The Skeleton Coast Park in Namibia, is now acknowledged as one of Africa’s greatest treasures, in that it is one of the world’s last great wildernesses. Initially proclaimed in 1971, in its present form in 1973, extends from the Ugab River in the south for 500 km to the Kunene River in the north and about 40 km inland. Dense coastal fogs and cold sea breezes caused by the cold Benguela Current add atmosphere to the windswept beaches that are littered with shipwrecks, bones and other debris.
The park also contains rich lichen fields (more than 100 species have been recorded), is a sanctuary for desert- dwelling Elephants, Rhino and Lion and the Kunene River mouth is a vital wetland.
Namibia's Skeleton Coast continues to be a synonym for the horrors a sailor could face when his ship sank. Sharp rocks just underneath the water surface and thick fog during dusk and dawn along the entire coast posed a danger to ships, and when a shipwrecked crew did make it to land, they faced a belt of almost 100 km of desert, without any water or food sources and bare of any human settlement. All along the coast are the bodies of ships and there are many stories of sailors dying or only escaping the desert by accident.
Skeleton Coast National Park has its southern boundary at the Ugab river and stretches northward to the Namibian border with Angola. The further north you get the more desolate the area becomes.
The southern third of the park can be explored independently, but the area north of Terrace Bay is restricted and may only be visited with a certified tour guide that holds the relevant concession. There are two entry gates to the park, one at the southern border of the park at the Ugab River mouth and the other on the eastern border at Springbokwasser.
The Atlantic Ocean, with sandy and pebble beaches, sand dunes, ephemeral riverbeds and canyons to rugged canyons with walls of richly coloured volcanic rock and extensive mountain ranges. Vegetation Namib Desert Biome. Vegetation type: Northern Desert,Central Desert, North-Western Escarpment and Inselbergs. Lichens, dollar bush (Zygophyllum stapfii), !Narra plant (Acanthosicyos horridus), vygies (Mesembryanthemum sp) on plains. In dry riverbeds makalani palm (Hyphaene petersiana), wild tamarisk (Tamarixusneoides) and mopane trees (Colophospermum mopane).
Desert dwelling Elephant, Lion, Cheetah, Crocodile, Springbok, Hartmann zebra, Oryx, Heaviside’s dolphin, Green turtle. The 306 bird species recorded here include Greater Flamingo, Lesser Flamingo, Lappet-faced Vulture, Rüppell’s Korhaan and grey’s Lark.Tourism Photography. Game viewing. Angling. A fishing licence must be obtained before entering the Skeleton Coast Park.
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