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The Best 7 Reasons To Visit Skeleton Coast Park In Namibia

The best 7 reasons to visit Skeleton Coast include; Unique landscape and haunting beauty, wildlife, rich history, red women, seal colonies and shipwrecks.

What it's like to explore pristine Skeleton Coast of Namibia | CNNIONA SKELETON COAST Africa's newest Transfrontier Park - Issuu

Skeleton Coast also known as Donkey bay is located in  the northern part of the Atlantic coast along the Shoreline of north west Namibia and  stretches to the south of Angola from Kunene river in the south of Swakop river(Swakopmund). It covers an area of 6504 square miles  and it is also one of the most inaccessible shores and shipwrecks are scattered across  the entire area, there are over 1000 remains of wrecked shipping vessels scattered along the coast, The upwelling of the cold Benguela current gives rise to the dense ocean fogs also known as Cassimbo and the winds that blow from the land to the sea exceed 10 mm on a annual basis.

The Skeleton Coast is divided into two parts which are the southern and the northern part, The Southern part starts from Ugab river and stretches up to Torra bay and it is freely accessible but at its entrance gate which is at Springbockwater and Ugabmund a permit is needed so as to be granted entrance. The northern part which is from Torra bay and stretches to Kunene the Angolan boarder and it can not be accessed anyhow thus it can only be reached through a tour operator who holds the required qualifications to access it. It is the most attractive area in Skeleton Coast.

The San  people (The Bushmen) of the Namibian region named it the ”The Land God made in anger ” while the Portuguese sailors once referred to it as ”The Gates of Hell”, It was later named Skeleton coast because of the whale bones and the thousands of broken ships which litter the beaches and many soldiers lost their lives on the coast

The best 7 reasons to visit Skeleton Coast include;


1. Unique Landscape And Haunting Beauty Of  Skeleton Coast

The Skeleton Coast boasts a surreal landscape defined by its haunting beauty making it one of the best 5 reasons to visit the skeleton coast . The juxta position of the harsh desert meeting the tumultuous Atlantic Ocean creates an otherworldly atmosphere. Towering sand dunes, rugged cliffs, and shipwrecks scattered along the shoreline offer a mesmerizing, albeit eerie, visual spectacle. For instance, the iconic sight of rusting ship remains juxtaposed against the vast expanse of sand exemplifies the unique allure of this coastal stretch.

Moreover, the enigmatic charm of the Skeleton Coast lies in its dynamic and ever-changing scenery. The shifting sands sculpted by the wind into intricate patterns create a canvas of perpetual transformation. The interplay of light and shadow as the sun sets or rises paints the landscape in ethereal hues, casting a spellbinding aura across the dunes and cliffs. At certain times, fog blankets the coast, shrouding the remnants of shipwrecks and landforms, adding a mysterious and almost ethereal quality to the already haunting panorama.

The landscape at skeleton coast park has one of the most starkly landscapes in the all of Africa and it has a desert landscape which is mostly dominated by desert dunes which are along the coast, ragged canyons with colored volcanic rocks, the landscape also has a number of plants  also thrive and survive on the moisture from heavy morning and afternoon fog in the area and this increases on the beauty of the park and the most fascinating plants are the lichen which can be found growing on the rocks on the gravel plains parallel to the sea and other plants include dollar bush, the occasional ganna, wind swept acacia trees and brakspekbos.

This constant interplay of natural elements renders each visit to the Skeleton Coast a unique and entrancing experience, where nature’s artistry takes center stage amidst an untamed and hauntingly beautiful setting.


2. Abundant Wildlife And Adaptations At Skeleton Coast

Surprisingly, the seemingly desolate Skeleton Coast National Park houses a greater number of wild animals than many parks in south African region, It has both large and small animals but the large animals usually congregate around the waterholes and river beds and they include the famous desert elephants, Desert-adopted lions, Steenbok, scrub hare, black-backed jackals, Zebras, brown hyenas, giraffe,  gemsbok(oryx), Springbok among many others and this is one of the best 8 reasons to visit skeleton coast park.

Cape fur seals, seabird colonies, and desert-adapted animals like the oryx inhabit this region. These birds utilize the coast’s cliffs and rocky outcrops as nesting sites, adding to the vibrant ecosystem of the area. The presence of desert-adapted species like the oryx further exemplifies nature’s resilience. Observing these resilient creatures surviving in such harsh conditions showcases nature’s adaptability.

Skeleton Coast Park - Visit Namibia

Exploring the Skeleton Coast’s diverse wildlife offers visitors a unique opportunity to witness how various species have not only adapted but also thrived in an environment often perceived as inhospitable. It underscores the importance of preserving these ecosystems and appreciating the intricate web of life that endures and flourishes in this seemingly challenging habitat. Observing the interactions between these resilient creatures and their surroundings adds an enriching dimension to the visitor’s experience along the Skeleton Coast.

What it's like to explore pristine Skeleton Coast of Namibia | CNN


3. Rich History And Maritime Mysteries Of  Skeleton Coast

One of the best 7 reasons to visit Skeleton Coast is the coast’s name which stems from its maritime history of shipwrecks and the scattered skeletons of whales and seals. Exploring the remnants of these shipwrecks and the tales of lost vessels adds a fascinating historical dimension to the visit. One famous example is the Zeila shipwreck, a German vessel grounded in 2008, now a visual testament to the region’s maritime challenges.

The presence of such wrecks, each with its own story and place in maritime history, adds a captivating layer of intrigue and historical significance to the Skeleton Coast.

Visiting the Skeleton Coast presents an exceptional opportunity to delve into maritime history, exploring the narratives of these shipwrecks and understanding the trials faced by seafarers navigating this formidable coastline. It offers a unique perspective on the maritime challenges of the past and reinforces the allure of this destination for history enthusiasts and those intrigued by the mysteries shrouded within the Skeleton Coast’s maritime legacy.

Skeleton Coast National Park - Wikipedia

4. The Red Women At Skeleton Coast

These women who are called the Himba have lived in the desert for countless generations living near Kunene river, they are a distinctive skin and hair color which is red and they were originally nomads who mostly relied on their traditions but because of the changing patterns of the world they also changed their life style and now some of them are working in accommodation camps such as Serra cafema where they enlight the international visitors of the coast about their Himba culture and this makes other people to also get a glimpse into their culture and this making it number one in the best 5 reason to visit skeleton coast park according to me.

The Himba: Namibia's iconic red women | CNN The Himba are an indigenous ethnic group who live mostly in northern Namibia’s Kunene Region and Kaokoland. They are also seen in lower quantities in Angola. The Himba are noted for their unique look, traditional culture, and semi-nomadic pastoral lifestyle.

Here are some significant elements of Himba culture:

Appearance: The Himba are known for their ornate hairstyles, which are frequently embellished with jewels, shells, and complex braids. They also apply a mixture of red ochre, butterfat, and herbs to their skin, giving it a reddish tint and protecting it from the sun.

Livelihood: The Himba have traditionally been semi-nomadic herders who subsist on cattle, goats, and sheep. Livestock is vital to their economy and social system, giving food, status, and riches.

Social Structure: The Himba live in extended family groups with strong familial ties and make community decisions. They follow a patriarchal social system, with men primarily in charge of herding and women managing the household and children.


5.  Seal Colonies At Skeleton Coast

The Cape Cross Seal Reserve, home to a large seal colony. They are found almost everywhere at skeleton coast however the largest population is found cape cross which is the headland in south Atlantic where the cost is and in this place around 210000 cape fur seals can be seen which is an incredible sight to behold, This is the breeding place of cape fur seals which are species of sea lions, There are 24 seal colonies with 650000 seals but about 100000 seals are habituated at cape cross.

The Top 5 Reasons you Should Visit the Skeleton Coast


6. Shipwrecks At Skeleton Coast

Referred to as the worlds largest ship graveyard  the Skeleton coast because of the strong and unpredictable Benguela current several ships where met with a terrible fate and over 1000 remains of wrecked shipping vessels are scattered along the coast.

What it's like to explore pristine Skeleton Coast of Namibia | CNN

The ships which are scattered along skeleton coast park include; Gertrud Woermann 2  which was a passenger / cargo ship disappeared under the water during a heavy storm, Eduard Bohlen which was a 2272 ton German passenger/ cargo ship lost its way in 1909 because the sea was covered in thick fog and this is one of the most photographed shipwrecks in Namibia, The Otavi, The duned in star, The SS sir Charles Elliot, Vipava, the Ziela , The chamarel and the natal coast are some of the wrecked ships found on Skeleton coast national park and this is one of the best 8 reasons to visit skeleton coast park.


7. Adventure And Exploration Opportunities At Skeleton Coast

For adventure enthusiasts and explorers, the Skeleton Coast offers a playground of thrilling activities. From guided tours exploring the desolate yet captivating landscapes to adventurous fly-in safaris and scenic flights providing aerial views of the coastline’s majesty, there’s no shortage of exciting experiences.
Additionally, camping in designated areas allows for an immersive and unforgettable night under the starlit desert sky. The sound of the Ocean, and the star filled  skies create a memorable and adventurous camping experience.

One of the most exhilarating adventure activities the Skeleton Coast offers is sandboarding on the towering dunes. These colossal sand formations, shaped by the winds off the Atlantic, provide an epic playground for thrill-seekers. Visitors can strap on sandboard and descend the steep slopes, experiencing an adrenaline rush while surrounded by the stunning desert panorama.

The juxtaposition of the vast, arid landscape against the thrill of speeding down the dunes creates a memorable adventure for those seeking a perfect blend of excitement and natural beauty. sandboarding becomes a unique way to interact with the dynamic environment, leaving travelers with a sense of accomplishment and a story to tell of conquering the dunes of the Skeleton Coast.


Other interesting places to visit in Namibia


A popular coastal town located south of the Skeleton Coast, Swakopmund offers a unique blend of German colonial architecture and modern seaside charm.
Swakopmund provides a unique cultural and recreational experience, blending history with modern adventure. It serves as a gateway to both the desert and the ocean, making it a versatile destination.



Damaraland is characterized by dramatic landscapes, ancient rock formations, and unique desert-adapted wildlife. Twyfelfontein, a UNESCO World Heritage site known for its rock engravings, is a highlight in this region.This region offers a captivating blend of ancient history, unique geology, and the chance to encounter desert-adapted wildlife. It’s a haven for those seeking a more remote and offbeat adventure.


Cape Cross Seal Reserve

Cape Cross is home to one of the largest colonies of Cape fur seals, it provides a spectacle of thousands of seals along the shoreline . The sheer number of seals and the cacophony of their calls create a mesmerizing wildlife experience. It’s a must-visit for nature enthusiasts and those fascinated by marine life.


Etosha National Park

Located further inland, Etosha National Park is a premier safari destination in Namibia. The park is renowned for its vast salt pans and diverse wildlife, including elephants, lions, and rhinos, making it a must-visit for nature enthusiasts.The park offers unparalleled opportunities for safari adventures and wildlife photography. It provides a chance to witness the captivating interactions of animals in their natural habitat.



To the north of the Skeleton Coast lies Kaokoland, a remote and culturally rich region inhabited by Himba and Herero communities. The landscape is characterized by rugged mountains, desert plains, and the iconic Epupa Falls on the Kunene River.For cultural enthusiasts, Kaokoland offers an authentic encounter with indigenous communities. The dramatic scenery and the cascading Epupa Falls make it a unique and enriching destination.



Namibia’s capital city, Windhoek, is situated in the central part of the country. While not directly adjacent to the Skeleton Coast, it serves as a common starting point for many Namibian adventures. The city offers a mix of modern amenities and cultural experiences.


Sossusvlei and Namib-Naukluft National Park

Sossusvlei and the surrounding Namib-Naukluft National Park are iconic destinations with towering red sand dunes and the famous Deadvlei pan. This surreal desert landscape is a photographer’s paradise.The otherworldly beauty of the dunes and the photographic opportunities at sunrise make Sossusvlei a bucket-list destination. It’s a captivating natural wonder in the heart of the Namib Desert.


Erongo Region

East of Swakopmund, the Erongo Region is known for its granite mountains, unique rock formations, and diverse birdlife. Visitors can enjoy hiking trails, rock art sites, and the picturesque Spitzkoppe mountain.


When To Visit Skeleton Coast Park

The warm season

Skeleton coast national park can be visited through out the year however the ideal time for visiting is in the wormer months which usually start in October and end in march, in these months there is a little bit of rain which keeps the skies clear and mornings are also a little bi foggy and worm at night.

The wet season

These months normally start in around April and end in September, during these month wildlife viewing is very pro-active but it is not so advisable to visit the coast in these months because the mornings are very foggy and very cold.


How To Access Skeleton Coast

By air

Air is mostly used by international visitors who come from outside countries to visit the park. Visitors can access the park through Walvis Bay which has both domestic and international flights, it is only 33km from Swakopmund

By road

The road out of Swakopmund  towards skeleton coast park is dangerous when wet therefore 4X4  vehicles are preferred for travel and they should have sufficient spare tires and water and it is not advised to drive into the salt pans even with a 4X4 vehicle because it can stuck despite their hard and flat appearance.


Accommodation At Skeleton Coast Park

There are a number of accommodation options at skeleton coast national park where the visitors can choose to sleep and they include;

Cape cross lodge which stands on the windswept beach of Namibia’s skeleton coast and it is also very close to cape cross seal reserve, it is about an hour drive north of swakopmund  and offers an excellent ocean view.

Kunene river lodge

It is used exclusively on Skeleton coast national park occupying a very prety location whicj is the banks of river Kunene.

Shipwreck Lodge

Resembling a shipwreck Shipwreck  and offers sea view at the comfort of ones own room, the lodge prices are dynamic and vary based on booking dates.

Serra Cafema Camp

The luxurious serra cafema is in the most remote corner of Skeleton coast natinal park at the end of hartmann’s valley across the Kunene river.



Because the idea of having a glimpse on the vastness and uniqueness of Skeleton coast park in a once-in-a lifetime experience it should not be missed therefore plan a trip to the magnificent park with Kubwa five safaris which is a Uganda based tour company operating in both south African and East African countries offering the most authentic tourism services and you will never regret.