Namibia's Skeleton Coasts offers views of shipwrecks, marinelife and uninhabited wilderness. The Skeleton Coast is a sliver of desert that spans the 1,500km from the Orange River in the south to the Kunene River and Angolan Border.
Despite its macabre name - given by sailors wary of the strong winds, shifting sandbanks and rusting wrecks - the northern section of the great Namib Desert is full of life and a fascinating place for the informed visitor.
A coastal road straddles the ocean and the desert like a tightrope from Swakopmund through the Recreation Area - dotted with fishing camps - and into the Skeleton Coast Park as far as Terrace Bay.
A few roads lead inland through the multi-coloured gravel plains, shifting barchans and occasional inselbergs. Beyond Terrace Bay, the Skeleton Coast Park lies vast, brooding and impenetrable.
The colony of Cape fur seals is one of the major coastal attractions in the Skeleton Coast. Up to 300,000 seals live and breed at Cape Cross, which is where the first European feet touched Namibian soil - those of Portuguese explorer Diego Cáo.
Fishing along the coast is excellent and there are many rudimentary fishing camps in the recreation area up to the Ugab River, which marks the southern boundary of the Skeleton Coast Park. Copper and cow sharks provide the sport - on tag and release - while delicious line fish include kob, steenbras, blackfish and blacktail.
Desert-adapted flora and fauna is rife: lichens, which are actually a symbiotic relationship of fungi and algae; the fascinating welwitschia; dune-creating dollar bushes; and whole ecosystems in the linear oases along the dry rivercourses. Jackals and the rare brown hyena prey on the seals at Cape Cross and elephant and rhino traverse the eastern parts in search of food and water; kudu, gemsbok, springbok, steenbok, genet and wild cat frequent the vegetated valleys and lure the occasional predator.
The turbulent Benguela Current causes strong winds, shifting sandbanks and powerful undertows that have led to many a sailor's demise. The shipwrecks along the coast are an eerie testament to the humbling power of nature's forces - they're also quite picturesque against the stark desert-and-sea backdrop.
Our Most Popular Skeleton Coast Tours
7-day Desert, Dune & Wildlife Fly-in Safari (Fly-in)
Itinerary Type: Sample
Highlights: Etosha, Sossusvlei, Skeleton Coast, Windhoek
Our Most Popular Skeleton Coast Accommodation
Shipwreck Lodge offers pure wilderness and nothing more than endless views of rolling sand dunes and the cool Atlantic Ocean breeze to give you a true Skeleton Coast experience.
Cape Cross Lodge
Cape Cross Lodge is a small and luxurious hotel in an astonishing location. The hotel is situated on the seafront of the Skeleton Coast, just out of nose-shot of the largest seal colony in the world.
Hoanib Skeleton Coast Camp
Hoanib Skeleton Coast Camp is a luxury safari lodge and the only one of its kind in the Skeleton Coast National Park. Remote, exclusive and unique, this Wilderness Safaris Classic Camp is a stand-out asset to Namibia.
Schoemans Skeleton Coast Safari
Our expert review of Schoemans Skeleton Coast Safari has not been loaded onto our new website yet. We are working on it.
Desert Rendezvous, a luxury guesthouse just minutes from the beach. And what a beach. Welcome to the Skeleton Coast people, and the town of Henties Bay: the sport fishing Mecca of Namibia.
Terrace Bay Resort
If you are intent on getting away from everything and not bothered about creature comforts and piped entertainment, then Terrace Bay Resort will be bliss. There will be 350km between you and the nearest town along the Skeleton Coast.
Where is Skeleton Coast?
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