With sand dunes towering a hundred meters, Namibia’s Skeleton Coast is one of the few places on earth where the ocean meets the desert. Other than shipwrecks dotted on the majestic coastline, there is nothing for many kilometers in every direction. Namibia’s Skeleton Coast is no doubt one of the world’s most hauntingly beautiful places.
Stretching 500 kilometers between the old German colonial town of Swakopmund and the Angolan border, the coast is virtually uninhabited and thoroughly untamed. The coastline takes its name from the animal bones scattered across its endless strands and the hundreds of ships that have wrecked there over the centuries. Lions, hyenas and other predators wander the shore in search of a meal.
Among the other creatures that inhabit this far shore are leopards, cheetahs and caracal cats, giraffe, gemsbok and springbok, neon-pink flamingos and hundreds of thousands of Cape fur seals. Humans are few and far between. Surfers seek the lengthy breaks and barrels, while others crave the thrill of bashing virgin dunes or the simple solitude of beachcombing a place where yours are the only footsteps in the sand.
Known for its treacherous climate, braving the foggy mornings or windy days comes with many rewards with so many amazing things to do and see.
Ghost Town of Kolmanskop
The ghost town of Kolmanskop is home to German architectural buildings drowning in sand dunes blown in by the strong wind storms that frequent this part of Namibia. With each building bearing a unique story of its own, the town can be both haunting or devastatingly beautiful – depending on how you look at it. The town is popular with photographers who are mesmerised by the desert swallowing what used to be a thriving mining settlement.
Cape Cross seal colony
The Cape Cross fur seal colony is situated in the same area where, in 1486, Portuguese explorer Diego Cao set foot on the coast of Namibia. Today, more than 200,000 Cape fur seals call the spot north of the Henties Bay fishing haven home.
Black rhinos at the Ugab River Rhino Camp
Situated outside the Skeleton Coast Park, this campsite is administered by the Save the Rhino Trust. This remote landscape is truly enigmatic, and those who’ve visited have only glowing comments. To get a higher chance of spotting a black rhino, tourists can camp out at Ugab Base Camp which is situated near Namibia’s highest mountain, The Brandberg.
Birdwatching along Sandwich Harbour
Sandwich Harbour, situated in Dorob National Park, is 56km (34.7 miles) south of Walvis Bay. Now deserted, the harbour once served as a trading and fishing port. The area is now an excellent birdwatcher’s paradise, and the Sandwich 4×4 tour company also offers half- and full-day trips as an alternative day out.