The rugged and desolate Skeleton Coast is an area of remarkable contrasts, where the Namib Desert meets the Atlantic. Named for the rusting skeletons of numerous ships that were wrecked here, Portuguese sailors also referred to this fierce wilderness as “the gates of hell”. Hardly an enticing nickname, but this extraordinary and unusual destination remains one of the main attractions on any trip to Namibia.
The vast sands of the Skeleton Coast Park cover an area of around 16 000 square kilometres. This remote area is often covered in a blanket of coastal fog and suffers from cold sea breezes: a harsh climate that has lead to a unique ecosystem. The magnificent landscape of the Skeleton Coast ranges from towering sand dunes to deep canyons and mountain ranges, whose slopes are covered by a variety of plants that have adapted to this environment, such as the unusual elephant foot plant.
An abundance of wildlife can be found thriving in these harsh conditions, leading to a spectacular African safari experience. Animals found in the Park include gemsbok, springbok, ostrich, jackal, hyena, giraffe, lions and desert elephants. There are also huge seal colonies along the coast such as the one at Cape Frio and the sight of thousands of these creatures blanketing the vast beaches is truly awe-inspiring. Birdlife in the park is similarly incredible with huge flocks of sandpipers and other long beaked fishers to be seen, as well as short beaked waders, cormorants and Cape Gannets.
The Skeleton Coast is the perfect destination for those looking to find a sense of mystery and adventure on their trips to Africa