National Parks

Skeleton Coast National Park in Namibia

The Skeleton Coast is one of the world’s most inhospitable waterless areas that possesses an incomparable natural beauty found nowhere else in the world.

Ker & Downey® Africa > Destinations > Namibia> Parks > Skeleton Coast National Park in Namibia

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Everything you need to know about Skeleton Coast National Park

The Skeleton Coast National Park is a region shrouded in mist and mystery. The world’s largest ship cemetery derived its name from the skeletons of ghostly shipwrecks, and stranded whales and seals, that lie scattered along the coastline, having succumbed to the inhospitable conditions of the landscape’s thick fog, rough stormy seas, and unpredictable weather. It is considered to be one of the most pristine wild lands in Africa, possessing an incomparable natural beauty found nowhere else in the world. Far removed from the crowds, the Skeleton Coast National Park is a land of surreal and dazzling views.

Where is the park located?

Located in the north-western region of Namibia, the Skeleton Coast is where the Atlantic Ocean’s icy and unpredictable Benguela Current clashes ferociously with giant dunes and arid desert. The park’s coastline stretches over 500km, running from the Ugab River in the south, all the way to the Kunene River in the north of the country. 

The Skeleton Coast is divided into two parts: the northern and southern section. The latter is freely accessible (with a permit) to those in 4 wheel drive vehicles, whereas the north – from Torra Bay up to Kunene at the border of Angola – can only be reached via a tour operator and fly-in safari as the area is off-limits to all vehicles.

About the park

What type of wildlife will we see?

As stark and remote as the landscape may seem, the arid Skeleton Coast National Park is rich in biodiversity and is home to a variety of different animals, birds, marine life, and insects.

The seemingly hostile wilderness hosts over 100,000 Cape fur seals in massive colonies, as well as whales and dolphins that visit the coastline regularly, en-route to and from breeding grounds. Enormous desert-adapted elephants have found a home in the interior of the park, along with gemsbok (oryx), springbok, brown hyenas, jackals, and even lion and black rhino.

Top experiences to enjoy at Skeleton Coast National Park

The Skeleton Coast is a thrill-seekers paradise, with adrenaline-inducing adventure around every corner. 4×4 adventures are a popular activity in the southern section of the park, with some challenging routes and giant roaring dunes to manoeuvre. Sandboarding, skydiving above the desert, scenic flights, epic hikes on the Ugab River Trail, and Kunene River excursions are also action-packed fun ways to explore this remote wilderness. 

A visit to Kolmanskop is also a must. This abandoned mining settlement, just a few kilometres from the beach of the Skeleton Coast, is an eerily fascinating insight to the land’s first inhabitants, lured by the promise of diamond which littered the land. Now, the formerly bustling settlement is a sand-covered ghost town.

When to visit Skeleton Coast National Park

The Skeleton Coast is a year-round destination, but the best time to visit is during the warmer months from October to March/April when there are blue skies with moderate temperatures.

From April to September the coast becomes shrouded in mist from mid-afternoon to mid-morning with a strong westerly wind. It never drops below freezing at the coast, but further inland it can cool down very quickly as night falls.

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