I don’t remember where I first read about the Skeleton Coast. It was several years ago; I can tell you that. And it actually ended up in my list of random tidbits in my book ideas binder. This was the picture that really stuck in my mind.
How fantastically eerie is that? It’s a picture of a building in a diamond mining ghost town called Kolsmanskop. Here’s another shot with a bit more detail.
I think the village is technically south of the official “Skeleton Coast” area, but it shares the coastline and certainly has the same otherworldly vibe.
As for the official Skeleton Coast, Wikipedia has this fantastic intro: “The Skeleton Coast is the northern part of the Atlantic coast of Namibia and south of Angola from the Kunene River south to the Swakop River, although the name is sometimes used to describe the entire Namib Desert coast. The Bushmen of the Namibian interior called the region ‘The Land God Made in Anger’, while Portuguese sailors once referred to it as ‘The Gates of Hell’.”
O.M.G…The Gates of Hell?
It’s a scenic and sandy landscape at the edge of the ocean and is littered with abandoned buildings, shipwrecks, and bones. What kind of bones? Oh, not much: seals, turtles, whales, human.
Here are a few more pics for your viewing enjoyment.
So, how does all that stuff and up there? The short/easy explanation is that the Benguela current in the Atlantic ocean pushes stuff like shipwrecks and dead things onto the beach.
You’d like to visit, you say? Me, too! However, that might be easier said than done if nothing has changed since this 2013 CNN travel article. Here are a couple of quotes.
“The territory extends from just north of the city of Swakopmund to the Angolan border in northwest Namibia, taking in 500 kilometers of shoreline and 2 million hectares of dunes and gravel plains. It forms a national park, divided by rivers.
Independent travelers can apply for permits for day trips but only to the south — and it’s the northern extremes, the Skeleton Coast Wilderness, that most people want to see. Visitors to the latter part of the park are restricted to around 800 a year to preserve the fragile environment.”
“The only way to reach the north is to join a fly-in safari — an exclusive, if expensive, experience. A typical four-day trip costs around $6,000 per person.”
So, a visit might be slightly out of reach. Luckily, there are plenty of pics online.
Sources and further reading
This link has a great slideshow: https://www.ifly2017.com/en_us/48