Skeleton Coast Park
The long stretch of coast north of Swakopmund. Dense fogs, mighty storms and violent surf caused many ships in the past to run aground along the Skeleton Coast, and the desolate coastline has become known as the world’s biggest ship graveyard. Those who were shipwrecked and managed to swim through the roaring surf and reach the coast, still didn’t stand a chance of survival because of the waterless, hostile, 300km wide coastal desert.
The dense coastal fogs and cold sea breeze are caused by the cold Benguela Current. Changing color-moods, untouched profile of the landscape, clay castles, the salt pans near the Agate Mountain, and the seal colony at Cape Frio, are unique scenic attractions.
Animals found are: gemsbok, springbok, jackal, ostrich and hyena, while desert-adapted elephant, Black Rhino, lion and giraffe roam the dry river courses. An enormous colony of about 100,000 fur seals, species of sea lion (arctocephalus pusillus), the largest of the world’s nine fur seals species has established itself at Cape Cross. The Portuguese seafarer, Diego Cao, in 1486, was the first European to land here and set up a Padrao (cross) in honour of the king of Portugal.
Ugab River marks the start of Namibia’s Skeleton Coast, and since 1971, it has been protected as the Skeleton Coast National Park, which stretches up to the Kunene River at the Angolan border. The southern part of this conservation area, up to the Terrace Bay, is only accessible with a permit. The northern part can only be visited with a private safari company.