Skeleton Coast

The Skeleton Coast has a singular eco-system and is situated on Namibia’s remote western coastline. The Skeleton Coast is home to the flourishing Cape Cross seal colony which is one of the largest breeding colonies of Cape fur seals. The oceans inhabit seasonal playgrounds for whales, seals and sea lions while further inland the riverbeds are populated by lion, giraffe, springbok, rhino and baboon. The vast and contrasting topography of the land ranges from towering dunes, ancient Welwitschia plants, desert, lichen fields, flowering stones otherwise known as lithops and the clay hills dotted along the Hoarusib River.


The Coasts ominous name has its origins in the spice trade routes of old where wary sailors that passed along Namibia’s desolate coastline on their way to and from India. Blinded by the sea fog off the coast, many ships met their unforeseen end and gave rise to a ship graveyard thats littered along the sandy shores.


Namibia has declared the 16,000 square kilometres of the Skeleton Coast National Park over much of the area, from the Ugab River to the Kunene. The northern half of the park is a designated wilderness area. Notable features are the clay castles of the Hoarisib, the Agate Mountain salt pans and the large seal colony at Cape Fria. The remainder of the coast is the National West Coast Recreation Area.
The coast has been the subject of a number of wildlife documentaries, particularly concerning adaptations to extreme aridity.

Many of the plant and insect species of the sand dune systems depend on the thick sea fogs which engulf the coast for their moisture and windblown detritus from the interior as food. The desert bird assemblages have been studied in terms of their thermoregulation, coloration, breeding strategies and nomadism.

The riverbeds further inland are home to baboons, giraffes, lions, black rhinoceros and springbok. The animals get most of their water from wells dug by the baboons or elephants