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Walvis Bay

Saga Pearl II blog - Captains' blogs

24th March, 2019

250 nautical miles north we steamed overnight, before approaching our second port of call here in Namibia. Walvis Bay houses a significantly larger harbour than yesterday’s port of call, with a 4 mile long entrance channel with various anchored craft scattered either side of it.

We sped into the entrance channel just after 07:00, in order to get ahead of what looked to be a rather slow looking cargo ship threatening to enter ahead of us. I turned down the volume on the VHF radio; the easiest way to deny being notified that one might be breaking any harbour speed limits. Swiftly through the channel by 07:20, we manoeuvred off our berth which lay right next to its inner termination.

Walvis Bay – like most African harbours – proudly boasts a “cruise ship berth,” with removable terminal building & facilities. The only trouble is that every time we call into such berths, the terminal appears to have been removed. Instead, these elusive cruise terminals are most commonly replaced with a towering selection of 1) containers, 2) timber, or 3) coal. Such is fact when calling into ports which only see a few cruise ships per year!

We therefore slid gently alongside a towering block of containers just before 08:00, and the only sign that this part of the quay was dedicated to us were the haphazard jumble of 4WD jeeps, minibuses and cars awaiting to whisk passengers off to various parts of the Namib Desert.

Walvis Bay provides a gateway to the extraordinary landscapes of Namibia, and is itself an area of outstanding natural beauty. Along with miles of endless dunes – some say the highest in the world – there is a natural lagoon which is home to flamingos in their thousands, along with other wading birds including the pelican.

Saga provided a varied array of excursions to make the most of ones’ time here, from exhilarating 4x4 trips through the scorched sands of the world’s oldest desert, to dolphin & seal watching cruises, walking tours, and trips to local townships via scenic drives. These trips pleasingly all returned having been successful in viewing plenty of nature (and sand).

I teamed up with a few folk from the ship, along with Captain Rentell and his wife, to go quad biking through the desert. We took off with great expectations of high speed and exhilaration but it quickly became clear that our dear old retired Master, Captain Rentell, was content to remain in 1st gear. He was therefore split into a ‘slow’ group with another guide accordingly. What can I say – he is definitely embracing retirement at a suitable pace…

Well as the sun drew close to the horizon, it was time to set off on the next leg of our adventure – and this is the part which so many including myself have been looking forward to; a visit to the rarely stopped-at island of St Helena. It should take us 3 days at sea to reach this island in the middle of the south Atlantic ocean, and so off we go!

Captain Kim Tanner

The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated.

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