Not to be confused with areas adjacent to Swakopmund, the Skeleton Coast National Park is one of the most beautiful and dramatic parts of the country. It is widely regarded as the most picturesque park in Africa. This area is exceptionally remote, with its northern sections visited only by fly-in guests. However, some of the best lodges and operators are based in these far northern regions. It is an absolutely outstanding area.
The north of the park is a very expensive place to stay, but the rewards for paying some of Namibia’s highest prices outweigh the cost, with the area showcasing some of the most exquisite and exclusive scenery on the planet. The only issue with visiting this area is the logistics of getting here. Self-drive operators can make it up half way, as far as Terrace Bay, but accommodation is limited and you need to know what you are doing!
We highly recommend flying, to experience the best parts of the park, and believe the operators here offer some of the best experiences in Africa.
What you really need to know
What always surprises us about trips to Namibia, is how very few people actually visit Skeleton Coast National Park! Everyone talks about it, and the vast majority of operators include it in their itineraries. However, the majority of travellers explore only up as far as the famous Cape Cross seal colony, which can be a half day’s excursion from Swakopmund. The stunning dune fields begin just 250 km north of Swakopmund… and it is here that the park really comes to life.
Where is the Skeleton Coast?
The Skeleton Coast makes up the northern part of Namibia’s Atlantic coast, and is the section of coastline located between the colonial town of Swakopmund and the Angolian border.
This almost entirely deserted, coastal stretch is roughly 40km wide and 500 km long and is studded by ships that have been stranded over the decades because of thick fog, rough sea and unpredictable currents.
The Skeleton Coast Park is divided into two parts, the southern part that stretches from the Ugab River up to Torra Bay and the northern part from Torra Bay up to the Kunene at the Angolan border.
This is not a classic safari area, so 'game-driving’ is simply exploring by car. There are some great areas for walking, and areas to the edge of Damaraland will provide game-viewing opportunities. Something for the bucket list or the serious safari veteran, consider the extraordinary experience of a flying safari with the Schoeman family.
Best Time to Visit
Namibia is a stunning destination for much of the year, and can be explored at any time of year. However, the extreme heat that hits the country around mid November should not be taken lightly. This heat remains until the rains break, and the country remains ‘questionable’ for travellers until mid March. April to June is a secret time of year to visit, when rates are low, heat is comfortable and the country looks absolutely stunning.
If you are going to drive yourself, then push up as far as you can go, but be careful, this is a serious area where a breakdown or loss of direction can cause you a much bigger problem than you may expect. You simply must have self-drive experience to explore up here.