Skeleton Coast


Ghostly skeletons of shipwrecks dotting the desert giving refuge to the little animals of the hot sand,  Cape fur seal colonies and sharks coming close to shore, encounters with the Himba people, the Desert elephants and elusive desert lion, overcoming solitude by utilising unique photographic opportunities is just a few of the life defining moments that you will experience on this terrifying yet awe inspiring coastline. This 2 million-hectare park is one of the most inhospitable and least visited places on earth and is divided into two sections, northern and southern.

Whilst 4-wheel drives risk entering the southern part of the park but they never venture past the skull and crossbones sign at the Ugab River Gate, for fear of getting stuck in the soft sand and running out of fresh water. Hummock dunes, transverse dunes and crescent dunes roar when the winds pick up. Millions of tiny granules slide down the steep surface causing the terrifying sound. Such is the extraordinary geology of this area, that some beaches contain a profusion of multi-coloured pebbles consisting of agates, lava, granites and others. Untouched and virgin, the mysterious barren beauty swept by the cold sea breeze and often enveloped in a dense fog make this an ethereal yet awe inspiring adventure.

Nobody can live on this inhospitable coast, but further inland on the peripheries of the true desert, the nomadic Himba tribe ekes out an existence. Clad only in goatskins and jewelry fashioned from leather, metal and shells, the Himba are amongst the most beautiful people in Sub-Saharan Africa. They posses an innate elegance and proud bearing that westerners find difficult to emulate.

Desert elephants have been seen in the interior of the Skeleton Coast Park. Where riverine bush springs forth from the sands springbok, giraffe, brown hyena, ostrich, rare black rhino and even lion are found. The Cape Frio seal colony contains several thousand Cape fur seals, and whales and dolphins swim this coast on their way to and from breeding grounds.

October to May sees blue skies with cool to warm rather than hot temperatures and is the summer for the region. In May to September the coast becomes shrouded in mist from mid afternoon to mid morning and a strong westerly wind blows. It never drops below freezing at the coast but inland it cools down very fast in the afternoon and as night falls it can become very cold. In lieu of rain, the sea mist gives moisture to plant and animal life. If rain comes it will be during the summer months.

Facts

  • Morning and evening temperatures can be cool or very cold so take appropriate clothing
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