Skeleton Coast Park

The Skeleton Coast is the northern part of the Atlantic Ocean coast of Namibia and south of Angola from the Kunene River south to the Swakop River, although the name is sometimes used to describe the entire Namib Desert coast. The Bushmen of the Namibian interior called the region "The Land God Made in Anger", while Portuguese sailors once referred to it as "The Gates of the bad place".

On the coast the upwelling of the cold Benguela current gives rise to dense ocean fogs (called "cassimbo" by the Angolans) for much of the year. The winds blow from land to sea, rain fall rarely exceeds 10 millimetres annually and the climate is inhospitable. There is constant, heavy surf on the beaches. In the days of human-powered boats it was possible to get ashore through the surf but impossible to launch from the shore. The only way out was by going through a marsh hundreds of miles long and only accessible through a hot and arid desert.

The coast is named for the bleached whale and seal bones which covered the shore when the whaling industry was still active, as well as the skeletal shipwrecks caused by rocks offshore in the fog. More than a thousand vessels of various sizes and areas litter the coast. Notable wrecks in the region include the Eduard Bohlen, the Otavi, the Dunedin Star, and Tong Taw. The coast is generally soft, occasionally relieved by rocky outcrops. The southern section consists of gravel plains, while north of Terrace Bay the landscape is dominated by high sand dunes. Past human occupation by Strandlopers is shown by shell middens of white mussels found along parts of the Skeleton Coast.

Terrace Bay is situated in the Skeleton Coast Park in north-west Namibia. It is around 5 hours’ drive north of Swakopmund. As it is the only resort inside the park, it can attract a decent amount of tourists, mainly because there is nowhere else to stay. This is a destination for the angling crowd. It's a remote location, but the chances of catching a variety of fish here are excellent, and amongst the best on Namibia's coastline. Fishing permits are essential by law, and anglers must read the Fishing Act to know how many, and what sort of fish they can catch, how they can transport them home, and in what form. Filleting is not allowed and anglers must bring their own tackle.

Some visitors to the area use Terrace Bay as a point to explore the Uniab River Delta, a great destination for hiking, bird watching, game viewing and dunes. Walking along the beach is also very popular, and probably the only other activity visitors can do here. The tourist shop has fishing equipment, a small selection of groceries, beers, ciders and wines. There is a clinic, staffed by a resident nurse.