The Skeleton Coast Park is one of our planet’s most inhospitable, but hauntingly beautiful places – it is wild, desolate and uninhabited. It has everything from roaring sand dunes, windswept plains, towering canyons, salt pans to seal colonies, shipwrecks and even one of the most productive fishing grounds anywhere. The arid desert environment in the Skeleton Coast is within the northern reaches of the Namib Desert. The Benguela current brings cold waters all the way from Antarctica and helps to moderate temperatures. The cool air off the ocean meets the hotter desert air, and nearly every morning, a cool mist envelops the coastline, bringing life sustaining moisture to the desert. Another bonus is that this current also moderates the temperatures. In the middle of the desert in the height of mid-summer the temperatures almost never rise above 28 degrees C. The cold Benguela Current travels all the way up from Antarctica and brings plankton rich waters to this coastline – along with massive amounts of fish.
The Skeleton Coast National Park has three zones. The southern half is the public area of the national park focused around Terrace Bay and its accommodation, which is used predominantly on self-drive safaris. The northern zone from Mowe Bay northwards is a totally private concession within the National Park (where the safaris we offer are conducted), while the extreme north of the park is the research area. Between Mowe Bay and the research area is about 200,000 hectares of incredible countryside, which is totally isolated and private.
Fresh water springs permeate through barren sands to create rare oases in the desert, which sustain pockets of wildlife. Springbok, Gemsbok (Oryx), the Desert Elephant, Ostrich, Jackal and Brown Hyena eke out an existence in this rugged terrain, along with vegetation like Welwitschia which has adapted to the harsh conditions.