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The Skeleton Coast

The Skeleton Coast

Shipwrecks and sand dunes

The stretch of coast from the Ugab River northwards as far as the Kunene River on the Angolan border is known as the Skeleton Coast, and accounts for about one-third of Namibia's coastline. It gets its name from the huge number of shipwrecks that have happened on the treacherous rocks over the centuries since the early Portuguese and Dutch explorers attempted to find a route around Africa to India. Today, this eerie coastline of sand dunes and fog has been preserved as a National Park, but only the Southern section of the Park is accessible to the general public. 

The Southern Skeleton Coast Park

The southern area stretches from the Ugab River up to the Hoanib River, and is the area of the Park which it is possible to visit as a day visitor travelling between between Swakopmund and Damaraland. A permit allows you to drive up the coastline as far as Torra Bay, then head inland and exit from the Springbokwater Gate by 3 pm.It is an extremely long drive, and many visitors leave feeling disappointed as the coastline is basically the same as that outside the Park between Swakopmund and the gate.

It is possible for the independent traveller to stay overnight in the southern area of the Park at either the campsite at Torra Bay or in self catering chalets at Terrace Bay, just slightly further north.  Torra Bay is only open December to January, but Terrace Bay is open all year round. Accommodation is basic and has to be booked for and paid in advance, and confirmation must be shown at the Park gate. The shore based fishing here is excellent, so often your neighbours will be avid anglers.