Skeleton Coast

The Skeleton Coast is the northern part of the Atlantic Ocean coast of Namibia and south of Angola from the Kunene River south to the Swakop River, although the name is sometimes used to describe the entire Namib Desert coast. The Bushmen of the Namibian interior called the region "The Land God Made in Anger", while Portuguese sailors once referred to it as "The Gates of Hell".

On the coast the upwelling of the cold Benguela current gives rise to dense ocean fogs (called "cassimbo" by the Angolans) for much of the year. The winds blow from land to sea, rainfall rarely exceeds 10 millimetres (0.39 in) annually and the climate is highly inhospitable. There is a constant, heavy surf on the beaches. In the days of human-powered boats it was possible to get ashore through the surf but impossible to launch from the shore. The only way out was by going through a marsh hundreds of miles long and only accessible via a hot and arid desert.
The area's name derives from the whale and seal bones that once littered the shore from the whaling industry, although in modern times the coast harbours the skeletal remains of the shipwrecks caught by offshore rocks and fog. More than a thousand such vessels of various sizes litter the coast.




Gemsbok or Oryx running alongside the road.


Desert dwelling springbok.


A derelict oil rig in the middle of the desert.




One of a thousand shipwrecks along the skeleton coast, made more picturesque by
the ship's ribs sticking up through the sand.


Another, much larger shipwreck along the coast.


The stern of yet another ship sticking up through the surf.


Driving along the Skeleton Coast is reminisent of the moonscape.


The southern entrance to the Skeleton Coast National Park.


A ship that lost power and ran aground along the Skeleton Coast.