Vacations to the Skeleton Coast, Namibia
As soon as you see the shipwrecks and whale bones that are scattered across the uncompromising and treacherous coastline of the Skeleton Coast, it suddenly becomes very clear why Portuguese sailors once referred to the area as "The Gates of Hell". The northern part of Namibia’s Atlantic coast, the desert area is notorious for fog and winds that have led many a ship to its doom down the years – conditions that meant you would not be able to escape once the coast had its grip on you.
Despite its less-than-hospitable reputation, you'll still see many animals around the Skeleton Coast. Jackals and hyenas can often be spotted, while the Cape Cross Seal Reserve is thought to be home to one of the largest colonies of Cape fur seals in the world.
Sharks are known to lurk in the area’s waters, which is certainly something to think about if you’re tempted to discover more about the region’s growing reputation for surfing. A competition in a surfing magazine around a decade ago first alerted the wider world to the incredible waves that can be caught here, with many experienced surfers taking up the challenge in recent years.
If your taste for adventure doesn't extend to the surf, you may find a hike along the Ugab River trail more to your liking. The mammoth 50-km route for the experienced hiker takes three days and is an ideal way to properly explore the fascinating landscape, geological formations and plant life that can be found in the region. If this is hell, then it's probably never looked so good.