Facing out to the southern Atlantic, Namibia’s Skeleton Coast park was once an area to be avoided. The treacherous seas around here often led to shipwrecks and the brutally stark desert ashore meant survivors often had no chance of rescue. However the area is now much more hospitable to visitors wishing to experience its otherworldly beauty.

The main town in the area is Swakopmund. Built by German settlers, the town is a strange mix of European style timbered buildings with a distinctly African vibe. This is a great place to hang out and pick up supplies or a guide for your trip along the Skeleton Coast. The town also has an informative museum giving a good insight in to the history of the area from the original African people, through the colonial era and on to the modern day.

In the coastal park itself, look out for the many shipwrecks that line the shore. The shifting dunes often gather around these ships, giving the impression they are sailing on a sea of sand. Despite being a desert, there’s also a surprising amount of wildlife. Jackals, ostriches and hyena can all be spotted, as well as elephants, rhinos, lions and giraffe who travel in and out of the area along the river beds. There’s also an enormous colony of seals at Cape Cross. You’ll smell them before you see them!

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Read more on Skeleton Coast below with flight options, current weather, maps, and activities to try while you are there.

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