Skeleton Coast National Park Namibia

The skeleton coast National Park got its name due to the presence of whale bones, seal remains and the coastal ships that washed from the Atlantic Ocean to the coast of Namibia. It is easily accessed after one drives from Swakopmund which is not far away from the Park although you will need a 4×4 car to access the Park due to the hard terrain that is located within it. The skeleton coast National Park is divide into two that is the southern part and the Northern Part. The southern part of the skeleton coast National Park comprises of mostly the recreation area and it is closer to the Ugab River, Swakopmund and the Walvis Bay and it is the only part of the Park that is accessible whereas the Northern part of the Skeleton coast Park which covers the Torra Bay and the Kunene River near the Angolan border is not accessible and it is never open to tourists.

The Park is brutal due to its nature and some of the whale bones that are scattered across the coast are used by the Ovahimba people to construct their huts. But despite the fact that it is brutal in its own way, there are several activities that you can carry out while in the park and in the nearby areas that surround the skeleton coast National Park.

Birding in the skeleton coast national Park

Birding along the skeleton coast is done within the months of November to April when the rains set in and this is also the time when the migratory birds also fly into the country more specifically to the skeleton coast. Birding involves a lot of things and you should be able to carry a few items to make sure that your birding experience is worth it like a camera, binoculars to help you see birds that are far away and since it is a wet season, you will need to carry a few warm clothes so as to avoid feeling extremely cold and note that birding is mostly done in the morning hours.

The Park its self is not easily accessible and that is why you will need a 4×4 car to get you to Park although you will need to first confirm with the park to see if it is open because it is closed off sometimes due to the floods that cover almost half the Park. Some of the bird species that you will get to see here include the Ruppel’s bustard, Gray’s lark, Burchell’s courser, the African swamp hen, the Damara Tern, Ludwig’s bustard, the black bustard, the great white pelican, ostriches, the Egyptian goose, the black crake and many more others.

Animal viewing in the skeleton coast National Park

Despite the harsh conditions that are located within the Skeleton coast National Park there are several animals that you will get to see and even though they are not as many as those that are located within other Parks, they still offer tourists a good sight and these are best seen during a drive through around the park. The best time for one to go for game viewing here is almost throughout the whole year but do not go between the months of November and April during the wet summers because the coast tends to get some fog making it hard for one to view the animals. Some of the animals that you will find here include seals, Oryx, Kudus, Springboks, dolphins swimming in the sea, brown hyenas, zebras, leopards although they are extremely rare and some other rare species.

Explore the cape cross seal reserve

Located within close range of the Skeleton coast National Park, the cape cross seal reserve is one gem within Namibia that you should visit during your safari to the skeleton coast. The reserve got its name after a Portuguese explorer laid a foundation cross at the coast after landing there in honor of their king. There are different activities that you can do while here but the most important is to go out and see the seals that live along the coast. There are platforms that have been built in the area and these help tourists to clearly see how the seals live daily, their breeding process for as long as you have binoculars and a camera to capture these great creatures. Note that you will also need to carry a scarf for your nose in order for you not to suffocate and this is because the smell that is caused by the many seals is unbearable in most cases. The best time for all tourists to gout and see the seals is between October and November when the seals are many at the coast because this is the time that most of them give birth.

Go for a hike around the skeleton coast National Park

Hiking around the skeleton National park is not easy due to the clutter that is found at the coast but there is a trail that you can use and this has been marked as the best trek trail for hiking around the Skeleton coast. It is best used between the months of April to October and unlike other tenuous routes, this one is a bit easy to use and it will help you explore the coast and the National Park but remember that you will need a tour guide before you are allowed to access the Ugab river trail.

Explore the ship wrecks that are at the coast

Many of the locals say that the shipwrecks were former ships that belonged to the pirates and were washed over at the coast whereas others say that they belonged to the Portuguese colonialists. No one has proof of whether there are more ship wrecks that have happened recently but when you there you will also realize that the currents are too great and once a ship gets stuck at the coast, it is hard for it to survive. Note that you will need a permit in order for you to be able to view and explore the shipwrecks and this is done in the presence of a tour guide and do not forget to take a camera with you as you explore the wrecks.

Enjoy the sand dunes in the Namib Desert

It might be close to the coast but just a few kilometers away lies the famous Namib Desert with all the sand dunes that are awaiting your arrival and with all the activities that you can carry out on the sand dunes like quad biking, trekking, you cannot miss a chance to go out and explore the Namib Desert while on a safari to the Skeleton coast national park.

Take a kayaking ride

Kayaking at the coast is offered by many tour operators at a small cost and it is one of the many activities that will keep you entertained while at the skeleton coast National Park. While kayaking you will be able to enjoy watching some of the rare coastal birds, the ship wrecks that are located at the coast as you experience the cool breeze that is at the coast.

Visit the ghost town near the National Park

The ghost town of Kolmanskop is located just a few kilometers away from the skeleton coast National Park and it is still a good place for tourists to visit especially if you have never seen a ghost town before. It was a mining town before for Diamonds but was abandoned and what is left of it today is just dilapidated houses. The beauty about visiting this town is that on your way you will find souvenirs placed on tables with no people selling but a price will be placed on each item and all you have to do is to place the money there and be on your merry way.

Enjoy a boat ride along the coast

The tide might not be the best each time you visit but when you find a calm one, make sure that you get to enjoy a boat ride along the coast.  A ride along the coast is one of the many ways that you get to enjoy birding in the area and also get to enjoy some fishing while at the coast. The coast has a lot of fish species that you can get while fishing and the fishing equipment is hired from the locals and sometimes the tour operators also provide the equipment. Go and enjoy a fishing expedition while in the skeleton coastal National park and mingle with the locals as they also do their fishing.

Go surfing at the coast

There is no way that you will enjoy your trip without at least trying to surf the big waves that are experienced at the coast of the skeleton coast National Park. The waves that are experience at the coast especially between the months of May to October are perfect for all those that enjoy surfing and for all those that are not able to safe, you can always get your cameras out and take as many photos as you can of the waves and of the people who are surfing.

As you prepare to go to Namibia for a safari, make sure that the skeleton coast National park is on top of your bucket list and once you get there you should at least engage in some if not all the activities that can be carried out while in the Park as these will make your safari more exciting and entertaining for you and all your colleagues.

The Skeleton Coast is Namibia’s infamous tourist attraction that is located in the northern region to the border on the Atlantic Ocean.  It starts south of the Orange River in Angola occupying much of the Namibian Atlantic ocean coast for an incredible 200km. Much of the skeleton coast area lies in the vast Namib Desert region sections of which include the Namib-Naukluft Park in the south, the Skeleton Coast Park in the north and Iona Park in Angola.

The skeleton coast is bordered by Swakopmund in the north which is predominantly lying in rocky deserts and sand dunes from Torra bay to the river beds of Hoarusib and Kunene. Kaokoland and the Himba people also occupy the northern border to skeleton coast. In the south are the Damara people and the diamond Area of Luderitz.

Skeleton coast is an interesting collection of aged ship wrecks, rocky outcrops near Spencer Bay, wildlife and skeletons of dead animals.

Skeleton Coast National park

This Namibian safari game park is located north of the Namib Desert on the border with Namib-Naukluft National park between Ugab and Kunene River. The park is 16,000sqkm and part of the notable features here include the agate mountain salt pans, cape Fria seals, the castle of Hoarisib and the west Coast Recreation area.

The different plants found in this park grow on sand dunes thanks to the thick fog and moisture that forms here. Besides the seal colonies, there are baboons, desert elephants, giraffes, black rhinos, oryx, ostrich, brown hyena, lions and the springbok that live in the lush bushy area of the Skeleton Coast National Park.

Best time to Visit

The Skeleton coast of Namibia is often visited throughout the year but it is very important to note the changes in weather for the coast. The summer starts around October and ends in May with more friendly weather conditions and temperatures between30-36ºC. The mornings are quite warm but the fog persists for much of the early morning hours.

The nights are under clear sky filled with thousands of twinkling stars. May to September marks the winter time when temperature drops to freezing point especially in the morning.

While visiting skeleton coast, pack light safari clothing like long sleeved shirts and trousers, sun glasses, comfortable walking shoes, a sun hat and a pair of  binoculars

Getting there

Skeleton coast safaris are arranged by several Namibia Safari companies and Tour operators in Windhoek the capital of Namibia. You can choose between a private safari by vehicle or using an aircraft charter from Windhoek International Airport or Eros Airport.

Skeleton Coast Accommodation

Accommodation from the skeleton coast is from exclusive private owned Namibia safari lodges and camps such as from the self catering Lagoon Cottages in Walvis Bay, Namib Shore Guesthouse and self catering camping at Skeleton Coast Camp. The camp has comfortable bedding, bucket showers, flush toilets. Luckily, supplies like vegetables, soft drinks and wine are also supplied.The fishing coast at Terrace bay is another exciting place to find accommodation in bungalows and at Torra Bay camp if booked early enough.

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