Shipwreck Trails At Cape Point: A Historic + Mysterious Hike

Cape Point Nature Reserve Shipwreck Jenny Hallward

Explore the Cape’s perilous past on one of these fascinating walks.

With a nickname like Cape of Storms, it’s unsurprising to learn that Cape Point has an ill-fated history. Fearsome, rocky outcrops, plunging cliffs, gale-force winds and tempestuous storms are just some of the conditions intrepid sailors and their crew have had to endure when braving our coastline. Some vessels have met success; others not. Today, rusted remnants of the ones who didn’t make it remain, offering a fascinating glimpse into the past.

Perhaps two of Cape Point’s best-kept secrets are the Thomas T. Tucker and Sirkelsvlei trails. Both start and end at the Olifantsbos parking area, which is clearly indicated along the main road.

Cape Point Nature Reserve Thomas T Tucker Shipwreck

Covid precautions SANParks requests that guests adhere to all official Level 2 regulations, which include wearing masks, social-distancing and following transport-capacity directives.

Check the weather Though these are year-round trails, the weather can be rough during winter, while January and February can be very windy, so check the weather before visiting.

A note about safety Although the Cape is rich in natural beauty, tourists and locals alike are urged to take necessary precautions when exploring secluded areas, as crimes and accidents do happen.
Those venturing into the Table Mountain National Park should have the following emergency numbers on hand: 086 110 6417/ 107 or 021 480 7700. Criminal incidents should be reported to the nearest police station as soon as able.
We also recommend @safetymountain as a useful resource for hikers. This free safety tracking service allows you to notify local trackers of your contact details, intended route, and travel time via WhatsApp. You are then able to provide hourly updates on your progress, and to notify trackers when you are safely off the mountain.

Olifantsbos Trail: A short, accessible walk

Shipwreck Trails Cape Point
Jose Romeu de Abreu

Also known as the Olifantsbos trail, this is the shortest and most easily accessible walk. It leads down to the beach through fynbos foliage where the prominent SS Thomas T. Tucker, wrecked in 1942, lies. This former WWII troop and weapons transport vessel is Cape Point’s most photographed wreck and its hull is home to local birdlife.
Length 3km hike
Duration Around 1 hour and 30 minutes
Intensity Relatively easy
Dog-friendly? No

Before heading back or continuing on to Sirkelsvlei, rest near the Nolloth, a liquor carrier wrecked in 1965. After that, you can follow guided tours to see more coastline wreckage.

Sirkelsvlei Trail: Pan the landscape

Cape Point Nature Reserve Landscape

The Sirkelsvlei route takes you across the rugged landscape and past the Sirkelsvlei pan, which is home to rare animals such as hartebeest and bontebok, so keep a weather eye on the horizon.
Length 7.5 km
Duration Around 3 hours
Intensity Relatively easy
Dog-friendly? No

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Cape Point Nature Reserve Cape Point Road Cape Town


021 780 9010


The Inside Guide has made every effort to ensure that the information in this post was correct at the time of publication. However, we do not assume any liability caused by errors, such as price, cost, time, and location.

Time of publication: 26 August 2020