The Skeleton Coast.
Have you ever imagined yourself a character of an adventure novel or a post-apocalyptic movie? Have you always wanted to be a treasure hunter? Or you have dreamed to visit other planets since you were child? There is a place that can make all of these dreams come true.
The Skeleton Coast, Namibia. One can hardly think of more inhospitable, but still impressively beautiful place on the map. It is a harsh land of pristine nature, which carves out the destinies of people and ships. It is a place, where all the values of the capitalist world are not worth a penny; a place, where a sip of water is times more precious than а handful of diamonds. For good reason the Namibian Bushmen called this region “The Land God Made in Anger”, while Portuguese sailors have dubbed it “The Gates of Hell”.
Skeleton Coast National Park
The name is referred to both the Namibian shoreline and national park. The territory of the Skeleton Coast stretches from Swakopmund to the boarder with Angola. The national park is divided in two parts: northern and southern. The southern part is opened for visitors, while the access to the northern one is strictly limited; only beforehand arranged expeditions are allowed, and only in the daytime. Officially, these measures have been implemented to protect the environment of the restricted area; more likely this explanation was made up by the government to keep the tourists away from massive diamond deposits.
This severe land is notorious for being a graveyard for hundreds of ships. The reason is bad weather condition. The cold upwelling Benguela current, ocean fogs, heavy surf, gales and huge boulders endanger ships navigation. Even if by miracle some members of the crew managed to survive and make it to shore, they anyway died of thirst or been eaten by predators in a short time. In confirmation of that the coastline is densely covered not only with shipwrecks, but also with human and animal skulls and bones.
One of the most picturesque vessels, which has found its final resting place in the Skeleton Coast, is German cargo ship Eduard Bohlen. It ran aground in 1909. As the sea-line has shifted to the west, the wreck is partially buried in the sand 400 metres from the shoreline.
Wrecks of the Dunedin Star, the British liner, is a memorial to Failure. The rescue operation took months and costed a few vessels.
Still have not made up your mind to visit the Skeleton Coast? There are some more reasons:
- The Skeleton Coast is the best place to stargaze.
- ATV trekking in the Namib Desert is extremely amusing.
- It is a great possibility to meet “red women”, the Himba.
If you are brave enough to face the risk, ready to be tormented with thirst, you will be rewarded with dazzling landscape and tons of emotions. Good luck, and do not get lost in the desert!