In which ocean meets dune: a journey to northern Namibia’s Skeleton Coastline

For 3 days, I revel in its uncooked glory, the hours punctuated by sightings of lone black rhinos, shy giraffes and hundreds of gnarly trees and spiky bushes that have tailored to everyday living in this sunshine-scorched surroundings.

It’s tricky to visualize the ocean is just outside of the mountains, 40 miles absent. It’s a 7-hour immediate travel, taken on by only the most intrepid of travellers — and stories of persons acquiring lost for days influence me to acquire a slower, clearer street. At some point, the wheels crunch down a gravel strip that runs parallel to one particular of the most treacherous shores in the entire world: the Skeleton Coastline.

On most days, the sunlight-bleached bones of whales and the rusty shells of shipwrecks and planes would sit beneath a lower blanket of fog. But nowadays, a vibrant blue sky will make the tumbling waves an inviting turquoise. I park up at Mowe Bay and hold out for a a lot more capable driver to shuttle me along the ultimate stretch. 

At Shipwreck Lodge, our guideline, Shiimi, greets us with a smile ahead of taking us out on the lodge’s higher-speed quad bikes. We established off, accelerating up dunes so large and steep I feel like I’m hurtling into the sky. We achieve the ridge and swoop down the other facet. Miles and miles of golden sand spread out in front of us the Kaokoveld, or ‘coast of loneliness’ in regional Herero language, stretches outside of.

But there are additional docile approaches to consider in this lodge’s distant setting, which sits at the mouth of the Hoarusib River. At the lodge, 10 cabins, developed in the model of shipwrecks, operate parallel to the ocean and are cosily kitted out with wood-burning stoves. 

Shiimi and I pitch up on the edge of the beach in which a barbecued feast is laid out beside an viewers of playful seals. Later on, I strap myself into a seat on the roof of a jeep though Shiimi navigates the shoreline, stopping to point out the remnants of the ships that ran aground on these formidable shores, and the jackals and hyenas that scavenge below for foodstuff. “To see this landscape — the ocean and the dunes — roll into 1 is what makes this place so particular for me,” he tells us. “This location soothes my soul.”

I agree. The next morning, I wrap myself in a blanket to protect myself from the worst of the bracing Benguela Present breeze, sit back again on a seat on my outside the house deck, and sip coffee to a soundtrack of pounding waves and wind whipping by way of the dunes. In the regional Nama language, the phrase ‘Namib’ interprets to ‘vast place of nothingness’.
And I wouldn’t would like for anything extra. 

How to do it: Abercrombie & Kent delivers a 12-evening ‘Discover Namibia’ journey from £3,995 per person (based on two sharing), which includes stays at Hoanib Valley Camp and Shipwreck Lodge, flights, car or truck hire, private transfers, safari prices on a whole-board foundation and intercontinental flights.