Comb Namibia's unforgettable beaches
A tour of Namibia uncovers some of the most remarkable beaches in the world. Chances are you've never considered the West African nation's coastline alongside the Caribbean or California, but it's high time that changed. There you'll find haunting, surreal and wild beach getaways that will redefine your idea of a sandy shoreline.
The bare bones coast
Namibia's infamously treacherous shoreline wears its notoriety plainly: once called the Coast of Death - now called the Skeleton Coast - it is the setting for countless shipwrecks, including the Dunedin Star, which stranded 63 people on a barren, foggy coastline between turgid water and the scorching Namibian desert, and took down two of the vessels sent to rescue them.
This might sound like the last place a human should want to visit, but in fact there is a stark, ethereal beauty to this stretch of land that mesmerizes anyone who visits it. On the one hand it is harshly sublime, laden with rusted hulls and glinting, crystalline gravel plains, touched with mountains in the distance and a desert in the fore, but it is also the surreal, organic setting of dark and vibrant fields of lichen and a seal colony numbering in the thousands. Should you visit in November you might even see the many seal pups dotting the coast.
Thanks to modern road building, you can travel by coastal road and pay witness to this demanding but beautiful seascape.
Guten tag from Swakops
Swakopmund is a strangely pleasant outpost in the midst of this rugged terrain. It was first founded by 40 German settlers and a cadre of colonial troops in the later 19th century, and has since remodeled itself into a resort town known for its well-preserved German character and adventure activities.
As such, there is a lively contrast between the town and its African surroundings. In the evening you can walk along the well-manicured streets lined with cafes and bistros that serve traditional German food. During the day, head out into the desert for sand-boarding or a tour of the wildlife. If the desert is a little too dry for your taste, take to the water for surfing and sailing. Either way, the hospitality of this well-traveled destination will be a welcome reprieve from the beautiful but demanding Skeleton Coast.