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Road Trip Through the Skeleton Coast in Namibia

Skeleton Coast is the northern part of the Atlantic coast of Namibia. The indigenous San people 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”. The surge of the cold Benguela flow gives rise to thick ocean fog for much of the year. Skeleton Bay, however, is much more cheery than I make it out to be. Today, it is a popular destination for surfers and campers alike. However, if you crave a plain old road trip through the Skeleton Coast in Namibia, this is the article for you!

What to Expect

Roadtrip Through the Skeleton Coast in Namibia

You can expect a lot of wrecks and abandoned projects that dot the entire Skeleton Coast. However, apart from the wrecks, it’s a desert-meets-ocean kind of experience. As you travel from one wreck to the next, you will be greeted by blue skies, cream earth and blue ocean.

Some of the best wrecks to visit include The Charamel, The Zeila, The Winston, Suiderkus, Henrietta Spasheti, Montrose, and the S.W. Seal. These wrecks are all phenomenal in their way, but they all have one thing in common: they are all rusty, stranded, and eerily-looking constructions of failed missions. These shipwrecks range between massive and moderate, but each one has a story to tell.

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Where to Stay

Roadtrip Through the Skeleton Coast in Namibia
Image: Rudy Mareel Photography, 2023

Step abroad to the Shipwreck Lodge which is nestled between dunes overlooking the blue and powerful Atlantic Ocean. Interestingly, this lodge sits various uniquely shaped cabins that resemble shipwrecks. This is the place to stay if you want to immerse yourself in the ambience of Skeleton Coast. Moreover, Shipwreck Lodge offers you many fun activities to enjoy. These include sandboarding, beach lunches, river excursions, quad biking, and sundowner drives.

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Torra Bay Campsites are also available, though they are only open throughout December, and they are booked years in advance. So if you’d like to stay here, make sure to book now for your future getaway. If camping isn’t your thing, you could also drive onward to stay at NWR at Terrace Bay. These are simple, yet elegant little cottages that have all the basics for a good stay. NWR at Terrace Bay has a restaurant, a shop, a freezing room, a clinic, a police office, and a filling station. They do provide WiFi, but only in the restaurant though.

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How to Get There

Roadtrip Through the Skeleton Coast in Namibia

Usually, you take a drive from Swakopmund to Terrace Bay to get to the elusive Skeleton Coast National Park. You then drive through Henties Bay. When you do, make sure to fill up your tank and get all the supplies you need. Terrace Bay is 360 kilometres away from Swakopmund and you don’t need a 4×4 to get there. There are two gates from which you could enter Skeleton Coast National Park. If you enjoy this article, be sure to read about the exceptional Sossusvlei Lodge & everything they offer

First is the Ugabmund Gate, also known as the Ugab River Gate. It’s located in the south and 200 kilometres from Swakopmund. Then there’s the second gate called Springbokwasser in the east. Park fees are paid upon arrival. However, if you enter through Ugabmund and exit through Springbokwasser all in one day, you don’t pay the conservation fee.

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Skull-pture Your Next Holiday

Roadtrip Through the Skeleton Coast in Namibia

Although the skeletons that littered the coasts about 100 years ago due to whaling are long gone, the remains of the ships that perhaps wanted to take advantage of ocean life are still there. So sculpt the essence of your next getaway with the gorgeously unique Skeleton Coast. You could take a nice, long walk from wreck to wreck that sits peacefully on the sheet-white sands of Namibia. Exploration is within all of us. So take a road trip through the Skeleton Coast in Namibia to get to find out just how far you’re willing to explore.

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Hi there! I’m Megan, an absolute lover of words, literature, books, stories, anything that has to do with writing, reading, imagining. Because of my passion, I decided to make writing my life, and with that, I decided to study BA Languages at the University of Pretoria and am happy to report that I made my dream come true by graduating and becoming a travel writer. During my final year I wrote for my campus newspaper, the PDBY, where I learned to trust my writing voice. Now, as I sit here writing my petit little bio, I feel more in love with writing than I’ve ever been. Turns out, like much of my personality, my writing can equally showcase both the calm and put-together, as well as the crazy.