The Skeleton Coast Namibia
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Considered one of the largest dry places on earth, the Skeleton Coast in Namibia houses a huge collection of animals large and small who have adapted themselves to the harsh conditions.
Its 976-mile long coastline is seen dominated by a great number of seals. But why is the coast which expands so widely and beautifully, called the Skeleton Coast?
Let’s learn about the fewer known facts about the beauty that is the Skeleton Coast.
Why the Name Skeleton Coast Namibia?
A land where the desert meets the sea, Namibia’s Skeleton Coast hides numerous stories. The coast is named the Skeleton Coast because of the numerous shipwrecks and whale carcasses littering the shore. Portuguese sailors have named it ‘The Gates of Hell‘. The dry region raises a desert wall beyond the sea, which is as high as 300 feet.
The sea water and rainfall, not more than 10 millimeters adds some moisture to the aridity. The Benguela current running close to the coast is the reason for shipwrecks. Added to that is the solid blanket of fog which raises at the coast often. The morbid conditions of the stretched desert make it difficult for anyone to survive even if they somehow survive the wreck.
Skeleton Coast Park
For over 1570 kilometers of the coastline, there’s nothing but seals and no sign of any civilization. However, a major part of this coast is a part of the Skeleton Coast National Park.
The number of visitors per year to this huge coastline is limited to just 800.
This step has been taken to ensure that the coastline is secured and protected. Divided by rivers, this national park is one of the most beautiful places to visit despite being bare and desolate.
The Surviving Fauna
The coast is full of a seal colony which extends to approximately 250,000 seals. Apart from that, the inland riverbeds house a variety of large animals like baboons, ostrich, giraffes, lions, hyenas, zebra, black rhinos, springbok and elephants.
Most of the whale carcasses littering the shores of the Skeleton Coast are because of the old whaling industry in the region.
For over 100 years, whaling companies overpowered the seas off the coasts of Namibia and were the reason for the plentiful population of Baleen Whales to be wiped out. Bones don’t decompose in the harsh weather of this area and hence the are there for years together.
Because of the emptiness which the Skeleton Coast brings with its desert and the roaring sea, the sky is as dark as it could get.
This brings in great stargazing opportunities. Various camps on various locations are set up for tourists to enjoy the beautiful nights at the coast. These camps
are accessible only through the air as they are located in remote places.
The Himba People
Along with the fauna, even humans have found their way to exist in this seemingly dismal place. Not so far from the coast, the Himba people or the ?red’ people have their civilization. They live in the Kunene region close to Angola and have been living there for generations now. They earn their living through the tourism opportunities at the coast including the stargazing camps.
They take the tourists there, finish their job and come back to their homes, their families. They prefer living in their tradition and following their culture. They are called the ?Red’ people because they apply a cosmetic mixture of butterfat and ochre pigment to protect themselves from the harsh climate.
The Roaring Dunes
This is the only desert where you can hear the sand dunes roaring. This desert, with an expanse so massively big, is capable of creating low rumbles which sound like there is a jet passing above. It is a touristy thing where you slide downhill over the dunes on your butt instead of a toboggan.
This Namibian coast experiences extreme temperature conditions. The bare sun makes it burning hot in the morning while in the evening, once the sun is down,
the temperature falls making it cold and windy. It is recommended that tourists carry clothes for both conditions.
Lost And Not Found
The humongous desert keeps changing with the wind. If you are lost, there’s no way to figure out a way to get back to where you started, unless you are lucky or can follow the direction of the wind or stars. Moreover, desert storms and the extreme heat makes it even more difficult for you to survive.
Skeleton Coast in Namibia offers many touristy things to cater to the visitors.
Despite the dangerous waters full of sharks as well as with the Benguela current running through it, there are many surfers looking forward to hitting the roaring waves with their surf boards.
Tourists also prefer to do Kite Surfing because of the unpredictable winds and currents.
4X4 Safari Rides
There are private 4×4 safari rides available for you to explore the whole area. In fact, that is the only way you can explore the northernmost part of the Skeleton Coast.
The southern area is out of bounds for visitors as it is roadless and very dangerous being devoid of anything man-made. Another way to explore this area is by air.
One of the most common thing tourists do here is climbing up on dunes and running off it with a parachute on. There are chances of you falling face forward with a mouthful of sand.
There are numerous adventure activities performed in the sand dunes like Dune Boarding which is like surf boarding in the sand. Then you could take the Quad Bike tour if you love the speed and a cloud of sand behind you.
Mule Trekking is very popular in the Namibian lands. You walk with the mules to the Fish River Canyon. It’s very thrilling with the challenges in the trek and the extraordinary scenery is beyond description.
Despite its varied presence, arid climate and stretches of struggle, the Skeleton Coast in Namibia have one of the most beautiful coastlines. Its beauty lies in its aridity, its wildlife, the Himba people, the expansive sand dunes, the roaring and dangerous sea, and the dark night sky.
It might be accredited as the harshest place on earth, but all these variants existing through the region are its very life.
The national park is incredible. There are a wide range of activities to be had. We would rate this 4.5*.