The Skeleton Coast Park, is now acknowledged as one of Namibia’s greatest treasures, in that it is one of the world’s last great wildernesses. “Death would be preferable to banishment to such a country,” declared the early Swedish explorer Charles John Andersson when he encountered tales of the Skeleton Coast.
Initially proclaimed in 1971, in its present form in 1973, it extends from the Ugab River in the south for 500 km to the Kunene River in the north and about 40 km inland. Dense coastal fogs and cold sea breezes caused by the cold Benguela Current add atmosphere to the windswept beaches that are littered with shipwrecks, bones and other debris.
The park also contains rich lichen fields (more than 100 species have been recorded), is a sanctuary for desert-dwelling elephants, rhino and lion and the Kunene River mouth is a vital wetland.
Proclaimed a national park in 1971, Skeleton Coast Park covers an area of 16 390 km² and the Natural features include The Atlantic Ocean, with sandy and pebble beaches, sand dunes, ephemeral riverbeds and canyons to rugged canyons with walls of richly coloured volcanic rock and extensive mountain ranges.
Dominant Vegetation in the park consists of Namib Desert Biome and the Vegetation type is Northern Desert, Central Desert, North-Western Escarpment and Inselbergs. Lichens, dollar bush (Zygophyllum stapfii), narra plant (Acanthosicyos horridus), vygies (Mesembryanthemum sp) on plains. In dry riverbeds makalani palm (Hyphaene petersiana), wild tamarisk (Tamarix usneoides) and mopane trees (Colophospermum mopane).
The Wildlife in the park are Desert-dwelling elephant, lion and black rhino. Cheetah, crocodile, springbok, Hartmann’s zebra, gemsbok, Heaviside’s dolphin, green turtle. The 306 bird species recorded here include Greater Flamingo, Lesser Flamingo, Lappet-faced Vulture, Rüppell’s Korhaan and Gray’s Lark.
Tourism activities include Photography, Game viewing, Angling. A fishing licence must be obtained before entering the Skeleton Coast Park.