Namibia: Skeleton Coast

99 Coastal Destinations Rated: Top Rated

Score: 75

The sand dunes and gravel plains of Namibia's northern coast "will test the endurance of any daring hiker." Thanks to a government-led concessions program, local residents may have a stake in the nascent tourism industry.

Here is a representative sampling of additional anonymous comments from the panelists. They are not necessarily the views of the National Geographic Society:

"A rich variety of landscape, both natural and cultural, that would amaze every visitor in quest of solitude and solace. The Atlantic surf, the rolling sand dunes of the Namib desert, and the misty veil of the morning fog scattering the rays of the sun offer a blend and hue unique in Africa."

"Few tourists and few people; low-impact camping areas. Good conservation of desert elephants and rhino. Incredible landscapes. Concessions program attracting ethical companies has helped get benefits to local people. The landscapes are epic."

"So long as political manipulation for tourism concessions doesn't succeed, the neighboring communities, who have organized into communal conservancies, will be the prime beneficiaries of tourism development, consistent with the government's own tourism policy."