Hike #30: Olifantsbos Shipwreck Trail

Nobody wants to do too much just a few days before Christmas, so our last hike of 2016 was exceptionally easy. In fact, Alison did the entire thing in flip flops. (Actually, this was because she forgot to put proper shoes on. You see, when you’ve just spent a month in Bali, flip flops are the only footwear you can remember how to wear.)

Alison was very happy to be able to invite her long lost schoolfriend Liz, who she’s known since she was 4, but hasn’t seen in about 20 years. Luckily for Liz (and Catherine, who bravely made another guest appearance, despite her Noordhoek Peak Pain), we did not get lost on this hike.

That’s because it’s remarkably straightforward. (And possibly also because Alison had done it a couple of months ago.) You walk along the beach, keeping the sea on your right until you reach the rusty old wreck of the SS Thomas T Tucker. Then you walk along a bit more and look for a path leading straight up the hill with a sign next to it. Then you walk back along the hill, through the eland, keeping the beach – on which there are now ostriches – on your left. Even Martin couldn’t find a way to make it perilous.

Hike details

Distance: 6km

Duration: 2 hours 45 minutes (1h 30 of actual walking)

Directions: If you don’t think my description of the route is quite precise enough, you can also use the Slingsby map of Cape Point.

Parking: From the main gate of Cape Point, drive along the road towards the lighthouse and take the right hand turn signposted to Olifantsbos. At the t-junction, turn left and then park in the parking lot right next to the beach.

Remember: To bring your MyGreen Card and ID book, for free entry into Cape Point. Otherwise it’s R135 per person (as of Jan 2017).

*Stats from Martin, our official record keeper.

Highlights of this hike

  • Somehow escaping the vast holiday hordes and having a beautiful sunny stroll along a white sand beach all to ourselves.
  • Exploring the wrecks of the Thomas T Tucker and the old WWII radar station.
  • Walking right through the middle of a large herd of at least 40 eland.
  • Impressing Liz by pretending to be an expert game tracker (“We’ll probably see eland soon, you always see eland around here… oh look, there are some eland.”)
  • Swimming and picnicking in the most perfect little sandy bay, with nobody else around except some bontebok. And even they moved off when Martin tried to sneak up on them and take photos…

Photographs of the Olifantsbos trail in Cape Point

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