Namibia has several thousand shipwrecked vessels strewn across its vast coastline. The Skeleton Coast’s rough seas, roaring winds and strong ocean currents are primarily responsible for many of these beached ships’ fate.
Many of the wrecks on the harsh coastline have been completely destroyed by the sun and and heavy sea air, but a few are still visible. The vessels’ remains can be seen up close by explorers who are keen on making the trek along the Land of the Brave’s beautiful but perilous coastline. The Eduard Bohlen, The Duneedin Star, and The Suiderkus are three of these ships that still float atop the sands.
The Eduard Bohlen (1907)
This is perhaps one of the most well known shipwrecks in Namibia if not in the world. Its fame is largely as a result of its strange location. This is because the Eduard Bohlen appears to be stranded in the middle of the desert.
The Eduard Bohlen was a German cargo ship that ran aground while it was on its way to Table Bay from Swakopmund. It is believed that thick fog caused the ship to founder close to Conception Bay. Years after the ship ran aground the desert began to encroach on the ocean and the ship that was once stranded in the ocean slowly became stranded in the desert. The wreck currently sits about 500 meters from the ocean, making it a must visit site for wreck enthusiasts and history buffs alike.
The Dunedin Star (1942)
During the Second World War the Dunedin Star left Liverpool carrying munitions and supplies for Allied forces. On board as well as the cargo were 21 passengers who wanted to escape a war-torn London. The vessel, however, hit an underwater obstacle and landed up grounding 500 meters offshore, stranding its passengers and crew on the inhospitable Skeleton Coast.
The rescue efforts that followed were dogged by bad luck and adverse conditions. A tug boat dispatched to aid in the rescue efforts ran aground, while a Ventura bomber, tasked with dropping supplies for the survivors of the Dunedin Star, crashed into the sea after delivering its cargo to the stranded crew and passengers of the wreck. Both the tugboat and the warplane are still visible today.
The Suiderkus (1976)
Close to Henties Bay there are several visible shipwrecks, one of which is that of the Suiderkus, a relatively modern fishing trawler. The ship ran aground near Möwe Bay on her maiden voyage despite having a highly sophisticated navigational system. After a few months most of the ship had disintegrated but a large portion of the hull still survives to this day.
The hull is now perched on the beach and is currently a home for a group of cormorants. Because of its peculiar location and decaying frame it is a popular destination for photographers visiting the area.
There are literally thousands of wrecks dotted along the coast of Namibia. The three shops above are among the most visible and are relatively easy to access. As the Skeleton Coast National Park continues to become more accessible to more and more people other pathways to other amazing wreck sites will become availble. For now, however, you can beat the crowds and get exploring in one of the world’s strangest and most haunting landscapes.
Blog Courtesy of the Namibia Tourism Board
Photos Courtesy of I Dreamed of Africa