There is something final about the town of Mowe Bay. Tracing a line up the Skeleton Coast, the band of desert on Namibia’s north-western seaboard, it marks a full stop: this is where the road runs out. Turn to the Atlantic, and you are met by a thundering swell; turn inland, and you reach a dreamlike sea of sand dunes. For centuries, ships have been wrecked on this shore, overcome by strong, swirling currents. The sailors were succeeded by diamond prospectors, who arrived overland in the 19th century in search of new beginnings, only to lose fortunes. Today, the thousand-strong population of the town’s barking seal colony vastly outnumbers the human one.
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