Skelton Coast National Park Safari in Namibia
The Skelton Coast National Park is positioned to the north west of Namibia and features many inaccessible shores marked with a range of ship wrecks. Established in 1971 with a size of 16,845km2, Skelton Coast National Park is partitioned into southern and northern sections where the south is accessed with 4WD but only stop at Ugab River Gate for the north side because of the loose sand that is unfavourable even for the powerful 4WDs. At the Ugab River mouth about 200km north of Swakopmund, the Skelton Coast marks its start before stretching to 500km to River Kunene on the border of Angola. It is noted as the third largest in the destination Namibia with a geographical coverage of 16,000km2. Its southern sector to Terrace bay requires a permit.
The misty storms, dense fogs along with violent surf resulted into many ships running aground along the Skelton coast making it the world’s biggest graveyard of ship. The passenger victims who would succeed in swimming up to the coast would still not live because the hostile waterless 300km expanse coastal desert lied ahead of them. The remarkable section of the Skelton Coast National Park is to the north of Terrace bay though limited to individual visitors. The flying safari is recommended if one wishes to explore the expanse of Skelton Coast National Park in detail.
The landscape features canyons, sand dunes along with mountain dunes all of which are common to Namibian environment. The climatic conditions include cold sea breezes, dense fog which is brought about by the cold Benguela current flowing off shore interacting with the Namib Desert’s extreme heat. The name of Skelton coast arises from the myriad of bones lined along the coastal beaches resulting from seal hunts and whaling operations though more than a few are human. The Bushmen used to call it the Land God made in Anger while the Portuguese referred to it as the Gates of Hell. But apparently, these wrecks provide a good habitat for Cape fur seals that thrive alongside seabird colonies which present remarkable maritime photographic possibilities.
Namibian Safari attractions in Skelton Coast National Park
Ship & Human skeletons as a Namibian Safari attraction in Skelton Coast National Park
The park features historical ship wrecks with the famous ones being; Dunedin Star Islander, Sir Charles Elliot, Suiderkus and Kaio Maru. The Luanda and Seal can be explored close to Toscanini while the Atlantic Pride thrives near Torra Bay.
Wildlife as a Namibian Safari attraction in Skelton Coast National Park
Regardless of the deadly appearance, the Skeleton Coast features a range of wildlife species like many other South African parks. The large animals including the black rhino desert adapted elephant, lion, giraffe, cheetah, gemsbok, springbok, zebra and the brown and spotted hyena thrive in the dry river beds flowing from the Namibian interior traversing the Namib desert to the Skelton Coast. Besides the big mammals, the reptiles also thrive in the park including the near endemic Gerrhosaurus skoogi which measures to 30cm in length and weight up to 120gms. The green turtle which stretches to 1m in length has its southern most breeding territory at the mouth of River Kunene and the very river is also a home to the Southern African population of Nile soft-shelled turtles featuring long large necks.
Birds as a Namibian Safari attraction in Skelton Coast National Park
There are 247 bird species in Skeleton Coast National Park including the Damara Tern that is near endemic nesting and breeding on the gravel plains close to the coast.
Geological features as a Namibian Safari attraction in Skelton Coast National Park
The Skeleton Coast National Park also features beautiful geological landscapes including salt / brine pans, dunes and gemstone beaches. The beaches are smoother and polished by wave action especially around Möwe Bay sparkling with semi-precious stones that are multi-colored including maroon and red garnets, quartzes, agate, magnetite, amethysts and ilmenite along with carnelians. At times, they are encountered while mixed up with the remains of whale skeletons and the ship wrecks dating to 500 years past.
Namibian Safari Activities in Skelton Coast National Park
Day visit as a Namibian Safari Activity in Skelton Coast National Park
These are conducted between the sunrise and the sunset with the permits present at the two (2) entry gates namely the Springbokwasser to the east and Ugab River to the south. Here travellers on safari in Namibia can explore the general landscape of the park apart from ecologically sensitive areas to the north of Terrace bay
Fly in Safaris as a Namibian Safari Activity in Skelton Coast National Park
This is limited to few tour operators and helps to explore the north of Terrace bay which is restricted to the public because of its ecological sensitivity.
Cape Cross Seal Colony tour as a Namibian Safari Activity in Skelton Coast National Park
The Southern African coastline stands as the only habitat where the Cape Fur Seal Arctocephalus pusillus pusillus are found. These species are noted to be mating, fighting, reproducing and fishing in the famous Cape Cross Seal Reserve which stands as the largest breeding seals colony in the world with the number at times exceeding 210,000 seals especially in the month of November and in December. The place is noted to be the smelliest place in Namibia arising from unpleasant odour of the dead species and the seal excrements. Cape cross is open to visiting from 10am to 5pm every day.
Accommodation in Skelton Coast National Park
Cape Cross Lodge
The Cape cross Lodge is positioned at one hour’s drive to the north of Swakopmund presenting Luxury accommodation to the visiting travellers.
Accommodation at Cape Cross Lodge is presented in eighteen (18) standard suites along with two (2) luxury suites overlooking the sea. The rooms feature private balcony with the ground floor rooms possessing a direct connection to the beach.
The Standard double rooms feature en suite bathroom, in room safe, tea/coffee making facilities & balcony overlooking the sea
The Semi suites have larger double rooms en suite, tea and coffee making facilities, 2 comfy arm chairs and coffee table.
Hoanib Skelton Coast Camp
Hoanib Skeleton Camp presents an upmarket / luxury tented accommodation in the remote landscapes of Kaokoland. The region is popular for desert adapted elephants thriving in the dry river beds.
Accommodation is presented in seven (7) twin bedded tents along with one (1) family unit equipped with;
- En-suite bedrooms
- Comfortable seating
- Tea/coffee station
Facilities at Hoanib Skeleton Camp
- Glass fronted dining room
- Plunge pool
- Small open-air wooden lunch and leisure deck with loungers.
- The campfire
- Bar and lounge
Terrace Bay is positioned in the Skeleton Coast National Park to then North West of Namibia about 5 hours drive from Swakopmund town and is noted to be the only accommodation inside the park. At times, this lodge is used to explore the Uniab River Delta.
Accommodation is presented in twenty (20) double rooms along with a beach chalet.
The double rooms feature;
- Twin /double beds
- En suite facilities
- Coffee & tea section
The beach chalet is spacious suitable for families and friends of 3 – 10 guests
The terrace bay features two (2) shops where one is for visitors and others for the staff.
Torra Bay Resort campsite is open only in the period from December 1st to January 31st coinciding with the school holiday in Namibia. The camp sites have to be booked in advance and paid for.
A range of 60 campsites thrive at Torra Bay Resort with amenities like;
- Fire wood
- Petrol station.
The day visitors are not allowed in the Torra Bay.