From the Skeleton Coast in the north to the Orange River in the south, Namibia has nearly a thousand miles of coastline. For much of that distance, the windblown dunes of the Namib Desert reach right to the pounding surf of the Atlantic Ocean, leaving a stark yet beautiful landscape. Shaped by the winds and largely unpopulated, Namibia’s coastal area is home to only a handful of towns and villages. Shipwrecks lie in place for decades, slowly reclaimed by the sea or the desert. In places, fur seals gather in huge numbers, mostly free from harassment. Collected here, a look at Namibia’s picturesque shores and dunes, its wildlife, and some remaining evidence of its time as a German colony.

1. The shipwrecked Zeila, near Henties Bay, photographed in January 2018
Lukas Bischoff Photograph / Shutterstock
2. Dunes line Namibia's Skeleton Coast.
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3. A black-backed jackal (Canis mesomelas) along the Namibian shoreline
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4. Seals swim and dive during a kayak tour near Swakopmund, Namibia, on June 24, 2017.
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5. A seal pup stands on an isolated Namibian beach.
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6. Wind blows sand across dunes where the Namib Desert reaches the Atlantic Ocean.
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7. The wreck of the Eduard Bohlen, a ship that ran aground on Namibia's Skeleton Coast in 1909, has—over the past century—been swallowed up by shifting sands, and now rests several hundred feet inland.
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8. A Namibian desert chameleon climbs through vegetation and sand dunes in the desert area of Dorob National Park, part of the Namib Desert, on the outskirts of Swakopmund, on February 17, 2016.
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9. A scene in Deadvlei, a valley among the dunes inside Namib-Naukluft Park, in Namibia, in January 2018.
Lukas Bischoff Photograph / Shutterstock
10. A sand dune encroaches on buildings in the ghost town of Kolmanskop, near Luderitz.
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11. A sand-filled room in a house in Kolmanskop, near Luderitz. Once a small, prosperous diamond-mining village, Kolmanskop declined when the diamonds became scarce, and has stood abandoned since the 1950s.
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12. The huge sand dunes of the Namib Desert reach the Atlantic Ocean at Sandwich Harbor.
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13. Aerial view of the historical district and shoreline of Swakopmund, Namibia
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14. A new housing development in Swakopmund
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15. An aerial view of Pelican Point Lighthouse on Walvis Bay
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16. Aerial view of a road between colorful commercial salt pans in Walvis Bay
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17. Dunes of the Namib Desert meet the waves of the Atlantic Ocean at Sandwich Harbor.
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18. A bottlenose dolphin jumps in Walvis Bay.
Arturo de Frias photography / Getty
19. An oil-drilling rig, operating out of Angola, is seen in the waters outside Walvis Bay for maintenance on June 24, 2017.
Gianluigi Guercia / AFP / Getty
20. Hundreds of pink flamingos rest in a lagoon near Swakopmund on June 24, 2017.
Gianluigi Guercia / AFP / Getty
21. A colony of Cape fur seals bask in the sun on Cape Cross, in the Kunene region of Namibia.
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22. Seals rest in the Cape Cross Seal Reserve on May 12, 2015.
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23. A panoramic view of the town of Luderitz. Founded as a trading post in 1883, the town is named after Adolf Lüderitz, the founder of the German South West Africa colony, which would become the independent country of Namibia in 1990.
Hannes Thirion / Getty
24. Windblown sand flies above the dunes of the Namib Desert along the Atlantic shore, in Namibia, southern Africa.
Umomos / Shutterstock