The fog and cold winds are caused by the frigid Benguela current from Antarctica. The landscape in the park is the most otherworldly in all of Namibia: a pale, dead flat coastline interrupted by scattered rocky outcrops and lined with arc-shaped barchan dunes. Unlike the star dunes near Sossusvlei in Namib-Naukluft National Park, barchan dunes are unstable and mobile, with two horns facing downwind, the direction in which they move.
There are only a couple of exclusive lodges in the huge 16 400km² Skeleton Coast National Park, but they afford the intrepid safari traveller a safe and comfortable base from which to experience this extraordinary destination. A Skeleton Coast safari usually means flying into the area and your accommodation but once you've arrived, you'll be exploring the coastline and its hinterland - dunes, ephemeral river valleys and patches of woodland - by 4X4 and on foot.
The name Skeleton Coast derived most probably from the huge numbers of stranded whales that lost their life here and whose skeletons could be seen all over the place. The Ovahimba who are settling in the far north-eastern parts of Namibia used the whale bones for building their huts.
It is a humbling experience to see the cross, and imagine the hardships of those sailors exploring unknown seas and, more tragically, all those sailors that washed ashore on this inhospitable coastline, never to return.
The atmospheric beaches of Skeleton Coast National Park are unmissable. While not dangerous for you to visit, the Skeleton Coast is famed as the largest ship graveyard in the world. Many sailors have met their demise here due to the dense fogs and frequent storms that batter the coastline.
Other excursions at Skeleton Coast Camp comprise visits to the clay castles of the Hoarusib River; Rocky Point; the roaring dunes; lichen fields; Cape fur seal colonies and Himba villages. Shipwrecks, now fast being devoured by the salty and vigorous coastline, can be viewed on request.
The Skeleton Coast is the northern part of the Atlantic Ocean coast of Namibia and south of Angola from the Kunene River south to the Swakop River, although the name is sometimes used to describe the entire Namib Desert coast. The coast is normally associated with famous shipwrecks, and stories abound of sailors walking for hundreds of kilometers through this barren Namibian landscape in search of food and water. The name came from the bones that lined the beaches from whaling operations and seal hunts, but more than a few of the skeletons were human.
Some wrecks of note are the Dunedin Star (a crouching skeleton was found buried nearby) Islander, Suiderkus, Sir Charles Elliot and Kaio Maru. The Seal and Luanda can be seen near Toscanini and the Atlantic Pride lies near Torra Bay.
Dry winds blow downwards, caressing stark desert dunes before travelling to distant shores across the dramatic oceanscapes along the Skeleton Coast of Namibia. A haunting and evocative coastline, trapping stranded ocean vessels of times long past in yellow white stretches of sand reaches north into Angola and meets rivers running through, across and around spectacular rock formations and towering mountains. Together, these spaces work to support life in this desert world.
In terms of sheer pristine beauty, the Skeleton Coast has few rivals. Remnants of old shipwrecks, whale skeletons and shelters of early inhabitants and explorers who struggled to survive the inhospitable coastline are the source of the region's frightening name. Given the vulnerability, variety and importance of the landscape and the life it supports, the entire Namibian Skeleton Coast National Park is zoned as either acutely sensitive with a high conservation value or managed for conservation and controlled tourism. In its current state, the ecological importance of the park to sea creatures as a sanctuary and to wildlife as a corridor for movement in a hostile setting is critical. Uniquely, the northern section is only accessible by airplane, while the southern section is open to those with 4-wheel drive vehicles, and is accessible as far as the Ugab River gate. 2b1af7f3a8