I have known about the Skeleton Coast in Namibia for some years. I came across an article about it whilst researching a photography project. It is one of the most inhospitable places on earth with the northern section only accessible by small airplane. It is a desolate and barren desert landscape that has killed or wrecked most of what has touched its shores. Once I had read about it and saw some of the photographs coming from there I was sold, it was on my list of places to go (This is a random list not for your typical vacation!).
So we arrived in Swakopmund on the 3rd leg of our journey in mid November, the aim was for a 4 day break, We were not going to go up the coast with the truck so I could not miss the opportunity, completely out of budget we hired a 4x4, complete with 2 spare tyres and a roof tent! and set off for a couple of days camping up the coastline.
To indicate what we were heading for then Daily Telegraph author Nigel Tisdell says "If hell has a coat of arms, it probably looks like the entrance to Namibia's Skeleton Coast Park"
My imagination ran riot with what I knew and what unexpected things lay ahead! Out first stop to my delight was a ship wreck, a recent one, which was along the coast but not in the Skelton Coast National Park. What was funny was that here in the middle of the desert after we drove on the beach to get to the wreck, 3 men came out of no where to sell us there wares, semi-previous rock etc. We did not buy anything but we gave them some of our food. (A note here they are two famous older wrecks in Namibia, but these are not on the Skeleton coast but further down south of Swakopmund at sandwich bay, you need to be a professional 4x4 driver to get there via huge dunes and tidal beaches).
We make it to the gates of the park and Nigel Tisdell was not kidding about the gates to hell………
Once in we headed north up the coast, we were blessed with good weather, and although we did not feel like we were in the swirling mist and sands from hell, we had great visibility which in turn made for some amazing photography. I have to say considering this is one of the most inhospitable places on earth it was well sign posted, both signs for bends and also to things to see, our next sighting was another wreck nicely signposted “Old Ship Wreck” (a Ronseal moment!).
The sign posts were pretty accurate and helpful we also saw “The Lagoon”, “Old Oil Rig” and also the “Old Diamond Mine”, and the last one disappointed Steph, no diamonds to be found here!
The coast truly lives up to its name we saw only 5 other vehicles that day and 2 birds in the entire 250km that we drove in the park. The landscapes are fantastic, the differing desert terrains you travel through are intense and the coast line a constant movement of the Atlantic pounding the shoreline. I felt privileged to be able to see and inhabit this part of the world for a small amount of time and I leave you with a couple of landscapes for you to enjoy, with many more in the photo gallery “Skeleton Coast and Southern Namibia”.