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AAlthough many ships lie deep below the icy waters off Cape Point, others can still be seen today on the Olifantsbos shipwreck trail, also known as the Thomas T Tucker shipwreck trail.
Since the trail falls within the Cape Point Nature Reserve, an added bonus is walking amid the indigenous flora and fauna to be found at this southern tip of the African continent. More than 1 200 endemic plant species grow here, and free-roaming wildlife includes baboon, Cape mountain zebra, red hartebeest, ostrich, Cape grysbok and bontebok.
Right on the water’s edge you’ll see distinctive African black oystercatchers with red legs and beaks, and the ubiquitous kelp gulls, often squabbling over a kelp frond.
You can pick one of three routes from Olifantsbos, all of which end at the departure point.
The easy 3km Thomas T Tucker trail marked in yellow takes you down to the water. Not far along you’ll find the remains of an American liberty ship, the Thomas T Tucker, which struck Albatross Rock on her maiden voyage during wartime in 1942. Further on you’ll come across the Nolloth, a Dutch coaster wrecked in 1965 with a full load of liquor, long since removed by the authorities!
For a longer 5km walk, keep going past the Nolloth and the parking lot to Sirkelsvlei, named for the spring-fed wetland to be found here.
Another trail leads on to Staavia Edge, a vantage point from which you can see Olifantsbos cottage at the base of the hill.
The drive out to Cape Point Nature Reserve is scenic and relaxing, setting the pace for your peaceful stroll in nature once you arrive.
TTravel tips & planning info
Who to contact
Buffelsfontein Visitors Centre
Tel: +27 (0)21 780 9204
Cape Point Information Centre
Tel: +27 (0)21 780 9010/11
How to get there
Drive to the Cape Point Nature Reserve. Take the Olifantsbos turn-off to the right, which goes via the reserve to the beach where you can park.
Best time to visit
April to September (winter) 7am - 5pm; October to March (summer) 6am - 6pm.
Things to do
Spend some time at Cape Point – take the Flying Dutchman Funicular from the car park to the upper lighthouse, visit the lighthouses, and have lunch at the Two Oceans restaurant with one of the most spectacular views in the world.
What to pack
A map of the trail – pick one up at the Buffelsfontein Visitors Centre – plus hat, binoculars, camera, sunscreen, hiking shoes, bottled water and a light jacket.