Swakopmund and the Skeleton Coast Holidays
A visit to Swakopmund and the Skeleton Coast provides the opportunity to explore Namibia’s fascinating coastline. Sometimes foreboding and windswept, this area affords superb possibilities to encounter rich marine life, desert adapted wildlife as well as remarkable desert scenery.
For those who want to get off the beaten track, the Skeleton Coast is the most remote part of Namibia where you will encounter few other visitors and experience some of Namibia’s most dramatic landscapes.
Popular Swakopmund and the Skeleton Coast Holidays
Essential Namibia Self-Drive
Swakopmund is a German colonial town located on the Atlantic coast and encompassed by the Namib Desert. This is Namibia’s most popular seaside town and the beaches are pleasant; however the water is normally too cold for swimming. It is a pleasant town to wander around and take in the German architecture and colonial history. It is also renowned for its excellent seafood.
There are several excellent activity options available from the town, taking advantage of either the marine wildlife or the surrounding desert. Kayaking is a fantastic way to experience the marine wildlife up close and personal including Cape fur seals in their thousands, bottlenose and Heaviside’s dolphins, pelicans and flamingos. If you are lucky, you may also spot whales, leatherback turtles and sunfish. Explore the Namib Desert by 4WD or by fat bike and uncover hidden life under the sand, or take a self-drive in search of some of the country’s oldest welwitschia plants.
Walvis Bay Lagoon
Walvis Bay Lagoon is the most important wetland in Southern Africa, with 170,000 resident birds around the lagoon and some 200,000 more stopping off on migratory routes. The lagoon is the feeding site for around 80% of all the lesser flamingos found in Southern Africa and about 50% of greater flamingos. It also attracts large numbers of chestnut plovers, pelicans, Caspian, Damara, and swift terns, white-fronted plovers and Hartlaub’s gulls.
The Bushmen called it ‘The Land God Made in Anger’ and the Portuguese knew it as ‘The Gates of Hell’ so there’s no doubt the Skeleton Coast can be a foreboding place! It got its official name because of the swirling fogs and treacherous currents that claimed many ships in the past, littering the coast with skeletal shipwrecks. The Skeleton Coast forms about one third of Namibia’s coastline and Namibia has declared 16,000 square kilometres of the region as a national park, with the northern half of the park a designated wilderness reserve.
The area is largely inaccessible unless by air, either flying in to one of the few wilderness lodges or taking a scenic flight – a real highlight of any trip to Namibia. The landscape is the main draw, comprising vast dune fields, wind-swept beaches, remote desert oases and the remnants of shipwrecks, but you may also witness wildlife in the area including desert adapted elephant, giraffe, black rhino, lion and seals.