Travel News - Adventure - Levo Tours : Dolphins, seals and god humour
Dolphins, seals, gulls and good humour Pelicans bob around the boat
as it leaves the harbour, and fly after it into the bay, hoping for a
free pilchard meal from Francois’s bucket of fishy treats. The delight
of seeing these huge birds up close and having them take off next to
you continues throughout the Levo Seal and Dolphin tour in the Walvis
A swathe of pink flamingos is visible in the
shallows. Nelson, a friendly gull, tries to stay aboard, perched on the
canvas awning or grasping onto the railing on the bow of the boat. A
leatherback turtle pops its ancient-looking head out of the water,
Heaviside’s dolphins skim past the vessel, diving underneath, and the
lively seal colony at Pelican Point is visited to view these shiny
streamlined creatures from their watery environment.
from the start Francois Visser takes control of the misty Walvis
morning tour, enlivening the journey with his sense of humour and
balancing out the good viewing of the aquatic and avian creatures. Once
in the bay, he offers ‘Namibian coffee’—a tot of Old Brown sherry—to
warm up the atmosphere and the chilly day. He then begins dispensing
with his stories and information, identifying the various bird species
and explaining that the Walvis Bay Lagoon is a Ramsar site that is
internationally acclaimed for its wealth of wetland birds, punctuated
with colourful snippets of local humour.
Oupa becomes the star attraction Levo
Tours was founded in 1990 by Ottmar and Merrilyn Leip-pert when Ottmar,
Francois’s father-in-law, befriended an old seal they called Oupa
(grandfather) which had become entangled in a fishing net.
a period of several months, Ottmar coaxed Oupa on board, rewarding him
with fish. While he ate, Ottmar was able to cut the line from around
his neck. After much perseverance, the painstaking process came to an
end and the two remained firm friends. Francois laughs, saying that the
seal started the tours and became the star attraction, jumping onto the
boat on every trip. Other seals followed suit and now, many years
later, it is still one of the highlights of the boat cruises.
advice given to Ottmar was, “Do the tours for the love of the animals;
the money will come on its own.” After Ottmar’s death in 2004, his wife
Merrilyn took over, eventually handing over the reigns to Francois and
her daughter Cathy. Francois has kept the boats small, still offering
Levo’s intimate experience of the bay.
After the guests have a
chance to lie on the bow of the boat with heads down to catch glimpses
of the dolphins darting from side to side, the boat returns to calmer
waters with views of the sea and desert dunes. Plates of snacks are
laid out, champagne is served and Francois opens fresh Walvis Bay
oysters, topping the ocean experience with their fresh sea taste.
the boat returns to the harbour, a seal visitor jumps on board to
continue the tradition, remaining there for a few pilchards, pats and
photographs before flopping back into the water. The pelicans return to
see if they’ve missed any titbits and then waddle ashore to entertain
guests as they enjoy a cup of coffee, use the ablution facilities and
chat excitedly, bubbling over with the morning’s journey. (RS)
Tours is based at the Walvis Bay Tourism Centre in Union Street. The
company also offers beach and boat-fishing excursions, and Topnaar and
Sandwich Harbour Combos in conjunction with Photo Ventures.
Tel (+264 64) 20 7555 www.levotours.com firstname.lastname@example.org