Walvis Bay

One of Namibia’s most magnificent bays 
Flamingos, pelicans and oysters
Sailing along the Skeleton Coast

Find South Africa Cruises

Walvis Bay

Cuisine and natural lagoons

On your MSC South Africa cruise you can admire Walvis Bay, which, thanks to its rich marine life, is one of the places of most outstanding natural beauty in Namibia. Its gourmet delights are not to be missed either.

Before leaving the port you have to eat homegrown Walvis Bay oysters in one of the many restaurants that have sprung up in recent years. Today, maybe it’s harder to see whales in these waters but the highlight of Walvis Bay (aka Whales Bay) is still its natural lagoon with its abundance of seabirds, including flamingos and pelicans, which are joined every year by thousands of migratory birds.

As this is an area of outstanding natural beauty, there are many options for spending your time away from the ship. Due north of Walvis Bay along a coast road, the Atlantic harbour town of Swakopmund is just waiting to be discovered on an MSC South Africa excursion.

Offering a vivid reminder of Namibia’s colonial past, the older architecture is Germanic in style, German is widely spoken and the restaurants delight in serving bratwurst. There’s even an annual Oktoberfest, a jolly knees-up featuring locally brewed lager and Bavarian-style bands in lederhosen. Swakopmund is a safari and backpacker hub with some great shops selling souvenirs including beautiful, locally made jewellery, crafts and curios.

This is also Namibia’s extreme sports capital, with several operators offering quad-biking, dune buggy racing and sandboarding. Swakopmund and Walvis Bay are the southern point of the Skeleton Coast where, on nature trails across the sands and gravel plains, you can observe ancient desert-adapted plant species such as welwitschia (an endemic, trunkless tree which sags raggedly on the ground and can live for over 2500 years), lithops and delicate lichens.

Must see places in Walvis Bay

Discover our excursions

5 results found


      • Duration
        3 h

      • AdultsR1275Price per person

      • ChildrenR1235Price per person


      Step off the ship and onto a boat for a half-day cruise around the wonderful Walvis Bay Lagoon, one of the richest and most important wetlands in the whole of southern Africa. Roughly 7 km in length, the lagoon is separated from the open sea by the prominent barrier arm called Pelican Point. In addition, pelicans – along with flamingos and perhaps even dolphins – may well number among the wildlife you can see as you cruise. The lagoon is also home to another aquatic mammal: seals. These endearing fellows quite like to hop on board for a piece of fish, and if you’re lucky the tour might even provide an opportunity to get up close and personal with these sleek charmers of the sea. A snack of the freshest Namibian oysters is also planned for you to enjoy on board at lunchtime, accompanied by a refreshing glass of sparkling wine and the glorious all-round views. Your tour then begins to draw to a leisurely close with your return sail to the mainland and your ship. Please note: the tour is dependent on weather conditions and does not include a shopping stop. The skipper is also the guide. We recommend wearing a jacket, a hat, sunscreen and comfortable shoes. The tour is unsuitable for guests using a wheelchair. Guests who are allergic to seafood, especially oysters, are requested to refrain from consumption on board.

        • Duration
          2 h

        • AdultsR1005Price per person

        • ChildrenR965Price per person


        Flanking the coast between Walvis Bay and Swakopmund lies one of Namibia’s most famous landmarks: the amazing Dune Belt. This stretch of shifting sands is home to some of the highest peaks in this arid zone – and you can look forward to exploring this unique sandscape in a manner that promises bags of fun in the sun: a quad bike ride within the safety of the group. A short coach journey will first take you to meet your experienced guides – who will remain on hand throughout – and pick up your quad bike, after which you’ll be taken along an eco-friendly route that will show you the best of this otherworldly landscape. Your exhilarating ride in the dunes is then brought to an end with your return to the port and your ship. Please note: the tour is offered with different departure times, does not include a shopping stop and involves approx. 45 minutes of quad-biking. We recommend wearing a hat, sunscreen and comfortable shoes. The tour is unsuitable for guests with mobility problems or using a wheelchair.

        CITY TOUR
          • Duration
            2:30 h

          • AdultsR965Price per person

          • ChildrenR925Price per person


          Treat yourself to a few enjoyable hours on a tour of two coastal towns that begins with a short sightseeing drive around the attractive port of Walvis Bay. You’ll then move on to the nearby Walvis Bay Lagoon, a place famed for its abundance of birdlife, including flamingos and rare white pelicans. At certain times of the year, the lagoon also acts as a vital stopover point for migratory birds en route to Etosha and Botswana. Next up is Swakopmund, a coastal resort only a short distance up the coast from Walvis Bay. Your sightseeing tour around town will take you past the early 20th-century house and tower of the Woermann family, owners of a German shipping line that ran from 1885 to 1941. The house is now home to an art gallery and the tower was once used to watch for ships entering the harbour. You will also drive past Swakopmund’s old German barracks, the railway station and Neo-Baroque Hohenzollern House, originally built as a hotel between 1904 to 1906, before beginning to head back to Walvis Bay and your ship. Please note: the tour will have different departure times and includes only two short stops. We recommend wearing a hat, sunscreen and comfortable shoes.
        • SALT, SAND & SEA TOUR

          SEA & SUN
          • Limited seats

          • May involve a limited quantity of steps, uneven surfaces and/or periods of standing

            Difficulty Level

          • Duration
            2:30 h

          • AdultsR1059Price per person

          • ChildrenR832Price per person


          The area around Walvis Bay has become something of a tourist destination and economic hub over the years and this whistle-stop excursion gives you a chance to find out why. The mainly coach-based tour will first take you to the sheltered Walvis Bay Lagoon, home to a wide variety of waterfowl and inscribed on the Ramsar List of Wetlands of International Importance. Do take some photos before you move on again to Namibia’s largest salt mine for an outside look at the facility and a chance to take a few more snapshots. Last up and your final photo stop on the tour is the world’s highest sand dune, called Dune 7, from where you can enjoy spellbinding views of Namibia’s famous dune belt. The outing then draws to a close with your return to the ship. Please note: guests are recommended to wear a hat, high-factor sunscreen and comfortable walking shoes.

            • Duration
              4:30 h

            • AdultsR1865Price per person

            • ChildrenR1729Price per person


            Fancy a bit of an adventure in one of Namibia’s marvels of nature? Then get set to board a 4x4 and prepare to explore the amazing dune belt that runs alongside the coast between Walvis Bay and Swakopmund. Stretching out over a length of about 30 km, the dune belt forms a strip of roughly 5 km in width that – despite the arid conditions – supports a surprising abundance of flora and fauna. The route followed by your experienced driver/guide will take you along the foot of the dune belt, with information on conservation issues, the geological make-up of the desert and the local wildlife being provided on the way. To round off this action-packed tour, you can also expect frequent stops to give you a chance to take photos of the dunes and the surrounding area. Your thrilling dune drive will then end with your return to the ship in Walvis Bay. Please note: the driver of the 4x4 vehicle is also the guide. We recommend wearing a hat, sunscreen and comfortable shoes. The tour is unsuitable for guests with mobility problems or using a wheelchair. The tour includes only one toilet stop, be either at the beginning or at the end.

          The excursions in the programme above are intended to provide MSC Guests with an idea of the different tours that can be arranged in each port of call; this programme is merely a guide and confirmation of each excursion and its description and prices will be made during your cruise. 
          Shore excursions programs and itineraries may vary depending on local conditions and/or any unforeseen events in relation to the timing on the day of the tour.
          Some excursions are very popular and therefore availability cannot always be guaranteed, it is advisable to book in advance to avoid disappointment. The guides are guaranteed in English. Only for South America cruises, the guides are guaranteed in Brazilian Portuguese. Narration in other languages depends on the availability of guides. Please note that the final language of the tour will be confirmed on board during the cruise.


          Exhilarating nature
          Exhilarating nature

          When returning from a holiday to Namibia it’s hard for travellers to be left cold – this striking, sparsely populated country has such charisma that it’s regularly voted one of the top adventure destinations in the world. Key to the appeal of a cruise to Namibia is the spacious drama of its desert landscapes, where oryx, the kind of antelope Picasso might have dreamed up, pick their way over towering, apricot-coloured dunes, ostriches dash through the shimmering haze and elephants lumber along richly textured gorges. At dusk, Namibia’s huge skies mould themselves into a dizzying dome of stars. Best of all, these splendours are accessible – while you might feel apprehensive about venturing into the trackless Sahara, Namibia’s great desert regions are loosely crisscrossed with decent gravel roads.

          With enough mineral wealth to make it one of Africa’s more prosperous countries, Namibia, though somewhat troubled by land reform issues, is largely a model of peace, stability and inter-ethnic respect. It’s also a leader in community-based conservation: rural Namibia is dotted with conservancies, wilderness regions whose residents have been granted the right to profit from sustainable tourism and are therefore motivated to care for their environment and its flora and fauna.