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Skeleton Coast

Namibia

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4/5 The huge and rather stinky seal colony
The huge and rather stinky seal colony
5/5 A different perspective on the wildlife - gemsbok from the air
A different perspective on the wildlife - gemsbok from the air

Sounding like something out of a pirate movie, the Skeleton Coast is indeed littered with the carapaces of ships that didn’t make a clean passage along this treacherous length of Africa’s Altantic coastline

Sounding like something out of a pirate movie, the Skeleton Coast is indeed littered with the carapaces of ships that didn’t make a clean passage along this treacherous length of Africa’s Altantic coastline. Half-buried under sand, gnawed by rust and wind, the sculptured hulls have somehow become an apt memorial to man’s inability to tame the elements. Indeed, it’s not only the ships that give the place its name; human skeletons of those that failed to launch their boats back into the pounding surf have also been found here to add to the bones of whales and seals from commercial whaling and the fur-trade.

Of course, we now navigate the coastal route by Land Rover or light aircraft which, fortunately, is not quite as dangerous but pretty intrepid nonetheless. Trips through the wild northern coastline of Namibia take in the unique geology of the area, the ancient lichen fields marked with wagon-wheels of former pioneers, and colonies of endearing but rather stinky Cape-fur seals that crowd the coast at intervals, preyed on by jackals and hyena.

The cold sea mists can render the area eerily quiet and lifeless and even when they lift, it can be hours and hours before you are likely to encounter another vehicle. One of the best ways to see this area, unless you are on a self-drive mission, is a Skeleton Coast Flying Safari. The birds-eye views give you a completely different and awe-inspiring perspective of the tempestuous coastline and encroaching landscape.

The Skeleton Coast is unexpectedly varied in terms of terrain and wildlife. Pale sand-dunes, salt pans, canyons and mountains are found variously along the route. Desert-adapted elephant, rhino and lion can be spotted amongst the riverbeds and there are also cheetah, giraffe, gemsbok, springbok and zebra. An odd armoured lizard that grows upto a foot long is also one of the more unusual inhabitants. Off the coast, you may be fortunate enough to spot a humpback or killer whale or perhaps a pod of dolphins.

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A few of our favourite places to stay:

Skeleton Coast Camp

This camp enjoys the privilege of knowing it is currently the

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Winging it over the desert - unbelievable colours and patterns all laid out beneath you

Skeleton Coast Flying Safari

The Skeleton Coast Safari is one of those once in a lifetime

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View other places to stay in Skeleton Coast

Can't find the place you're looking for? Just let us know and we will be sure to help.

Who to talk to

Catherine Ronan

Rumour has it that Catherine Ronan used to be a spy. We find this slightly hard to believe as she loves nothing more than to divulge her travel secrets and infect other people with her enthusiasm.

How we can help you

At Natural High, we've had long experience putting together trips in Africa that really work. Whether it's intimate bushcamps in out of the way places, or a private lodge in one of Africa's top-billing wildlife areas, light mobile camping or remote island escapes, we know there is a lot to choose from. We're absolutely confident that we can recommend the right places for you.

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