Desert of the Skeletons

2013 ,    »  -   30 Comments
Ratings: 7.88/10 from 49 users.

This is the coast which, for centuries, the sailors who ply the commercial routes feared, respected, and above all, avoided. It sends us through the skeletons of dead animals bleached by the sun, testimony to the harshness of this coast where only the strongest and best adapted are capable of surviving. There have been many tragedies at sea, and this place has well-earned its fearful name: The Skeleton Coast. Not so long ago, the white man also tried to adapt to this dry land.

They came here lured by the promise of untold riches, big diamond deposits. But nature proved stronger and they soon had to admit defeat. Entire towns were abandoned overnight as they fled from the terrors of the desert. These ghost towns still provide the greatest evidence of the hostility of this dry land.

Shipwrecks of many ages and many nationalities warmed by the passing of time still lie half-buried, perhaps silently lamenting their absurd, unexpected fate. The old ships made of wood have slowly crumbled away, because of the combined effect of the sea, the wind, and the sand. But the most modern ships made of metal ride like ghosts from the deserted beaches.

The Skeleton Coast marks the window to the desert, which covers a narrow strip no wider than 200 kilometers running from Southern Angola to the Orange River, the border with South Africa. Like a coastal belt with dunes and rocks, the Namib Desert covers 250 000 square kilometers along more than 2000 kilometers of the Atlantic coast of Namibia.

The Namib is one of the oldest and most arid deserts in the world. Its mountains were witnesses to the cataclysms of the Jurassic Age, where the supercontinent Gondwana split apart and created new land masses; among them, Southern Africa. Just a few kilometers away, enormous dunes over 300 meters high transform the landscape, making it unrecognizable. That is the Namib: a constantly changing desert; a dry land where life lies in hiding.

From the air, this massive orange-colored sand seems endless. These are the tallest dunes in the world and below them lie the world's largest diamond deposits. It's a fantastic sight which could only have been created by nature. As the light changes, the dunes of the Namib take on a thousand different hues of spectacular beauty. They are like mobile sculptures shaped over thousands of years by the wind. The underground rivers provide just enough water for the odd acacia, adding a not quite adequate green to the symphony of crude colors dotted across the landscape. But every year, there is a veritable explosion of life along the Skeleton Coast.

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30 Comments / User Reviews

  1. 1concept1

    Good documentary direct and to the point.

  2. sebastien972
  3. sebastien972

    They bathe only once in their life... poor cameraman...

  4. cyberdog
  5. cyberdog

    This documentary unfortunately covers a very miniscule part of Namibia's rich history, focusing more on a single, very small tribe from the area.Very informative and well presented, but short.

  6. rudeboi
  7. rudeboi

    You people never miss an opportunity sh*t on Afrika do you? That desert should have kill every non-native that set on the continent. You cavemen irk every cell in my body.

    Those people I'm sure didn't ask anyone to come and tell their story, it's the medaling European trash that's always sticking it's nose in places where they don't belong.

  8. Icculus574
  9. Icculus574

    Overreacting a bit? He made a harmless joke about body odor and your response is that he's somehow propagating European conquest and that you wish death upon all who enter the African continent?

    Go make love, have a cupcake, look at the night sky, or whatever else you like to do to relax. Whatever your thing is, I don't think you've done it nearly enough recently.

  10. rudeboi
  11. rudeboi

    It would an over reaction if this was the first time I heard this, but of course it's been a know what? I'm explaining myself to you.

  12. Icculus574
  13. Icculus574

    I'm sorry if you've heard racist and xenophobic things against your people, but what he said was neither.

    He's an individual like you and just because he was born in Europe (assuming that this is even the case), doesn't mean he's responsible for the sins of his ancestors nor does it mean that he approves of or supports the policies that are harmful today.

    To take it out on him, unless he's been the one saying those things to you, is no different than what you're (unjustly) accusing him of doing.

  14. rudeboi
  15. rudeboi

    Are you absolutely serious?

  16. Icculus574
  17. Icculus574

    If you are, then yes. What about my post is so incredibly crazy to you?

  18. rudeboi
  19. rudeboi

    What I think white folk tend to forget is that racism is an everyday occurrence for Black people. It doesn't matter where it comes from or from whom, we are already fed up. Because white folk don't have to think of race every hour of the day they lack the understanding that even little things rub salt on an open wound.

  20. Guest
  21. Guest

    I see white privilege all the time.

    My best friend is black. I see him judged/watched by security whenever we go shopping or out to the bar.

    I live in a predominantly black neighborhood and the cops harass my neighbors every chance they get.

    That's not even going into policy or institutional issues like voter ID laws, stop and frisk, the war on drugs, and stand your ground.

    I get your frustration because while I don't experience against me, I see it and hear about it from people I care about every day -- and remember it from people who aren't around anymore.

    However, making a joke about a tribe that only bathes once in their life being smelly is not racist. They probably are quite smelly... And they probably couldn't care less that they are -- nor should you.

    You're trivializing the issue by being so quick to jump on anything you can stand a soap box on that you're not stopping to actually consider what you're getting mad about. You want to vent? Go vent. But don't take it out on someone who doesn't deserve it.

  22. tomregit
  23. tomregit

    In a posting on another site you actually stated that it was not possible for a black person to be racist. I can only try to sympathize with people of minorities. However if you feel that you must think about race "every hour of the day", then, for you, my feeling is more akin to pity.

  24. madscirat
  25. madscirat

    Only a Bushman could do something as seemingly barbarous as bathe in blood and do it with a child like grin on their face, unaware of any negative connotation in the act. I am more in love with this culture than ever. Hoofing it across the Namib with a mind full of ecological mysteries, puffin on fat Bob Marley joints, shooten dem poison arrows, and never loosing that innocent spirit. Makes me want to throw away my watch and join them. Granted, my white butt would burst into flame out there, but still...

  26. rudeboi
  27. rudeboi

    When you're Black, yes, you think about race every hour of the day. And can keep your pity.

  28. tomregit
  29. tomregit

    Methinks thou dost protest too much. Any attempts to demonstrate why I say this has been deleted by moderators. Fair enough. However, I strongly urge others to look at the profiles of other posters, including rudeboi and of course me. It provides an indication of a persons intellectual honesty.

  30. Icculus574
  31. Icculus574

    I accidentally deleted that comment in my feed through a misclick. It says guest, but it's me.

    If you wish to post a reply to it, reply to this comment instead otherwise I might not see it.

  32. caverat
  33. caverat

    rudeboi, does the name imply that you are a rude person?? anyone who thinks of racism every hour of every day usually is a racist? I didn't detect any racist language in any of the posts so maybe rudeBOY needs to re think about that pity post and instead of pity maybe you must just be a pitfall racist in need of watching some Disney Looney toons instead of a non-bios documentary.

  34. rudeboi
  35. rudeboi

    This is the white fallback, it's a classic thing where you people turn the victim into the victimizer. Do you think you can read me from some BS profile? That would make you a cop, and I don't care for that sort either. Walk in my shoes and we'll see if you remain stupid.

  36. rudeboi
  37. rudeboi

    Again, white folk need to stop telling Black people when it's correct to feel the way they do. IT'S NOT ABOUT THE DAMN TRIBE BEING SMELLY. That is just the another brick in the wall. You people refuse to believe that pain is carried forward. It's carried forward, it is carried forward. The least little thing triggers that hurt when the least little thing is said. Call me sensitive, but I have been made that way by the same people that don't believe pain is carried forward, and to be completely honest I couldn't careless if you understand me or not.

  38. Icculus574
  39. Icculus574

    Aright, since apparently you feel a white person is unqualified to make any determination about what is racist under any circumstances, here's what my friend mentioned in the previous post had to say after reading the thread,

    "You need to relax. What [Icculus] said was spot on and you're over reacting. Stop being an ass."

  40. oQ
  41. oQ

    There are some travelling experiences that will open one's mind and change that person for ever. That "poor" cameraman has surely forgotten the smell of sweat (which he probably had himself) but he will most likely never forget what his other senses were able to absorb while living among this tribe.
    I envy the cameraman for I have a pretty good idea of what his senses were filled with.
    Also keep in mind that there was rain to be drenched in and rivers to swim in, bathing to them may mean something different, more like a purification process.
    I can understand that for a split second you couldn't keep your hands from writing that joke, unfortunately we do make fun of weird stuff at times even when we know it's inappropriate. I can think of many jokes these people must have had "with" the cameraman about his adaptation to their life style (I know I was in my own way in his shoes) but it would have been done in good spirit and all of them would have laughed.
    Your stylish look with fresh pressed shirt tells me that you probably never skip a shower any day, perhaps twice.

  42. Wendy Joseph
  43. Wendy Joseph

    seems like a subject for a series then... :)

  44. Wendy Joseph
  45. Wendy Joseph

    not s*upid, but ignorant perhaps... If one is and always has been a part of the ruling culture, it is very difficult to step out from things, because we, as a part of the ruling culture, take our privilege so much for granted that we don't even see it as privilege! Really difficult. Learn more...

  46. cyberdog
  47. cyberdog

    Rudeboi, you are a troll, you are definitely not native from Namibia. The natives from Namibia cannot and will not speak such hatred as you do. They actually do not have a word for hatred in their language. They were (and still are) also systematically being wiped out by other tribes who are are not "native" and who feel they no longer have a place in South Africa as they do not share their vengeful traditions and cultures. If it was not for their plight and recognition through media, they would have been wiped out already. And who the hell uses the words "white folk" other than some white 12 year old kid with an agenda.

  48. anonymous
  49. anonymous

    well rudeboi, I understand that you are feeling hurt and that white folks are telling black people how to feel, but i got news for you dud everybody in the world knows how pain feel like. everywhere in the world there are people telling others how to feel, how to behave on so on and you know what, those people are BLACK. WHITE. YELLOW: RED and some are GREEN with envy. what I want you to contemplate on is that: is your response healing your hurt or are you just spreading around your pain, putting entire continents and other people down so you can feel a little better about your self??? and further more aren't what you doing racism??

    I my self I'm an anti racist and I don't care about a person's skin-colour, sex or religion . a racist is a racist no matter what. and the only way to heal that pain that your so stuck in is love my friend, your not solving any problems rudeboi you are crating more of them. the only way to heal is through love.
    BTW I'm a white dud from Europe

    Our sorrows and wounds are healed only when we touch them with compassion. - Buddha

  50. Rodney Bresch
  51. Rodney Bresch

    This was at 6.89 before I voted, how is this possible? lol...incredible doc...when it gets to the tribe esp. The poster below me pretty much hit the nail on the head. I loved the water reserves too.

  52. Rodney Bresch
  53. Rodney Bresch

    The hunting and tracking of animals alone would make an worthwhile series it seems...assuming they do so enough to provide the content. But, either way...I'd love to see more!

  54. piqo
  55. piqo

    Awesome doc, they need to work on more accurate titles, though

  56. Richard Neva
  57. Richard Neva

    Looks pretty prosperous, hardly a skeleton paradise!

  58. Dirigo
  59. Dirigo

    I am a blond, blue eyed, white, Anglo-Saxon, Yankee male. I grew up in a region that if you walk a mile in any direction you will encounter water. It was taken for granted. Washing is therefore easy. Because the climate is very cool to extremely cold keeping "clean" is necessary. Clean skin and cloths help keep you warm. However, while in the Army, I spent many months in the desert. Here I learned quickly to save my water for drinking not washing. Even though the Army supplied water, it was not always available. Mostly you just washed around your face or wounds. We all became very smelly but didn't really notice it, until we returned to an area where we could wash up in the traditional way. LOL! I thought I had a very good tan, but after taking 3 showers in a row I was as white as a dead fish belly! The dirt and dust had protected me from sunburn and helped keep moisture in my body. LOL!
    As far as Rudeboi goes, don't try to tell me I don't experience prejudice. Where I grew up there were no black people for hundreds of miles. My first experience of prejudice was when 10 black guys wanted to "roll" me because I was white. Another black guy saved me! Thanks Bernard! He also told me what his mother taught him. "If you return prejudice for prejudice, it just creates more prejudice. Don't ignore it but don't return it." A very smart woman, Bernard's mother. I also have felt prejudice for being a Yankee both inside America and out. While stationed in Texas, a whole bar full of white people wanted to kick my but just because of my accent! I had to run for my life literally! All these things happened 30 years ago. Do I hate black people, Southern white people? No. I just remember what Bernard's mother said. Have things improved in 30 years? Yes. Are things perfect? No. The only way to defeat prejudice is not return it. A perfect example is Nelson Mandela. How he overcame his righteous fury and need for retribution is amazing to me. I don't believe I could have done it. Truly a man in a billion. Don't forget prejudice. It is always there in one form or another. A concentration of fear of the different. Just remember what Bernard's mom said.

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