One of the finest and most unusual coastal wildernesses in the world, the Skeleton Coast stretches between Swakopmund in the south to the mouth of the Kunene River. The swirling fogs and strong currents of the Atlantic coastline have long been a hazard to shipping but food for imagination to the creative.
The Portuguese sailors referred to this place as "The Gates of Hell", while Bushmen of the Namibian interior called the region "The Land God Made in Anger".
Author John Henry Marsh wrote a book on the shipwreck of the Dunedin Star and named it "The Skeleton Coast", this book was published in 1944. The book book became a best seller and was so popular that the name Skeleton Coast became official.
This coast is home to more then a 1000 shipwrecks and is lined with whale and seal skeletons from the former whaling industry.
Explore the mysterious inland areas of Skeleton Coast Park, Damaraland and Kaokoland with the opportunity to spot desert dwelling elephant, giraffe, rhino, oryx and even lion amongst many other animals.
Explore the ancient Ugab and Huab riverbeds, walk on the gravel plains and stop off at shipwrecks en-route.
Enjoy the once in a life time opportunity to fly over the magnificent Skeleton Coast revealing the magnitude of the coastline and the many shipwrecks and animal bones that litter the sands and the scenic beauty of Namib desert.
Skeleton Coast is not about the obvious, it is about the unique ability to survive the most arid conditions. Ghost crabs, seals, jackal, terns, lizards, insects, desert-adapted elephants, oryx and birds are to name a few.
Black-backed jackals lick humidity from stones.
Desert beetles channel droplets along their backs and into their mouths.
Tok-tokkie beetles pair up, then climb on top of one another, taking it in turns to provide shade.
Spotting a desert-adapted elephant is an opportunity not to be missed.
The Himba are the country’s last nomadic herders who still live in mud huts. Their skins shine a earthy copper from the ocher and butter mix they use to protect themselves from the sun’s harsh rays. The are believed to be originally from East Africa, but they have been in this coast for centuries now.
Hairstyles and jewelry play a important role among the Himba as it signifies age and social status within their community. They are also accustomed to use wood ash for hair cleansing due to water scarcity.
The Skeleton Coast experiences heavy fog and a desert climate tempered by cold sea breezes. Early mornings tend to be very misty, but this often clears by mid-morning. Aside from the fog, it is mostly sunny.
Dry season - May to October - Winter
This is the coolest time of the year with almost no rainfall. These winter months experience heavy fog and strong westerly winds, coming off the ocean and cooling things down.
Wet season - November to April - Summer
The Wet season falls in the warmer summer months. The fog and cold sea winds prevent searing conditions. Without the wind and fog, temperatures peak well above average. Although this is the wet season, rainfall is very low. Early mornings are warmer with temperatures ranging up to about 17°C/63°F.
Only about 800 travelers are allowed to visit the northern area of the park each year through safari tours, and only the persistent get lucky.
The Skeleton Coast NP is located 200km/124mi from the town of Swakopmund and 485km/300mi from Windhoek. Most organized tours and self-drive visitors start their journey via 4x4 in Windhoek. Hosea Kutako International Airport (WDH) is located just 40km/25mi east of Windhoek.