Wordtravels

Wordtravels

Skeleton Coast National Park

A wreck on the Skeleton Coast © Verdi
A wreck on the Skeleton Coast © Verdi

Encompassing the northern part of the Namibian coastline and extending into southern Angola, Skeleton Coast National Park is known for its inaccessible shores and rough waters. The entire coastline of the Namib Desert is often called the Skeleton Coast. It was named for the hulls of wrecked ships found washed up along the shore, as well as the bleached whale and seal bones found there during the years the whaling industry was active. The local San (Bushmen) used to call the coast 'The Land God Made in Anger', and Portuguese sailors referred to it as 'The Gates of Hell'. The coastline is intimidatingly desolate, but very beautiful, and a glorious destination for photographers, particularly as the remains of shipwrecks can still be found.

The Skeleton Coast National Park has some interesting attractions, including the Agate Mountain salt pans, the clay castles of the Hoarasib, and the large Cape Fur Seal colony at Cape Fria. Skeleton Bay is known to be a great surfing destination, and the stars are stunning at night, undimmed by human settlements. A number of nature documentaries have been filmed along the coast, and the inland riverbeds are home to a variety of wildlife, including giraffe, lion, baboon, rhinoceros, springbok and elephant.