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Mowe Bay


The Skeleton Coast is a National Park of remarkable contrasts. This truly beautiful area is one of Namibia's main tourist drawcards. It is so named because of the skeletal shipwrecks caused by smashing offshore rocks obscured by fog and the abundant number of bleached white whale and seal bones found along the shoreline. About 80km north of Terrace Bay lies the administrative headquaters of the park, Mowe Bay, it is not open to visitors.

Möwe Bay is part of this scenic and mystically alluring park. It is named after the German cruise ship, The Möwe, noted for log book recordings of the first official sightings of Cape fur seals off the coast of southern Africa in 1884. The Bay is approximately 10km north of an ephemeral river - the Hoanib, which doubles up as the unofficial border between Damaraland and Kaokoland. It's source is near Kamanjab and (when the river flows) it runs north-west towards Sesfontein before changing direction and leading down to the Atlantic Coast. Giraffe and desert-adapted elephant are the main focus of attention for the Hoanib.

Gemstone beaches are a feature around Möwe Bay. They are polished and smoothed by wave action which subsequently gleams with a multi-coloured carpet of semi-precious stones, often found scattered amongst the shattered remains of whale skeletons and shipwrecks up to 500 years old. Visitors should note that taking anything out of the park is prohibited.

This region is strictly off-limits to independent travellers, even though there is a coastal road that runs for 460kms from Swakopmund to Möwe Bay. A fly-in safari to this region would certainly be the highlight of any Namibian expedition. Desert-dwelling black rhino, lion and brown hyena frequent. Birdlife includes Maccoa duck, bearded woodpecker, South African shelduck, Pintado petrel, wandering albatross, Cory's shearwater, crowned cormorant and the blackcap.

All sea creatures great and small reside in these waters. Blue stingray, kingklip, blacktail, sand steenbras and redfingers, Cape fur seals, rough-toothed, bottle-nosed and dusky dolphin, humpback, sperm and killer whales all contribute to the diverse and breathtaking marine Möwe Bay magic.

  • Mowe Bay: Pelican
  • Mowe Bay: Penguins
  • Mowe Bay: Seal
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Cape Cross Lodge

Wonderfully situated remote lodge - directly on the beach near the Cape Cross seal colony

Hoanib Skeleton Coast Camp

An upmarket lodge on the Skeleton Coast - only visit-able as part of a fly in safari.

Terrace Bay

Accommodation in the Skeleton Coast, really catering for fisherman but hardened visitors who absolutely have to spend a few nights inside the Skeleton Coast Park may choose to stay here

Torra Bay

A campsite in the Skeleton Coast Park, popular with fisherman during the summer holidays

Accommodation in Namibia