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Henties Bay

Henties Bay is one of only 5 towns situated on the 1,572 km Namibian coastline.  It is situated 70 km north of Swakopmund and is the northernmost town on the Namibian coastline.

The climate in Henties Bay is typical of the Namibian west coast – mostly cool and foggy due to the cold Benguela current, but less windy than our neighbouring towns further south.

The warmest months are between December and March with temperatures between 20 – 30°C and the cold, foggy months from August to October with temperatures between 14 – 18°C.

East wind conditions normally occur in winter when the interior experience cold fronts, causing strong, hot winds and sandstorms coming from the desert.  Sandstorms can last for two to three days, but it can sometimes stay hot for as many as 10 to 11 days. East winds with sandstorms are the strongest during the morning, normally calming down in the afternoon with pleasant late afternoons and evenings.

The gallows, erected in 1978 by early residents Frank Atkinson and Willie Cilliers, as a friendly but firm” warning to keep the town and beach clean – or else.."

A monument representing the discovery of the surrounding Skeleton Coast area by Portuguese explorer Diogo Cão

The remains of fishing trawler that was stranded in 2008

The History of Henties Bay

The Valley, an old tributary of the Omaruru River divides Henties Bay in two sections, the North Dune and the South Dune.  This aerial photo clearly shows this division.

This valley with its fresh water fountain practically on the beach is a very attractive feature of Henties Bay and the heart of its origin.  It was discovered by Major Hentie van der Merwe in 1929.

In 1951 the South West Africa Administration proclaimed erven in the riverbed that could be rented with the condition that no permanent structures were erected. Shacks were built from wood and hardboard.

In those years there was only one shopkeeper, a German named Köstens, who sold the bare necessities such as rice, sugar, flower, tinned foods, coffee and paraffin.

In 1966 the Administration decided that the people must move out of the riverbed and 27 people were given the opportunity to buy erven on the north and south dunes, either side of the riverbed. In 1967 the De Duine Hotel was built and since then the town has slowly started to develop.

Henties Bay was managed by the Board of Peri-urban Development until July 1979 when it was proclaimed a municipality on 1 August 1979 with a mayor and six council members.

Since 1980 it could be rightfully claimed that people started to settle permanently in Henties Bay, with the permanent residents consisting mainly of pensioners.

Since 2004 Henties Bay experienced a boom in the property market and although many more people settled here permanently, a great deal of the houses are still mainly for holiday purposes.

In the absence of major industries Henties Bay will remain predominantly a holiday town.