Surviving Namibia

With seemingly every inch of our ever-shrinking world being explored and documented, it’s nice to know there are still stretches of empty coastline and exciting virgin surf spots waiting to be de-flowered. Sadly, these last remaining bastions of solitude are usually empty for very good reason. In this case, sharks, sand dunes, and AIDS keep Namibia largely devoid of surfers. In fact, it’s not just surfers that have avoided Namibia, as it has the second lowest population density of any country on earth, second only to Mongolia.

As sharky as anywhere on earth, and boasting the world’s only near-fatal seal attack, Namibia is a very dangerous place, both on land and in the water. Geographically, the country lies near the tip of Africa, where the currents from the Atlantic Ocean meet the currents of the Indian and Southern Oceans, creating an underwater party of scary wildlife. The seal populations along this coast are enormous, as are the sharks that feed on them. On land, roughly 1/5 of the population suffers from AIDS, and if that wasn’t enough, malaria has also become quite an epidemic in Namibia as well.

If the dangers on land and in the sea don’t scare you off, the mining companies and their vast stretches of private coastline will. Many of the best waves on the Skeleton Coast are completely off limits due to Diamond mines, which make up a good amount of Namibia’s economy.

If you are able to successfully navigate all of these pitfalls, the rewards speak for themselves. This wave, dubbed ‘Skeleton Bay’ by the surf world, is located at an undisclosed bay on this shrouded coast. Surfer Magazine’s Alan Van Gysen recently put together a slideshow of his favorite images of this part of Africa, click on the photo or here to check it out.

<embed src="http://vimeo.com/moogaloop.swf?clip_id=29194892" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="400" height="300"></embed>

Africa from French Connexion on Vimeo.

<embed src="http://vimeo.com/moogaloop.swf?clip_id=29194892" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="400" height="300"></embed>

<embed src="http://vimeo.com/moogaloop.swf?clip_id=29194892" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="400" height="300"></embed>