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Henties Bay is a coastal town in Namibia, situated along the National West Coast Recreation Area, about 440 km from Windhoek, 70 km north of Swakopmund and about 60 km south of the Cape Cross seal colony.
It is a small town with a population of about 2700 permanent residents and is a popular holiday resort. It has all the necessary facilities such as accommodation establishments, shops, restaurants, pubs, banks, a post office, 24-hour petrol, 4 x 4 vehicle hire, garages, service stations and tow-in services, as well as medical services.
Various sport facilities are available to the public such as a nine-hole golf course, tennis and squash courts and a Jukskei court. Henties Bay has a peaceful, rustic atmosphere and the absence of heavy traffic, the mild climate and long stretches of unspoilt beach creates the ideal setting for a leisurely holiday with long walks, sunbathing and picnicking or a few days rest for the overseas visitor after a tiresome journey on hot and dusty roads.
Parts of the beach are closed to anglers, vehicles and quad bikes to offer pedestrians and sunbathers maximum peace and quite.
Like the Namib Desert, the climate at the coast is extremely arid but temperatures are moderate due to the influence of the cold Benguela Current, ranging from 13 to 18°C. Fog is brought in almost every night by onshore winds and the humidity is normally as high as 85% while the actual rainfall is less than 15 mm per year.
Temperatures can however soar to over 40ºC and even higher when the hot, dry east wind or Bergwind is blowing. Ironically these winds occur in winter between April and August and although sometimes very hot, it provides glorious summer-like days and evenings.
PLACES OF INTEREST:
A very attractive feature of Henties Bay and the heart of its origin is the natural freshwater spring in an old delta of the Omaruru River, referred to as the Valley, and discovered by Major Hentie van der Merwe in 1929. It practically divides Henties Bay in two parts namely the North Dune and the South Dune.
Exploring the possibility of developing the area into a wetland, officials from the municipality and a wetland expert from The Ministry of Tourism and Environment concluded, in 2001, that a wetland area was indeed possible. Using the existing palms as the boundary, a small wetland was created in November 2001 by removing loads of silt and reed.
An island, sloping banks, mud flats, and some reeds now provide visiting birds with ample place to forage and roost. Today the spring is an interesting feature at the end of the unusual nine-hole golf course, laid out in the sandy bed of the delta.
For more than twenty years the gallows is an interesting landmark in Henties Bay, which stimulates the curiosity of many a tourist to the town. Initiated by frank Atkinson and Willie Cilliers, who respectively settled here in 1969 and 1971 as two of the first permanent residents of Henties Bay, it was erected in 1978 as an appeal to keep the town and beach clean.
Another interesting feature in the heart of the desert is the Tulongeni Gardening Project, a community-based project initiated by the Mayor and owned and run by the community as a job creation effort. The garden is situated in the valley, an old delta of the Omaruru River. Strong sweet water comes from boreholes provided by the Municipality and is pumped to the different sections of the garden.
The municipality has approved a 99-year lease on the property currently being used for the project, as well as additional land to the north and east of the present garden. Presently, 3 ha of garden is under cultivation, producing tons of vegetables every month. Staff has increased from 10 in 1999, to 40 at the end of 2002.
Extensions to the Garden were made possible by funding obtained from the Ministry of Women Affairs and Child Welfare and Namdeb, which allowed for the installation of essential infrastructure:
Crops of beans, baby marrow, potatoes, onions, strawberries, spinach, sweet potato, carrots and beetroot make up the bulk of the vegetables produced.
Vegetables are marketed locally in Henties Bay and visitors are welcome to visit the new farm stall during shop hours to buy their fresh produce.