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Skeleton Coast Park

This 6504 mi² park in Namibia straddles the Atlantic Ocean for several hundred miles. The San (Bushmen) called Skeleton Coast “the land God made in anger". Appropriate, considering its wind-sculpted dunes, rugged canyons and jagged peaks are eminently inhospitable. Famously, shipwrecks line its shoreline, though the constant erosion from the wind and crashing waves have left only few rusted remains.

Yet surprisingly, this is a viable habitat. 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 Skeleton Coast include visiting a shipwrecked vessel on the coastline, the 40,000 seals of the Cape Frio Seal Colony, and the nomadic Himba tribe. In addition, guests staying at Hoanib Skeleton Coast Camp can go on game drives and guided walks to see the unique desert-adapted wildlife.

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