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Christuskirche is a historic Lutheran landmark and dedicated as the ‘church of peace’ after the wars between the Germans and the Khoikhoi, Herero and Ovambo ended in 1907. Its gorgeous basilica structure was built from Walvis Bay sandstone while the portal is decorated with Italian Carrara marble. Brass bells imported from Germany are reminders of its heritage, while stained-glass windows and oak crafted pews offer a welcoming atmosphere. Another popular stop is the Tintenpalast (Ink Palace), Namibia’s parliament building surrounded by picturesque gardens, Finally, Alte Feste, or the Old Fortress, the oldest building in Walvis Bay overlooking the city. Inside is the National Museum of Namibia showcasing the history of Namibia’s indigenous people.
More culture can be found at the National Art Gallery of Namibia that also displays an outstanding collection of Namibian, African and international art. Its aim is to promote, conserve and exhibit Namibia’s visual arts heritage to as wide an audience as possible and encourage the formation of a Namibian, African and global consciousness of the value of visual art and craft for the continued development of humankind.
The Geological Survey Museum is another interesting stop where dinosaurs and gem stones can be explored. Half of the museum houses fossils discovered in Namibia, some up to 530 million years’ old, while the rest of the museum is dedicated to Namibia’s incredible mineral wealth. More evidence of dinosaurs can be found in Otjihaenamaparero between Walvis Bay and Etosha. Besides preserved dinosaur footprints there are two crossing tracks of more than 30 three-toed bipedal imprints, measuring approximately 35 x 45 cm. They are thought to belong to two dinosaur groups of the Therapoda suborder of bipedal dinosaurs. The site is now a national monument.
For a taste of township life head to Katutura, a large township that houses approximately 60 percent of Namibia’s population. Here you can try Namibia’s famous kapana (beef grilled on an open flame) and explore Eveline Street, the longest in Katutura, with a social vibe and plenty of local pubs. Although you can tour Katutura on your own it’s best to hire a guide. Alternately hook up with an organised bicycle tour, an awesome and environmentally friendly way to get a taste of local life. Swing by Goreangab Dam while you are in the area to visit the Penduka Women’s needlework project, a non-profit organisation that assists the local women of Namibia to support themselves and their families by teaching them needle point.
The Cheetah Conservation Fund’s International Research and Education Centre is also within driving distance from Walvis Bay, and is the world’s leading organisation dedicated to saving the cheetah from extinction. It is believed that 25 percent of the world’s cheetahs are found in Namibia and 90 percent of these live on farmland which inevitably leads to conflict between predators and farmers attempting to protect their farming stock.
These big cats are the most endangered cat in Africa and visitors to the centre can observe them on a game drive through their cheetah camp. The AFRICAT Carnivore Care Centre is another foundation contributing to the conservation of Namibia’s large carnivores. Situated on Okonjima Farm the centre concentrates on working with commercial farmers, local communities, conservancies and the youth of Namibia to provide solutions to human-wildlife conflict issues. Visitors can view cheetah, leopard and any other carnivores that may be there at any given stage.