Kuisebmund Stadium, home to two clubs in the Namibia Premier League, is also located in the city. The Walvis Bay Export Processing Zone is an important facet of the local economy.
The Portuguese navigator Bartolomeu Dias 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. He named the bay "O Golfo de Santa Maria da Conceição." However, the Portuguese did not formally stake a claim to Walvis Bay.
In 1971, anticipating an imminent ceding of its control over South-West Africa, South Africa transferred control of Walvis Bay back to its Cape Province. In 1977, in an attempt to avoid losing control of Walvis Bay to a possibly hostile SWAPO-led government, the South African government reimposed direct rule and reasserted its claim of sovereignty based on the original annexation. In 1978, the United Nations Security Council provided for bilateral negotiations between South Africa and a future Namibia to resolve the political status of Walvis Bay.
In 1990, South-West Africa gained independence as Namibia, but Walvis Bay remained under South African sovereignty. It was not until midnight on 28 February 1994 that sovereignty over Walvis Bay was formally transferred to Namibia - the newly-installed Nelson Mandela being supportive of the claim by his fellow liberation fighters of SWAPO.
NAMIBIA National Bird : Crimson-breasted Shrike