Skeleton Coast and Kaokoland

The so called Skeleton Coast is a 40 km wide and 500 km long coastal stretch in Namibia, a hostile but fascinating area. Here the cold and unpredictable Benguela Current of the Atlantic Ocean clashes with the  dune and desert landscape of north-western Namibia. The name Skeleton Coast derived most probably from the huge numbers of stranded whales that lost their life here and whose skeletons could  be seen all over the place. The Ovahimba who are settling in the far north-eastern parts of Namibia used the whale bones for building their huts.

Numerous ships have stranded at the Skeleton Coast thanks to the  thick fog, the rough sea, unpredictable currents and stormy winds. The sailors who were able to make it to the land did not stand a chance of survival at this inhospitable coast and died of thirst.

Despite the hostile character of the Skeleton Coast, there are quite a number of wild animals to observe, for example desert-adapted elephants, rhinos, desert lions, brown hyenas, jackals, giraffes, seals, oryx, kudus and zebras. Also some plants are incredibly adapted to the rainless area of the Skeleton coast and depend solely on the daily fog from the Atlantic Ocean: There are welwitschias, !Nara melons, several  lithops succulent plants (often called “living stones”), lichen and pencil bush (ink bush).

If you like extreme terrain, hidden valleys and rare, exotic culture then the Kaokoland, also called Kaokoveld, in northern Namibia is the place to go. This remote, sparsely populated land the size of  Switzerland lies between the Skeleton Coast Park and the Kunene River on the Angolan border. It has a unique beauty with outstanding mountain scenery.

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