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This 6504 mi² (16,845 km²) park straddles the Atlantic Ocean for several hundred miles. The San (Bushmen) who formerly inhabited the region very appropriately called it “the land God made in anger,” as its wind-sculpted dunes, canyons and jagged peaks are eminently inhospitable.
Yet surprisingly, there is viable ecological diversity: Life is ultimately possible in this national park because of the moisture brought by the almost daily fogs. This nourishes the desert-adapted vegetation, like the Welwitschia mirabilis (referred as a “fossil” plant), allowing an ecosystem to develop. Desert-adapted lion, jackal and brown hyena are known to hunt seals at the numerous seal colonies dotting the coastline. Additionally, cheetah, leopard, baboon, desert elephant, springbok, and gemsbok are present. Although sparse, Skeleton Coast’s birdlife is very interesting, and includes Gray’ lark, Ludwig’s bustard, tractrac chat, and bokmakierie.
Activities in and around the national park include visiting one of the thousands of shipwrecked vessels lining the coastline, the 40,000 seals of the Cape Frio Seal Colony, the roaring dunes (sliding down them produces a loud, almost booming noise), the nomadic Himba tribe.
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