Skeleton Coast Park
Costs: N$20 per adult, N$1 per child, plus N$20 per car.
From the Ugab to the Kunene, the Skeleton Coast Park and Wilderness Areas protect about one-third of the country's coastline. The southern half of this, the Skeleton Coast Park, is easily accessible to anyone with a car and some forward planning. It's a fascinating area and, surprisingly, is often omitted from scheduled tours and safaris. This is a shame, though it does mean that from July to September – when some of the rest of the country is busy with overseas visitors – this is still a blissfully quiet area.
Because the climate here is harsh, and the area quite remote, the Ministry of Environment and Tourism have fairly strict regulations about entry permits – which must be followed.
If you are just passing through, then you can buy your entry permit at either gate: the Ugab River gate on the C34, or the Springbokwasser gate on the D3245. You must
reach your gate of entry before 15.00 to be allowed into the park – otherwise you will simply be turned away.
If you plan to stay at either Torra or Terrace Bay, then you must have a booking confirmation slip, issued by the main NWR office in Windhoek. You cannot just turn up at the gate, or one of the camps, to see if they have any space. You must pre-book these camps in Windhoek. In that case, if you arrive from Swakopmund along the C34, you must pass the Ugab River no later than 15.00. Similarly, if coming from Damaraland, on the D3245, you must pass the Springbokwasser gate by 17.00.
In the Skeleton Coast Park, the road is mostly just normal gravel, so keep your speed below 80km/h to be safe.