North of Swakopmund, the increasingly wild and seemingly barren coastline stretches towards the Kunene River, which marks the border with Angola about 680km away. Travelling along the compacted salt and gravel coastal road affords you views of endless gravel plains, flat sandy beaches pummelled by the Atlantic waves, and, eventually, pale, distant dunes that creep closer as you drive further north. All of this is punctuated by the occasional flecks of lichen fields, which transform into a colourful tapestry in the early morning mist.

Now, in theory, this whole strip of land (reaching only around 40km inland) is protected, initially by Namibia’s most recently formed reserve, the Dorob National Park (formerly the West Coast Recreational Area). The park extends southwards to the Kuiseb River Delta, south of Walvis Bay, and northwards to the Ugab River, where the Skeleton Coast National Park begins. The ultimate aim is the creation of a coastal megapark that extends the entire length of Namibia’s coastline. For the moment, the incipient Dorob National Park is more a paper park, with various excluded areas (where development has already taken place) and no real facilities; as a result, no park fees are charged as yet, except to enter the seal reserve at Cape Cross.

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