For many visitors to Namibia the coast could easily be passed over as they go in search of wildlife and the romance of the African bush portrayed in so many brochures and television programmes. But for Namibians and many South Africans, the coast provides a relaxing and cool contrast to the heat and dust of the interior. Each year thousands descend on the resorts for a few weeks’ fishing and boating and, increasingly these days, adventure sports.
The coast provides a series of striking contrasts between the dunes of the desert and the wild South Atlantic Ocean, epitomized by the rusting hulks of sunken ships lying along the Skeleton Coast. Further inland is the Namib Desert, which has the oldest and most evocative desert scenery in the world. Here giant sand dunes march determinedly towards the sea in a dune field 300 km wide. The ever-changing landscape supports gravel plains, rugged canyons, towering walls of volcanic rock and vast dune seas. The dunes are best appreciated in the Namib-Naukluft Park around Sossusvlei or, if you have the extra cash, from the air on a scenic flight from Swakopmund or a balloon ride from Sesriem. Witnessing the changing colours of the shifting sands at sunset or sunrise is easily one of the highlights of a trip to Namibia.
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