The Skeleton Coast National Park is located in northwest Namibia, and has some inaccessible shores, dotted with shipwrecks. The park was established in 1971 and has a size of 16,845 sq. km (6,504 sq mi). The park is divided into a northern and southern section. The park stretches from the Kunene River in the north for approximately 500km to the Ugab River in the south, and protects about one-third of Namibia’s coastline. The Kunene River rises in the remote Angolan highlands and is one of Namibia’s few perennial rivers and forms one of the country’s two permanent estuaries. There is a large crocodile population in the park.
The landscape includes sand dunes, canyons and mountain ranges all of which are synonymous with Namibia. The coast has scores of shipwrecks, some are barely recognizable, other are still in remarkably good condition. Perhaps these tragedies were meant to happen, as the wrecks provide excellent environments for Cape fur seals, living side by side with seabird colonies, offering unequaled maritime photographic opportunities. Some wrecks of note are the Dunedin Star Islander, Suiderkus, Sir Charles Elliot and Kaio Maru. The Seal and Luanda can be seen near Toscanini and the Atlantic Pride lies near Torra Bay. The best way to view these shipwrecks, are by fly-in safari.
The Skeleton Coast has a great variety of species , large mammals include Namibia’s desert-adapted elephant, black rhino, lion, cheetah, giraffe, gemsbok, zebra, springbok and spotted and brown hyena. Also see here are the Gerrhosaurus skoogi, an armour-plated lizard found in the sand-dunes searching the vegetation for Nara melon bushes. This large reptile can measure up to 30 centimetres long and can weigh up to 120gms.
At the mouth of the Kunene River you will find the long green turtle. and the the only Southern African population of Nile soft-shelled turtles, which have large, long necks.
As many as 247 species of birds have been recorded in the Skeleton Coast Park, including the near endemic Damara Tern, which nests and breeds on the gravel plains adjacent to the coast.
The fishing along the Skeleton Coast is spectacular especially in December.
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