The skeletal coast is known for being an area that is not particularly hospitable and welcoming. This is due to the fact that the desert stretches for tens of kilometers, and the sea is difficult to approach as a result of the strong waves caused by the Benguela current. Because of this, the coast was named by the bushmen as ‘the land that God made in anger’ and named by the Portuguese ‘the sands of hell’ (as Areais do Iferno). Its present name originates from the countless wrecks stranded along the coast.
However, for those who want to get off the beaten track, the Skeleton Coast is the most remote part of Namibia, with only a few visitors that allow you to experience some of Namibia’s most dramatic landscapes. For you to be among the few visitors that will be given access to the Skeleton Coast, you have to obtain special permits in advance and can go into the natural park only on well-equipped 4×4 vehicles.
A visit to the Swakopmund and the Skeleton Coast provides the opportunity to explore Namibia’s most fascinating coastlines. It also offers various activities and adventures to try out in order for your experience to be unforgettable. Exploring the Skeleton Coast with a 4×4 and Light Aircraft is surely one of the best activities to try out at Skeleton Coast in Namibia.
Under this activity, there are numerous available options to choose from. You can choose to travel with a 4×4 vehicle to explore the southern area of the park, but you can only travel as far as Terrace Bay. You can visit the shipwrecks, ancient river canyons, salt pans, clay castles, roaring dunes, as well as rock engravings. During this trip, a variety of species in the Namib Desert, such as animals, birds, and marine creatures, can be seen.
An exclusive fly-in exclusion will have to be taken for those who might want to get to the remote Northern Interior. It combines aspects from the southern and northern sections of Skeleton Coast Park.
You can also explore the ancient Ugab and Huab riverbeds by walking carefully on the gravel plains and stopping off at the shipwrecks route. Animals that may be seen in the Skeleton Coast, Namibia, include many coastal bird species, Black-Backed Jackal, Cape Fur Seals, and Brown Hyena. The driving distances are vast, so if you intend to leave the park before sunset, then day trips should be properly planned.
You can also fly over the ship graveyard on the skeletal coast of Namibia. Flying over the magnificent skeletal coast unveils the magnitude of the coastline and the many shipwrecks and animal bones littering the sands. For years, this Atlantic coast has been subject to violent storms and thick fogs, causing a nightmare for passing ships over the years. Many survivors from a wreck are claimed to have been killed by the razor-sharp rocks and rough surf of the Skeleton Coast.
Tourist Attractions in Skeleton Coast
Skeleton Coast is a remote and rugged region of Namibia, known for its stunning landscapes and unique wildlife. Some of the top tourist attractions in Skeleton Coast include:
Surfing along the coast
The Skeleton Coast is well renowned for its rough and unforgiving environment; nonetheless, it is also a favorite destination for surfers who are searching for a one-of-a-kind and difficult surfing experience. Swells may measure anywhere from two to six meters in height along the coastline, making for potentially dangerous and unpredictably large waves. The wind may also be an issue, as it can cause the water to become choppy and generate currents that are challenging to navigate.
There are a few things that you should bear in mind if you are planning a surfing vacation along the Skeleton Coast in South Africa. To begin, there aren’t many conveniences or services in this part of the world due to the region’s extreme isolation. You will be responsible for bringing all of your own supplies and equipment, including food, water, and camping gear.
Second, the climate around the shore is prone to erratic and severe swings in temperature and precipitation. Temperatures may fluctuate from very high to extremely low in this region, and the region is prone to both fog and strong winds. Pack your belongings such that they can withstand any kind of weather that may occur.
Cape Cross seal colony
Along the Skeleton Coast in Namibia is where you’ll find one of the most popular tourist destinations: the Cape Cross seal colony. With a population of over 250,000 seals, it is home to one of the biggest colonies of Cape fur seals that can be found anywhere in the world.
It is possible to drive yourself or take a guided trip to the colony, which is situated around 120 kilometers north of the town of Swakopmund. Visitors may see the seals from a dedicated boardwalk that runs down the shore. This boardwalk offers wonderful views of the seals as they lounge in the sun, interact with each other, and play in the surf.
In addition to the seals, guests will also have the opportunity to investigate the neighboring Cape Cross Lodge, which has a gift store, a café, and lodgings for guests. The lodge is situated within walking distance of the seal colony and offers a cozy home base from which to explore the surrounding region.
In the southern part of Namibia, only a few kilometers inland from the shore is where you’ll find the abandoned village of Kolmanskop. It was once a bustling diamond mining town with a population of several thousand people, but now it is deserted, and the neighboring desert is slowly reclaiming it piece by piece.
The eerie abandoned houses and alleyways of Kolmanskop may be explored by tourists that come to the village. Several of the structures in the town are partly buried in sand dunes. Visitors will be able to witness the vestiges of the town’s previous affluence, including stately residences, a theater, and a bowling alley. The town’s old hospital, power plant, and other facilities still survive today.
One of the most well-liked things to do in Kolmanskop is to take a tour of the town’s historic diamond mine, which is also one of the city’s most frequented attractions. Guests get the opportunity to descend inside the mine and see the tools and machines that were used in the process of removing diamonds from the sand.
Near vertical descent down massive sand dunes
Going dune boarding or sandboarding down these enormous dunes is one of the most popular things to do among tourists who are searching for an activity that will provide them with a rush of adrenaline and a sense of accomplishment. Sandboarding and dune boarding are two similar activities that entail sliding down sand dunes on specially prepared boards or sleds.
Visitors visiting the Skeleton Coast will be required to hire a guide or sign up for a tour in order to participate in sandboarding or dune boarding activities. In most cases, the guides will offer all of the essential equipment, including boards, helmets, and other safety gear. In addition to that, they will train and direct you on how to negotiate the dunes in a secure and safe manner.
Graveyard of ships
The dangerous circumstances that have resulted in a significant number of shipwrecks throughout the course of history have earned the Skeleton Coast in Namibia the nickname “Graveyard of Ships.” When the warm air from the desert meets the cold air from the Benguela Current in the south, the result is dense fog and high winds, which have been the cause of a significant number of navigational mistakes and accidents.
The shoreline is covered with the wreckage of hundreds of ships, the smallest of which are fishing boats and the largest of which are cargo ships. The Eduard Bohlen, a German freight ship that sunk in 1909 after running aground, and the Zeila, a diamond mining vessel that went down in 2008, are two of the most famous wrecks. Both of these ships were lost at sea.
Visitors to the Skeleton Coast may examine the rusted hulks of the shipwrecks and get knowledge about the history of the surrounding area. This has made the shipwrecks a famous tourist destination in the region. Some of the wrecks may be reached from the beach without difficulty, while others can only be reached by boat or a vehicle with four-wheel drive.
Around the Skeleton Coast, yellowtail, kob, galjoen, and steenbras are some of the most common and sought-after types of fish to capture. Anglers have the option of fishing from the beach or from a boat, depending on which method they prefer and where the fish are located.
Tourists who are interested in fishing along the Skeleton Coast have the option of hiring a local guide or reserving a space on a fishing charter to take them to the most productive fishing areas along the coast. The fishing rods, reels, and bait are all going to be provided by the guides for you to use throughout your excursion.
Ugab River Trail hiking
Hikers may go across the Skeleton Coast via the Ugab River Trail, which is a route that parallels the river as it flows through the area. Since hikers will need to negotiate high cliffs, rocky riverbeds, and changing sand dunes, this walk is difficult and needs strong physical conditions and a spirit of adventure. Hikers get the opportunity to witness a variety of animals in their native habitats while also taking in spectacular vistas of the desert terrain. Due to the isolated location of the region and the unpredictability of the weather, hiking the path is something that is best done as part of a guided trip.
Hoanib Valley Camp
The Hoanib Valley in Namibia is home to the opulent and secluded Hoanib Valley Camp, which operates as a safari lodge. The camp may be found on the banks of a dry riverbed and is encircled on all sides by high mountains and expansive desert plains. It is a wilderness region that is home to a wide variety of animals, some of which are able to survive in desert environments, such as elephants, giraffes, lions, and hyenas.
The campsite has a total of six guest tents, each of which comes equipped with a private bathroom, a private balcony, and breathtaking vistas of the natural scenery in the area. To reduce the amount of damage that the camp does to the surrounding ecology, the tents have been made to seem like they belong in the natural setting, and they are powered by solar energy.
At Hoanib Valley Camp, guests have the opportunity to participate in various activities, such as guided animal safaris, nature walks, and stargazing. The experienced guides at the camp are well-versed in flora and fauna of the region and are able to provide insights into the one-of-a-kind ecology of the desert. The camp also provides guests with a selection of gourmet dining experiences. Meals are cooked using items gathered from the surrounding area and served in a number of breathtaking settings, such as the main tent of the camp or a nearby dry riverbed.
Locations ideal for photography
The shipwrecks along the Skeleton Coast are well-known and make for interesting picture subjects because of their abundance. The Eduard Bohlen, the Dunedin Star, and the Zeila are three of the shipwrecks that are most often photographed by divers. The coastline is home to a variety of seal colonies, each of which presents a unique challenge and opportunity for photographers interested in animals. There are hundreds of seals that congregate on the beach at Cape Cross, making it the most populous colony in the region.
Last but not least, the Skeleton Coast is encircled by enormous sand dunes, which provide photographers with a breathtaking setting for their subjects. The tall dunes cast dramatic shadows and patterns in the changing light, which contribute to the overall effect.
Seeing many species of birds near Sandwich Harbour
Flamingos, pelicans, cormorants, and terns are just a few of the more prevalent types of birds that may be seen at Sandwich Harbour. The mudflats and lagoons in the region provide essential feeding and nesting areas for these species, and they also give some of the best options for wildlife photography and observing birds.
Visitors to Sandwich Harbour have the option of exploring the surrounding region on foot or by 4×4 vehicle, and local tour companies also provide guided excursions of the area. It is also feasible to take a boat excursion during the summer months in order to explore the lagoons and have a closer look at the local birds.
Desert Elephant Safari
A desert elephant safari is a one-of-a-kind wildlife adventure in which tourists get the opportunity to see herds of elephants that have evolved to survive in the dry, arid conditions of Namibia. These elephants have longer legs and smaller bodies than their counterparts who live in the savannah because their bodies have been specifically modified to thrive in the harsh climate of the desert.
In most cases, a desert elephant safari would consist of driving through uninhabited regions of the desert in a 4×4 vehicle while being followed by an experienced guide who is able to give information on the local fauna and habitat. The elephants may be seen by visitors from a safe distance, allowing them to witness the animals as they interact with their herds and search for food.
Visitors may paddle across the placid waters and get an up-close look at the shoreline while on a kayaking trip. Along the way, they can take in the breathtaking vistas and unique creatures that call this region home. On a kayaking excursion, you may have the opportunity to witness a variety of bird species, as well as marine mammals like seals and dolphins.
Kayaking trips are often guided by knowledgeable instructors who are able to give safety advice in addition to information on the local fauna and habitat. Depending on the itinerary and the preferences of the people who are going on the tour, the length of time that it takes might range anywhere from a few hours to a whole day.
Skeleton Coast National Park
Skeleton Coast National Park is a protected region that runs along the coast of northern Namibia and is part of the Skeleton Coast World Heritage Site. The park is well-known for its rough and isolated scenery that it has, which consists of rocky outcrops, broad beaches, and sand dunes.
The park is home to a wide range of animals, some of which have evolved to live in the desert, such as elephants, lions, and hyenas, in addition to countless kinds of birds. Visitors to the park have the option of exploring the surrounding region on foot, in a 4×4 vehicle, or on a guided tour, during which they may take in the breathtaking landscape and learn about the native fauna.
Shipwrecks and deserted mining villages are only two examples of the many historical and cultural monuments that may be found within the boundaries of the Skeleton Coast National Park. These locations give tourists one-of-a-kind cultural and photographic possibilities, as well as a fascinating look into the history of the surrounding area.
Skeleton Coast Marine Park
The park protects a diverse array of marine ecosystems, including coastal marshes, rocky coasts, and offshore islands, among other features. The park is home to various marine life, such as seals, dolphins, whales, and a great variety of bird species. Visitors to the park have the opportunity to explore the surrounding region by going on guided boat excursions or paddling about in kayaks, all while keeping an eye out for the native flora and fauna and soaking in the breathtaking cliffside landscape.
Visitors to the Skeleton Coast have the opportunity to explore the salt pans in a variety of ways, including on foot or by using a 4×4 vehicle. While there, they can take in the stark beauty of the arid landscape and observe the unique plant and animal life that thrives in harsh conditions. In addition, the salt pans are a well-known location for wildlife photographers, who go there to take pictures of the striking contrasts that can be seen between the white salt and the blue sky.
Travelers may find that spending time in the Himba settlements along the Skeleton Coast is an enlightening experience since it provides a window into a way of life that is very unlike that of Western societies. The inhabitants of the villages generally participate in subsistence farming and herding activities, and the typical dwellings in the villages are traditional huts fashioned from mud and straw.
It is imperative that visitors understand that the Himba villages are not tourist attractions, and they should always show respect for the community’s right to privacy as well as its traditions. Visitors should always take the required safety measures and think about hiring a local guide when exploring the Skeleton Coast since the environment may be difficult to manage at times. This is something that should be noted.
Q: Where is Skeleton Coast located?
A: Skeleton Coast is located in Namibia, on the west coast of Africa.
Q: Why is it called the Skeleton Coast?
A: The Skeleton Coast got its name from the numerous whale and seal bones that littered its beaches, which were remnants of the whaling and seal hunting industries that once thrived in the area. Additionally, shipwrecks and the skeletal remains of marine animals also contributed to the name.
Q: Is it safe to visit Skeleton Coast?
A: Visiting Skeleton Coast can be dangerous and challenging, and it’s recommended to travel with a reputable tour company. The area is remote, with limited access to supplies and medical facilities, and the harsh desert environment can be unforgiving. However, with the proper precautions and guidance, it can be an unforgettable experience.
Q: What is there to see and do in Skeleton Coast?
A: There are many things to see and do in Skeleton Coast, including exploring the rugged and beautiful coastline, visiting the seal colonies, admiring the unique desert-adapted wildlife, and learning about the history of the area at the shipwreck sites and old diamond mines.
Q: What kind of wildlife can be found in Skeleton Coast?
A: Skeleton Coast is home to a variety of unique wildlife that has adapted to the harsh desert environment, including desert-adapted elephants, lions, hyenas, and giraffes, as well as a variety of bird species such as flamingos and pelicans.
Q: How do I get to Skeleton Coast?
A: Skeleton Coast is a remote and isolated area, and the best way to get there is by joining a guided tour or self-driving in a 4×4 vehicle. The closest major city to Skeleton Coast is Swakopmund, which has an airport and can be reached by road from Windhoek, the capital of Namibia.
Q: What is the best time to visit Skeleton Coast?
A: The best time to visit Skeleton Coast is during the cooler and drier months from May to September, when the weather is mild and the wildlife is more easily spotted. However, some tour operators also offer trips during the summer months from October to April, although the temperatures can be hot and the conditions more challenging.