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Walvis Bay,

One of Southern Africa's most important harbour towns, the once industrial Walvis Bay has recently developed into a seaside holiday destination with a number of pleasant lagoon-front guesthouses and several good restaurants—including one of Namibia's best, Lyon des Sables. The majority of water activities advertised in Swakopmund actually depart from Walvis's small waterfront area, and there's an amazing flamingo colony residing in the Bay's 3,000-year-old lagoon.


The Raft

Brought to you by the builders of The Tug in Swakopmund, The Raft enjoys a similarly spectacular view from its perch out over beautiful Walvis Bay Lagoon. Divided into two parts—bar to the right, restaurant to the left—this warm and friendly establishment is the place to be in Walvis Bay. The menu is massive, with the usual array of seafood, red meat (including many game options), and the requisite pasta and vegetarian options (pizzas and burgers available at the bar only). At the time of writing, the menu was undergoing a revamp, in recognition of Walvis's food bar being raised from a standard of decent filling food to truly fine cuisine. Expect a slightly pared down menu, new homemade pastas, and sides like couscous and grilled vegetables (instead of the standard parboiled rice and french fries).

Lyon des Sables

Relocated from an old church to the Walvis Bay Yacht Club, this unexpected gem, owned and run by two Frenchmen, is arguably Namibia's finest restaurant and a reason in itself to visit Walvis Bay. Genius combinations of texture and flavor using the freshest ingredients result in a sublime culinary experience. The seared tuna starter with a pine nut pesto and balsamic reduction topped with hazelnut crumble, and the kingklip with marinated artichokes and oyster cream sauce are highly recommended. Keep an eye out for specialty-themed nights, like "sushi Wednesdays." The funky decor—purple walls and a sort of retro-hip vibe—great cocktails and wine list, and friendly efficient service complete the picture. Save room for dessert.

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