Once upon a time, it referred to Namibia’s entire coastline. The term ‘Skeleton Coast’ now only refers to the stretch that is situated within the Skeleton Cost National Park. The park extends for and protects over 500km of shoreline from the Ugab River in the south to the Kunene River in the north.
The park’s ominous name has its origins in the spice trade routes of old where wary sailors passed along Namibia’s desolate coastline on their way to and from India. Hindered by blinding sea fog prevalent off the coast, many ships met an unsightly end giving rise to a ship graveyard of sorts littered along the shore and favoured by photographers and nature-lovers alike. Scenic flights are also popular in the area, giving visitors a bird’s eye view of the maritime cemetery below.
The oceans are seasonal playgrounds for whales, seals and sea lions while further inland the riverbeds are populated by lion, giraffe, springbok, rhino and baboon. The vast and contrasting topography of the land ranges from towering dunes, ancient Welwitschia plants, desert, lichen fields, flowering stones otherwise known as lithops and the clay hills dotted along the Hoarusib River. The accommodation options in the area are campsites, lodges and bungalows.
- Skeleton Coast National Park protects one-third of Namibia’s coastline
- Fascinating marine life through to rare and endemic desert adapted wildlife make this park their home
- Excellent fishing off this coast, particularly practised at Torra Bay
- Coastal shipwrecks are best seen on a fly-in safari or scenic flight over the area
- Limited accommodation options making this a truly adventurous destination
- Varied landscapes from pounding seas to mirage-like salt pans, dunes, canyons and mountain ranges all in one magnificent park