I’m going to start doing flashback photo Friday posts–past trips, before I started TravelingSaurus. I love going back through old photos and reminiscing! First up? The Skeleton Coast. The first time I visited Namibia, I only went to the Caprivi Strip. Definitely brilliant–tons of wildlife with hippos everywhere! But there was so much of the country left to visit. So we returned, as a graduation present for my piled-higher-deeper degree in 2011. There were so many highlights of this trip, from tracking rhinos in Damaraland to seeing the dunes at Soussesvlei.
But the Skeleton Coast was just incredible. Miles and miles of untouched coastline. Some native populations in Namibia called the Skeleton Coast “The Land God Made in Anger”–hundreds of kilometers of arid, unforgiving terrain.
Heading to the Skeleton Coast
We took a Cessna to an airstrip about an hour (maybe less) away from the Coast. Driving, you could start to see the landscape change from desert shrub to sand. And more sand. And crazy colored sand. It was stunning. It’s like nothing I’ve ever seen: beautifully colored, changing from rose to orangeish to khaki, with pieces of mica making it shimmer.
I had a hard time capturing the essence of the Skeleton Coast in my photos (and I only had a little point and shoot at the time). It’s so expansive, so vibrant yet so vacant. But I’m going to share them anyway, since I have no shame about my sub-par (though since improved) photography skills.
We saw quite a few black-backed jackals, and seals, seals, and more seals. You’ll also find whale bones scattered along the coastline. I’m not talking a foot-long bone on the beach, I’m talking towering, amazing vertebrae six-feet tall. It’s a good reminder of how ridiculously small humans are in comparison. Whaling used to be a huge business off the coast of Namibia, and they would toss the unused parts, including the bones, overboard. They eventually washed up on the aptly named Skeleton Coast.
There aren’t many camps/lodges and concessions in the Skeleton Coast, which Namibia has worked to carefully preserve. We stayed with Wilderness Safaris, which had both an intimate, rustic (but sparkling) tented camp (where we stayed) and a larger more luxurious lodge in the area. As always, the tents were pristine, the staff gracious and friendly, and the food delicious.
The Skeleton Coast is totally hostile but breathtakingly beautiful, hopefully one day I’ll be able to return.