This treacherous coast – a foggy region with rocky and sandy coastal shallows – has long been a graveyard for unwary ships and their crews, hence its forbidding name. Early Portuguese sailors called it As Areias do Inferno (The Sands of Hell), as once a ship washed ashore, the fate of the crew was sealed.
Etosha National Park
Etosha National Park ranks as one of the world’s great wildlife-viewing venues. Its unique nature is encapsulated by the vast Etosha pan – an immense, flat, saline desert that, for a few days each year, is converted by the rains into a shallow lagoon teeming with flamingos and pelicans.
Mamili National Park
In years of good rains, this wild and seldom-visited national park becomes Namibia’s equivalent of Botswana’s Okavango Delta. Forested islands fringed by reed and papyrus marshes foster some of the country’s richest birdwatching, with more than 430 recorded species to count.
Moving inland from the dunes and plains of the bleak Skeleton Coast, the terrain gradually rises through wild desert mountains towards the scrubby plateaus of central Namibia. Damaraland, which occupies much of this transition zone, is laced with springs and ephemeral rivers that provide streaks of greenery and moisture for wildlife, people and livestock.