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Namibia’s Sands of Hell/Skeleton Coast

A rainbow over a Namibian landscape

This morning, courtesy of Matt Lauer and his “Where in the World” exploits, I traveled to Namibia.

It reminds me of Costa Rica in that the people of each country are both very proud and very respectful of their lands. They place an emphasis on environment and education. They realize both are key to their continued survival.

In Namibia’s case, most of the population is literate, and their innovative conservancy programs are being used as models for other nations worldwide. Apparently tolerance is also important. I think Matt said there were 12 different ethnic groups and as many dialects but people get along. It was refreshing to hear about an African nation that’s not war-torn, but rather harmonious.

For travelers, Namibia’s rich landscapes and wildlife appeal to ecotourists, while activities like dune and sandboarding appeal to adventure tourists.

Birds taking flight in Namibia's skies

As far as paranormal tourism goes, Namibia doesn’t quite have that. However, it does have once heck of a haunted landscape.

A marker for all the ships wrecked along the Sands of Hell?

Matt and crew traveled by helicopter up Namibia’s coast (it’s bordered on the west by the Atlantic Ocean) to what’s referred to as both the Sands of Hell and the Skeleton Coast. For years ships have crashed there. The hot air off the land converges with the cold air from the water to create unnavigable fog. Ships that run aground sentence any surviving crew to death. Because in this case land is not salvation. There is nothing for miles around. No shelter. No towns. No water.

One of the shipwrecks found on the Skeleton Coast

The metal carcasses of shipwrecks litter the beach, as do the ivory white bones of animals and mammals whose lives ended there. (Or, as in the case of whale bones, may not have ended there necessarily, but whose bones have come to rest there.)

A bone, perhaps whale?, adds to the skeletal remains found on Namibia's Skeleton Coast

If Matt’s reaction was any indication, the helicopter ride over the coastline would fall into the adventure travel bucket. At times they skimmed across the water no more than five feet above it.

He kept using words to describe the Skeleton Coast as vast, enormous, and expansive. Kudos to his videographer whose lens most definitely captured that essence.

When I was a little girl, if anyone asked where I’d like to go someday, what I’d most like to see, my very first answer was always, “Africa. I want to see the animals.”

Elephants roaming in Namibia

Somewhere between 7 and 40 I lost that desire. It was replaced with other lands that called to my soul more.

Matt’s Namibia segment reignited the African flame. I want to go on safari and see the many species that live there. Everything from birds galore (Namibia apparently offers quite the birding) and elephants, to lions and seals.

A pride enjoying their kill
A seal back from surfing

I’m not much of a skiier, but I now want to schuss down slopes of sand. That looked like a hell of a lot of fun. (And not as cold as snow skiing. I don’t much care for being cold.)

A landscape full of dunes to sandboard or just appreciate

Most of all I want to take that helicopter ride over the Skeleton Coast. Matt made no mention of ghosts roaming the beach. He didn’t have to. A jaunter knows a haunt when she sees one.

Photo Credits

All photos came from Art Explosion 500,000.

Courtney Mroch
Courtney Mroch, otherwise known as HJ's Ambassador of Dark and Paranormal Tourism, is an author, traveler, and ghost enthusiast. When she's not writing, jaunting, or planning her next trip, it's a safe bet you'll find her in one of three places: on a tennis court somewhere, on a yoga mat somewhere, or watching a horror movie somewhere. She currently resides in Nashville, Tennessee.

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9 thoughts on “Namibia’s Sands of Hell/Skeleton Coast

  1. I seem to remember something about a lost town there that is known to be haunted. I wanna even say that maybe Josh Gates investigated it…Though, I’m sure that at least some of the ships on the Skeleton Coast are haunted as well.

  2. I was thinking Josh Gates went somewhere similar too, if not to here. It’d be a hard place to investigate. Wild animals, nothing but sand everywhere, no shade (other than provided by the ships), wind…lots of challenges.

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