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
June 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

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

David Kramer brings another lekker local production to the Mother City

Echo of a NoisePieter-Dirk Uys in The Echo of a Noise ...

See the legend live on stage in this one-man memoir

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 ...

Rick's Cafe Table PeopleRick’s Café Americain’s Weekly ...

Pop over to the charming Casablanca-themed restaurant for a hearty meal that ...

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 ...

Horseback safari at AquilaHorseback Safari at Aquila Game Reserve

Ditch the regular, old game drive and saddle up for an up-close experience with ...

Swordfern Hair and Beauty Salon 5Half-Price Men’s Haircut at Swordfern ...

Every Tuesday this trendy wellness studio trims 50% off its ‘Be a ...

Park Inn Newlands Happy Hour SpecialHappy Hour Special at the Park Inn ...

Pop in to this slick hotel for buy-one-get-one-free drinks any day of the week ...

Boy Girl Hair Salon SignHaircut Special at Boy Girl Hair

Marry a tip-top cut with any of this edgy salon’s other services and save

Live Jazz Music at Asoka on TuesdayLive Jazz at Asoka Restaurant

Turn your Tuesday up a notch with this trendy hotspot’s vibey dinner and ...

Vintage Expo 1The Winter Vintage Extravaganza

Winter is the time of hot chocolate, cold weather and shopping galore

Cape Quarter ExteriorFREE Weekly Yoga Class at Cape Quarter

Enrich your physical, mental and spiritual state every Tuesday evening at this ...

Benguela Exterior NighttimeFine Dining at Benguela on Main in ...

Sample world-class wines and daringly deconstructed French classics in this ...

Burst 1The Burst Exhibition at Gallery MOMO

Challenge the stereotypes attached to the black female form

Signal Hill Terrace and Lounge InteriorTapas and Wine Special at Signal Hill ...

Wine, dine and relax every Tuesday at this stylish CBD haunt

Snow World 5Snow World Snow Park at GrandWest

It’s finally going to snow in Cape Town!

Optical Diversion ExhibitionOptical Diversion Exhibition at ...

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

Beerhouse Restaurant and Bar in Cape TownPub Quiz Night at Beerhouse on Long ...

Test your general knowledge at this Long Street-based haunt’s Tuesday pub quiz

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

Excentric InteriorTransformation Tuesday at Excentric ...

First-time clients will receive a complimentary Olaplex in-salon treatment when ...

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 ...

Backtracker Cycling Back UnitCycling Events in the Western Cape

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

Burn the FloorBurn the Floor Dance Show at the Baxter ...

Sinfully sexy, this dance showcase is about to get hot!

HQ Date performerTuesday Romantic Date Night at HQ ...

Treat your loved one to an evening of succulent steaks, red wine and romantic ...

The Underwater ExhibitionUnderwater Cape Town Exhibition

A kaleidoscope of skin comes to life in a popular pool

mischu coffee showroom in sea point cape townFree Coffee Beans and Capsules at ...

Simply mention CapeTownMagazine.com while placing an order of coffee beans or ...

Boschendal Wine FarmPicnic Lunches at Boschendal Wine Farm

Delight in an alfresco feast at one of the most picturesque wineries in the ...

OmniBlend6Quick and Easy Broccoli and Peanut Soup ...

We teamed up with the folks at OmniBlend blenders HQ to bring you this tasty ...

WeatherGiveawaysTravel Tips

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