Skeleton Coast and Kunene
Interactive Map of Skeleton Coast Park & Kunene Region
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The arid Skeleton Coast environment is within the northern reaches of the Namib Desert. The cold sea breeze caused by the Benguela Current helps to moderate temperatures here and also brings life-sustaining moisture to the desert from the coast. Most mornings, the cool ocean mist collides with the hotter desert air producing a moist coastal fog that envelops the coastline, creating a sense of mystery and impenetrability as well as providing precious moisture for the inhabitants of this area.
This area is not teeming with big game species, but rather offers a cultural journey exploring the smaller desert wonders. Freshwater springs permeate through the barren sands to create rare oases in the desert that sustain pockets of wildlife. Springbok, gemsbok (oryx), the rare desert-adapted elephant, brown hyaena, black-backed jackal, and occasionally even lion and cheetah enter this rugged domain. The famous Cape fur seals are present in their thousands on the beaches, attracting predators as well.
The area has fascinating desert-adapted vegetation such as welwitschia and lithops, the succulent "flowering stones", and the bizarre elephant's foot found in rocky crevices. More than a hundred species of lichen are found on the gravel plains and hot west-facing mountain slopes, which change colour as they absorb moisture when the coastal fog presses inland.
Birding in the area is also very good with over 200 species recorded including several of Namibia's desert endemic species such as Tractrac Chat, Rüppell's Korhaan and Gray's Lark. The seal colonies often have Jeagers and Skuas in attendance with Parasitic Jaeger, Pomarine Jaeger and Subantarctic Skua all possible in summer.
The typical routine at Skeleton Coast is quite different from that of most other safari camps. There is an incredible amount to see and do. Breakfast is enjoyed in camp and guests then head out all day into the Park. A picnic lunch is packed and the safari only returns at sunset. The days are full, rewarding and enriching. This area has everything…from soaring sand dunes that roar, wonderful, vast, pastel-coloured plains, towering canyons and mountains, salt-pans and seal colonies and shipwrecks. Add to that the game viewing! Guests will also visit authentic Himba (the nomadic local people) settlements, just outside the park, for an incredible cultural experience.
Serra Cafema and Kunene
In the extreme and remote north of Namibia, mountains of largely folded metamorphic rock are cut through by rivers, including the Kunene River that forms the border between Namibia and Angola. In rainy years, the large Marienfluss and Hartmann's valleys become grassy expanses, but generally their flat topographies are covered by sand broken only by a few tough grasses, shrubs and mysterious 'fairy circles'. In this isolated region, the Himba people continue their nomadic, traditional way of life.
The reliable, yet minimalist source of water here is the famous Namibian fog created when the icy Atlantic water meets the warm air of the Skeleton Coast. This moisture drifts far inland along the river valleys and is eagerly harvested by plants and animals before the sun burns off the remnants.
Game viewing in this area is limited to herds of gemsbok, springbok and Hartmann's mountain zebra. The Kunene River has a large population of Nile crocodiles, an anomaly in a desert. Burchell's Courser and Benguela Long-billed Lark are among the characteristic bird species to be found in this area. There are also a number of endemic reptiles, the desert chameleon being a particular specialty.
Activities include enjoying the breathtaking landscape scenes with springbok, ostrich and gemsbok (oryx) dotted here and there, traversing the sand dunes in 4x4 Land Rovers and boating on the Kunene River where one can watch for the Kunene crocodiles. Walking in the remote mountain and river valleys is also a highlight. Serra Cafema is often visited by the native Ovahimba families who live in the nearby vicinity, which gives guests the opportunity to learn about their lifestyle and traditions.
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