This treacherous coast – a foggy region with rocky and sandy coastal shallows, rusting shipwrecks and soaring dunes – 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. This protected area stretches from Sandwich Harbour, south of Swakopmund, to the Kunene River, taking in around 20,000 sq km of dunes and gravel plains to form one of the world’s most inhospitable waterless areas in the world's oldest desert.
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