The Skeleton Coast conservation area is the largest conservation area in Africa. Made up of three sections, from the south to the north these are the National West Coast Tourist Recreational Area which was encorporated into Dorab National Park in 2010, the Skeleton Coast National Park which requires permits to drive through and the remote Skeleton Coast Wilderness Area in the far north which extends into Angola and is not accessible by road.
The Skeleton Coast is a region located in the northwest of Namibia, stretching
from the Kunene River in the north to the Ugab River in the south.
It is named for the large number of whale and seal skeletons that have washed ashore, as well as the many shipwrecks that have occurred along its shores .
The Skeleton Coast is known for its rugged and arid landscape, which is characterized by sandy beaches, rocky cliffs, and dunes. It is home to a variety of wildlife, including seals, flamingos, and jackals, as well as a number of plant species that have adapted to the harsh desert conditions.
The region is also home to a number of national parks and conservation areas, such as the Skeleton Coast National Park and the Namib-Naukluft National Park, which are popular destinations for visitors interested in wildlife and nature.
Despite its remote and inhospitable appearance, the Skeleton Coast has a rich history and cultural significance. It was once home to the San people, and later served as a key trading route for European explorers and traders. Today, it is a popular destination for adventure travelers and those seeking to experience the rugged beauty of the Namibian wilderness.
Dorab National Park & The West Coast Tourist Recreational Area
The most accessible of the Skeleton Coast is in the West Coast Tourist Recreational Area which forms part of the Dorob National Park. The Dorab National Park actually starts south of Walvis Bay at Kuiseb Canyon and was formed in 2010, but incorporates the conservation area previously known as the West Coast Tourist Recreation Area which started just north of Swakopmund stretching 200km north up to the entrance of the Skeleton Coast National Park.
This section of the Skeleton Coast has a few small fishing hamlets such as Henties Bay and a number of fishing camps, but is best known for the Cape Cross Seal Colony. The Cape Cross Seal Reserve is accessible via a unique compacted salt road which starts north of Henties Bay.
The Skeleton Coast fishing camp with the most facilities is Windpomp 14, just 14 miles north of Swakopmund town. Of the three remaining fishing camps in this stretch of the Skeleton Coast all are very basic campsites with only Mile 108 being open all year round. Jakkalsputz and Mile 72 are open for the busy summer fishing season in December and January.
The Skeleton Coast National Park
Most visitors to The Skeleton Coast National Park are fishermen or are just passing through en-route to Damaraland and Kaokoland.
If you are just passing through the Skeleton Coast Park then you can buy an entry permit at the entrance gate.
The most accessible entrance to the Skeleton Coast National Park is the Ugab gate north of Swakopmund, and the second gate is 142 km north east at the Springbokwasser gate, south east of the only two accommodation options, Torra Bay and Terrace Bay.
Terrace Bay marks the most northerly point in the Skeleton National Park open to the public, and is also the only lodge in this section of the Skeleton Coast.