Namibia’s Skeleton Coast Park is one of the world’s most inhospitable, and yet hauntingly beautiful places. This wild, desolate and almost uninhabited area has roaring sand dunes, towering canyons, saltpans and windswept plains, and even one of the most productive fishing grounds anywhere.
Freshwater springs permeate through barren sands to create rare oases in the desert that sustain pockets of wildlife. Springbok, gemsbok (oryx), the rare desert elephant, ostrich, Cape fur seals, jackal and brown hyaena - and even cheetah on rare occasions - eke out an existence in this rugged terrain, along with the vegetation like the ancient welwitschia plant which has adapted to the harsh conditions.
The arid desert environment in the Skeleton Coast is within the northern reaches of the Namib Desert. The Benguela current brings cold waters all the way from Antarctica and helps to moderate temperatures. The cool air off the ocean meets the hotter desert air and nearly every morning, a cool mist envelops the coastline, bringing life-sustaining moisture to the desert. By about 9 or 10 in the morning the sun’s rays have burnt this mist off.
The Skeleton Coast is synonymous with shipwrecks, and the bleached skeletons of whales, and desert animals littering the sands.
This magnificently beautiful area is best visited on a fly-in safari.
photo copyright: Skeleton Coast Safaris