The coast has scores of shipwrecks littering its shores. Some are barely recognizable as man-made vessels while, others are still in remarkably good condition. Today the wrecks provide excellent environments for Cape fur seals, living side by side with seabird colonies, offering unequaled maritime photographic opportunities.
Despite its arid and deadly appearance, the Skeleton Coast has a remarkably great variety of species. Large mammals include Namibia’s famous desert-adapted elephant, black rhino, lion, cheetah, giraffe, gemsbok, zebra, springbok and spotted and brown hyena are found in the dry river beds which flow from the interior of Namibia, through the Namib Desert and on to the Skeleton Coast.
As would be expected in a desert environment, there is a diverse variety of reptiles at home here. The near endemic Gerrhosaurus skoogi is an armour-plated lizard that prowls the sand-dune sea in search of vegetation detritus and !Nara melon bushes. This large, striking reptile can measure up to 30 centimetres long and can weigh up to 120 gms. The mouth of the Kunene River marks the southernmost breeding territory of the 1m long green turtle. and the same river is also home to the only Southern African population of Nile soft-shelled turtles, which have large, long necks. Caution is advised in their company, as they can be aggressive.