Hi-Tec SA

Olifantsbos shipwreck trail

Visit the Hi-Tec factory shop for great deals:
Mon - Fri | 09:00 - 17:30
Sat | 09:00 - 17:00; Sun | 09:00 - 14:00
 
+27(0)21 555 0707
Shop F1&F2 | Access Park | Chichester Rd
www.hi-tec.com
HiTec_SA
Hi-Tec SA

Olifantsbos shipwreck trail

A hike with Hi-Tec in the Cape Point Nature Reserve

Dutch born, J.K Van Der Luit, clearly remembers the day the Nolloth, his family’s coaster, was shipwrecked at Cape Point. “In 1963, we left Cape Town for Durban in stormy weather. We sailed painfully slow. At 1am or 2am that morning we started shipping water; and after about an hour the bilge pump gave up. Within two hours, we had taken on two metres of water. The vessel was very sluggish and we all went to the wheelhouse where, miraculously, and with the engine still running, my father was able to steer the vessel clear of the coast.

“All we could do was pray that the engine wouldn’t stall. I will never forget the sound of the ship smacking the beach.”

This, now rusty, piece of family history can still be seen partially submerged beneath the sand along the shipwreck trail at Olifantsbos.

Far from the madding crowd

As we pull up in the Olifantsbos parking lot at Cape Point a herd of bontebok are grazing on the outskirts of the beach. There isn’t a tour bus in sight, and it’s wonderfully quiet. I’m wearing my V-Lite Altitude Ultra Luxe WPi Hi-Tecs which do a great job of keeping the sand out, plus they keep me stable on the rocks.

What to bring

  • A map. Pick up a pamphlet at the Buffesfontein Visitors Centre. Written by volunteers, they’re a wealth of knowledge and will set you back just R3.
  • Hat and sunblock. You’ll need to bring your own shade for this walk along the beach.
  • Hiking shoes. For the rocky bits and path to the beach.
  • Water. Make sure you bring enough to keep you hydrated.
  • Camera. Cape Point has some of the most dramatic landscapes which makes for interesting photos.
  • Children from age 10 and up.
  • Warm top. It’s not called the Cape of Storms for nothing; the wind can be icy even when the sun is shining.
  • Don’t bring food with you, plan your picnic before or afterwards: there are sometimes baboons on this route, and they will be attracted to the food.

Routes

There are three routes that start and end at Olifantsbos which vary in length so you can choose between them depending on how much time you have and how energetic you’re feeling. Once you’re in the Cape Point Nature Reserve look out for the Olifantsbos turn off on the right. This will take you through the reserve and down to the beach where there’s a parking lot. You’ll get to enjoy the fynbos and occasional animal along the drive. Look out for the Thomas T. Tucker sign on the left if you’re facing the sea, this is the start of all three routes.

Thomas T. Tucker shipwreck trail
Easy
Follow the yellow tipped markers along the path down to the beach. You’ll leave the path through the fynbos behind as you clamber over a rocky section which will lead you to the beach. There’s plenty of interesting sea life in the rock pools at the water’s edge. Continue on along the beach until you see the remains of the Thomas T. Tucker – an American ‘Liberty Ship’ that struck the rocks while avoiding torpedoes in a night attack in 1942 (don’t worry, everyone on board survived). You can stop here for a break before returning the way you came or continuing on to see the Nolloth and following one of the circular routes back.

Duration: This 3km route will take about an hour and a half.

Shipwreck circuit
Easy
Carry on past the Nolloth shipwreck and up to the inland ridge. The path will lead back towards the Olifantsbos parking lot, go past the sign that turns off to Sirkelsvlei and keep going towards Staavia Edge.

Duration: This 5km route will take up to two and a half hours.

Sirkelsvlei circuit
Moderate
Sirkelsvlei is the largest body of fresh water in the area and is thought to be fed by underground springs. You can reach this route by following the path near the boom gate at the top of the road from the parking lot. You can choose which way to start out with when the path splits, the path on the sea side will take you along Staavia Edge and then around to Sirkelsvlei and then on to a rock shaped like an arch before leading back to Olifantsbos.

Duration: This 6.5 km circuit will take about three hours and 45 minutes.

What to look out for

Flora: The large stretches of open plains at Cape Point are home to over 1200 species of indigenous plants so there is plenty for plant lovers to discover. We stopped to admire the fields of white everlasting flowers (also known as Cape snow and sewejaartjie), they were covering the area looking very much like snow and filling the air with their rustling in the wind.

Fauna: We spotted ostriches, dassies, bontebok and snakes as well as a troop of chacma baboons who were foraging on the beach. There is plenty of birdlife in the reserve too. It’s great being able to walk freely in the reserve with the chance of spotting so much wildlife. You can also spot Cape mountain zebra, eland, Cape grysbok, red hartebeest and many others.

Trivia: This is the only place in Africa where the chacma baboons are protected. The herds of bontebok we spotted are the rarest antelope in the world and closely escaped extinction in the early 1900s.

Cape of Good Hope (Cape Point):
+27 (0)21 780 9010

Opening Times:
April - September (winter) 7am - 5pm
October - March (summer) 6am - 6pm

By Lindsay Callaghan

*Sponsored by Hi-Tec


Have a look at our Facebook album of the route and follow us on Twitter to find out where (and what) we’ll be hiking next. Plus, subscribe to our weekly newsletter for a seven day weather forecast.

Cape Town Events Calendar
May 2016
SUN MON TUE WED THU FRI SAT
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
8 9 10 11 12 13 14
15 16 17 18 19 20 21
22 23 24 25 26 27 28
29 30 31

cafe Roux SessionsCafé Roux Sessions in Noordhoek

Enjoy an intimate evening of live music with South Africa’s most talented ...

District Six Kanala Musical in Cape Town District Six - Kanala Musical

David Kramer brings another lekker local production to the Mother City

Whiskey LiveWade Bales Wine & Malt Whisky Affair

Channel your inner Scotsman, while also enjoying the best of SA’s famous wines

Oppiwater KunstefeesOppiwater Arts Festival on the MSC ...

Cruise into the sunset with a show that floats your boat

Cape Town Pro SurfCape Town Pro Surfing Competition

Aloha! Catch the big wave riders in action at this inaugural competition

Murder Mystery Dinners in Cape TownMurder Mystery Dinner Parties Cape Town

Intrigue, secrecy and cold-blooded killings are the order of the day at these ...

Cape Town Concert SeriesCape Town Concert Series at the Baxter ...

Add a sweet melody to the end of your summer with these stirring and soulful ...

Wine Flies Forgotten Route TourThe Forgotten Route Train Tour to ...

Take the road less travelled on a two-day adventure to the Klein Karoo

Optical Diversion ExhibitionOptical Diversion Exhibition at ...

Venture into a world of abstraction with this eye-catching show

Be a Hero at the BankBe a Hero for the Blue Collar Foundation

Grab your cape and fly to The Bank to break it down for a great cause

I See You at the FugardI See You at The Fugard Theatre

Witness an all-star cast and director bring this poignant play home

Underwater Photographer of the YearThe Underwater Photographer of the Year ...

Dive down deep into an underwater world of superlative photography

Cape Town Youth Choir Handel's Messiah 1SA College of Music Concert Series

Music has the power to inspire, and these scholars appreciate its true meaning

The Village Idiot Restaurant & Bar in Cape TownSunday Winter Craftsmen Braai at The ...

Celebrate the last day of the week with blazing fires and epic food experiences ...

Life-Rob Van Vuuren-3Life by Rob van Vuuren

Laugh out loud as Rob van Vuuren takes the funny back in time to the date of ...

Love Factually - 2Alan Committie in Love Factually

Love to be in love? Love to laugh? Then Alan Committie is your knight in ...

City Hall by Joshua OatesAutumn Symphony Season

A classical way to spend an autumn evening in the city

Backtracker Cycling Back UnitCycling Events in the Western Cape

Use this handy cycling overview to diarise your favourite events for the ...

The Underwater ExhibitionUnderwater Cape Town Exhibition

A kaleidoscope of skin comes to life in a popular pool

Strolla Restaurant and Bar in Sea PointPizza & Cocktails at Strolla Restaurant ...

Usher in the weekend with tasty nosh and dazzling concoctions at this new ...

marianne wine estate 6Dinner and Jazz Special at Marianne ...

Wind down with some great food and free live music every Friday evening

Om Revolution sunsetOutdoor Weekend Yoga Classes with The ...

Bend, stretch and meditate with this affordable mobile yoga studio in and ...

World of Adventure Logo FinalWorld of Adventure at ROOT44 Market

Grab the whole family and head down to this fun-filled play zone on the R44 in ...

KIN-Maria-Lebedeva-Safari-Unicorn_1024x1024.jpgSafari Series Limited-Edition Prints by ...

This meticulously crafted series of South African illustrations was inspired by ...

Bye Cycle Peddling the Promenade Cycle Tour in Cape TownPeddling the Sea Point Promenade Tour ...

CapeTownMag readers get a special discount on Fridays when booking a trip on an ...

Harald's Bar and Terrace at Park Inn Foreshore in Cape TownFriday Night Live at Harald’s Bar and ...

Ease into the weekend with some sultry tunes at this speak-easy rooftop shindig

Bay Harbour Market in Hout Bay Cape TownFriday Night at The Bay Harbour Market

Ring in the weekend with live music, craft beer, hearty fare and happy shopping ...

WeatherGiveawaysTravel Tips

Curious to make exciting discoveries in Cape Town every day? "LIKE" us for a daily hidden gem.