Cape Cross is located on a promontory 60 kilometres north of Hentiesbay. In 1486 the Portuguese navigator and explorer Diego Cão, who was looking for a sea route to India, was the first European to go ashore here.
He erected one of the stone crosses (“Padrãos”) carried on his ship to document Portugal’s claims to sovereignty over the areas discovered. When a German surveying ship discovered this cross in 1893, it was brought to the Berlin Museum of Oceanography by imperial order and replaced by a new cross. The Namibian government had a second cross erected at the site of the original in 1986. In the National West Coast Recreation Area, less restrictive conservation regulations apply than for the Skeleton Coast Park. Namibians are allowed to build holiday homes here, fish here or indulge in cross-country driving.
Accordingly unattractive is the 150km long coastal strip north of Swakopmund for international tourists. The main attraction of the area is undoubtedly the Cape Cross ear seal colony, which can be up to 100000 animals depending on the season. Although protected, thousands of seals are legally killed every year because their fish consumption endangers the stocks and the bulls’ testicles can be sold dearly to Asia.
The driving distance from Terrace Bay to Cape Cross is 238 km, for which one should calculate a pure driving time of 3 hours and 15 minutes.
Distinctive points along the route are (again) the Uniab Delta, then the deserted and very inhospitable campsite of Torra Bay for most of the year (36 and 52 km respectively).
After another 62 km you reach Toscanini, another unsuccessful diamond mine, of which only the remains of a sorting plant remain.
A few kilometres to the south, an overturned drilling rig, which looks like a bizarre rust sculpture, testifies to equally unsuccessful oil seekers.
One finally leaves the Skeleton Coast Park at the gate at the Ugab estuary. From here it is about 80km to Cape Cross.