The Thomas T Tucker Shipwreck Trail in the Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve

A historical prelude

When the first Europeans sailed southwards around the African continent and around the southernmost tip of South Africa at the end of the 15th century, they were searching for a sea route to India and the rest of Asia. They wanted to avoid the overland route across the Middle East, where they had to pay too many middlemen. Diogo Cão, Bartolomeu Dias, and Vasco da Gama were three Portuguese explorers who left their mark along this route, in the form of stone crosses (known as padrões), which they erected in various locations.

Google Earth screenshot: Southern Africa

Given the subsequent increase in sea traffic and the stormy conditions around the Cape, it is not surprising that there have been many, many shipwrecks along our coastline since those early days. According to the South African Heritage Resource Agency, more than 2700 vessels have been identified since 1500, and it is anticipated that further research and better technologies will bring that number closer to 3000. If you’re interested, you can see the extensive alphabetical list at SA Shipwrecks.com.

“These wrecks include vessels from 37 different nations, and can provide a wealth of information about the Portuguese explorers, the Dutch, English and French East India Companies, the British Royal Navy, 19th century passenger and mail shipping services and World War I and II shipping. Of local interest are the coasting vessels associated with fishing, whaling, mining, agriculture and other growing needs in South Africa, particularly during the last century.” (SAHRA website: Shipwrecks)

In addition to all the European nationalities, which sailed southwards through the Atlantic Ocean and got wrecked here, it is very likely that vessels from other nations along the Indian Ocean also explored this route:

“It seems unlikely that the Arab trading vessels encountered by the Portuguese as far south as Maputo on the east African coast, had not sailed the KwaZulu-Natal and possibly the Eastern Cape coasts. If so, the chances are good that some of these vessels could well have been lost along these coasts, both before, and subsequent to the arrival of the Europeans, and the discovery of such a wreck would have a significant impact on the interpretation of South African maritime history.” (SAHRA website: Shipwrecks)

Google Earth screenshot: Cape Point, the Cape Peninsula and False Bay

A look at the official Map of Cape Point, produced by Peter Slingsby, reveals that there are a large number of wrecks along the shoreline of the Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve. One area where they are particularly concentrated – and where some of them are easily accessible – is near Olifantsbos Bay on the western coast of the reserve.

A dry and factual listing of dates and ships’ names fails to convey the high drama that surrounds the destruction of a ship, the loss of lives onboard, and the loss of cargo. It also doesn’t capture the stormy seas, the howling gales, the impenetrably dense fog, the shock when a ship hits submerged rocks or reefs, the panicked scramble of passengers and crew to get to the safety of land…

All the evidence that remains are the fully or partially submerged wrecks, exposed by the tides, shifted by the currents, pummelled by the waves, and rusting and corroding in the salty seas.

Historical shipwrecks represent an important source of archaeological and historical information. They have often been likened to time capsules because, when wrecked, everything on board these floating communities was often preserved together in one place, and can be accurately dated to no later than the date of the wreck. Details about how vessels were built, the daily lives of the crew and passengers, cargo composition and stowage, navigation instruments, crockery, tools, clothing and even foods and medicines used aboard the ships can provide new historical insights. What’s more, the anaerobic, or low oxygen, underwater environment means that material – particularly organic remains – not preserved on other archaeological sites can be found on shipwrecks.” (SAHRA website: Shipwrecks)

The Thomas T Tucker Shipwreck Trail

Our destination last weekend was the hiking trail that runs along this particular section of the rocky shoreline. Appropriately called the Shipwreck Trail, it is named after the Thomas T Tucker, which is one of the most easily accessible wrecks, as parts of her hull lie right on the rocks and partly in the sand.

The Thomas T Tucker Shipwreck Trail starts here

We started at the signboard next to the parking area at Olifantsbos. We followed the sandy track vaguely in a vaguely southerly direction, until we reached a jumbled mess of rocks. Any uncertainty that this might not be the path was dispelled when we saw the route markers – thin wooden poles with a splosh of yellow paint ontop – sticking out of the rocks.

A jumble of rocks

A little further on, we were suddenly standing on the line between the indigenous fynbos and the rocky shore. It looked like the tide was out. Isn’t it interesting how the rocks closer to the water are darker, and the ones higher up become lighter, with the ones right at the edge being the whitest? I wonder why that is… I don’t think it’s lichen or algae that causes the differences in colour – could it be the guano from the birds? Or are they being bleached by the sun?

The rocky shore

We were slowly following the sandy track southwards, when I suddenly realised that the two brown-black bushes up ahead were in fact a pair of ostriches!

“Do you think it’s safe to continue?” I asked, coming to a stop and training the zoom-lens on them. I’m not used to encountering ostriches on foot, and I didn’t know how they would react. Perhaps the male would be grumpy because we’d disturbed them at their Sunday morning breakfast?

“Don’t worry, they’ll move away, just keep walking.”

“Yeah, … okay, do you want to walk ahead of me?” I busied myself with a few close-ups of plants – and oh! of a little rock agama that seemed to have lost its tail fairly recently!

I paused to sneak a glance sideways. Hubby was confidently striding along the trail, and – amazingly – the ostriches were moving away. Phew. I had to walk rather briskly to catch up.

I walk slowly past the ostriches, reassuring them that my long lens only shoots photos

In addition to the pair of ostriches, there were loads of other birds – the ubiquitous sea gulls of course, as well as cormorants, a handful of Egyptian geese, and a couple of Sacred ibises. I can’t remember seeing any herons or egrets, but they also live here along this shoreline.

The most interesting birds were the African black oystercatchers (Haematopus moquini)! They have bright red legs and bright red beaks and bright red rings around their eyes. Most of them were right down by the water’s edge, perching on the wet rocks, flapping into the air whenever a wave splashed close by, and alighting again immediately afterwards. They obtain most of their food from the intertidal zone, living off limpets and mussels, which they prise off the rocks.

African black oystercatchers – stunning, aren’t they?

“They are one of the world’s rarest oystercatchers and have a world population of only about 5 000 individuals. Despite their rarity you are bound to see them here – usually in pairs. They pair for life and are quite long-lived (40 to 50 years). During their breeding season (November to March), they are extremely vocal in defence of eggs or chicks and will not hesitate to tell you off, and attempt to lead you away from their offspring. It is important that you comply, because for as long as they are trying to lure you away, their eggs/chicks are exposed to the sun and predators.” (Mike Lundy, Easy Walks of the Cape Peninsula, pages 172-3)

These nests are usually just shallow depressions in the sand, near the high-tide mark, and they don’t even bother concealing them – so it is unsettlingly easy to step on them. They are very noisy birds, emitting a loud piping sound that is quite distinctive.

A kelp gull among the kelp

We followed the pair of ostriches onto an expanse of soft sandy beach, which was covered with piles of seaweed at the high-tide mark. The water was trying its best to push it further up the slope, and heaved and tugged at the brown fronds. Looking backwards, we saw the Olifantsbos Cottage and the adjacent old Skaife Environmental Education Centre, at the foot of a hill. If you like solitude, you can overnight in this very secluded cottage (have a look here). Amazing, isn’t it?

Kelp gull in flight

So far, we hadn’t seen the remains of any of the wrecks that were supposed to have come to grief on this rocky shore. (See the list below, if you’re curious.) Perhaps we should’ve been exploring the rocks closer to the water’s edge? But clambering across slippery algae and seaweed on sea-splashed rocks, while trying to avoid over-balancing into rockpools, is not my favourite terrain… Besides, I had to keep the camera safe and dry! 😉

The rusting remains of the Thomas T Tucker

There was so much mist in the air, fine spray from the sea and windblown beach sand, that I kept my camera wrapped safely in my scarf until I was ready to take a picture. As a result, by repeatedly getting myself all entangled in a flapping scarf, I missed a couple of nice shots of birds taking off and landing. I’ll show you some of the better ones.

I love the colours on this

Fortunately, when we did finally reach the remains of the Thomas T Tucker, it at least wasn’t moving, and I could have fun with some arty shots. 😉

“She was an American merchantman (7,176 tons) of a class known as “Liberty Ships”, whose construction made extensive use of a new riveting technique. At the height of World War II some of these vessels were built and launched within five days.

This vessel was on her maiden voyage, carrying military supplies, including six Sherman tanks, barbed wire, spares, lorries and other materials for the North African campaign when she missed Cape Town in a fog and struck Albatross Rock at 01h15. She was run aground with no loss of life at Olifantsbos, and her cargo successfully salvaged.

Three large pieces of her hull can be seen on the beach at Olifantsbos. A ferricrete road was constructed and a camp set up to salvage her. This lasted 5 months. During an attempt to refloat her in March 1943, the weather turned nasty, the hawsers between her and the tugs parted and she was washed portside onto the rocks.” (Geocaching.com: Thomas T Tucker)

Colourful planes

“Hey, what’s that over there?” I called across to hubby, who was closely examining the wreck.

He followed the line of my fingers, as I pointed towards a strange pale shape amidst the rocks.

“It’s just a dead bird…”

“No, I don’t think so. I think it’s bigger.”

It turned out to be a kind of hammerhead shark. Intrigued, as we’d never seen one up close before, we hopped, slipped and slid across the rocks, trying to avoid the slimy algae-covered bits. The carcass was huge. Much larger than I’d expected.

And somehow, inexplicably, without knowing where the feelings came from, I found myself getting a lump in my throat, and my heart ached with grief at the death of this extraordinary creature…. so I said a quick respectful prayer for his soul, and made my way back across the slippery rocks to the path, feeling deeply moved. I wasn’t sure whether I should include the photo below on the blog, or whether it would be somehow disrespectful. After all, we don’t normally post photos of dead animals on our blogs… What do you think?

A hammerhead shark among the rocks

Around the corner from the Thomas T Tucker, we reached the wreck of the Nolloth. It had partly sunk into the sand, caressed by gently lapping waves.

The Nolloth was “a Dutch-registered coaster wrecked in 1965. She was carrying a large cargo of liquor, which attracted droves of people hopeful of picking up a little something on the beach. Alas, the Department of Customs and Excise had arrived first and set up camp. The ruddershaft and crankcasing are still visible, indicating that these are the remains of the stern section.” (Mike Lundy, Easy Walks of the Cape Peninsula, page 171)

A final look back at the ocean

Towards the end of the beach, we spotted the now-familiar wooden trail markers among the white dunes, just on the edge of the fynbos. We duly turned inland – although we could probably have continued on a little further to investigate the next beach too. The path ascended gently through an area of dense fynbos, inhabited by loads of birds.

I had the ‘wrong’ (wide-angle) lens on again, though, so – alas – I can’t show you any photos of said birds. You’ll just have to imagine trudging slowly up a sandy track, in the midst of fragrant fynbos, listening to cheerful twittering and tweeting, warbling and chirruping, and admiring the fluttering and flapping, swooping and gliding creatures of the air. It’ll make your heart glad, so it will.

A fascinating spider! From the top

Slingsby’s Map indicated the presence of an Old Customs Camp on our left, right next to a track that was supposed to go in the direction of the Olifantsbos Cottage. But even though I kept my eyes peeled – we saw neither of these! It was most puzzling and mysterious. I guess we’ll just have to go back again for another look?

After traversing a rocky section, we reached the plateau.

“I propose…” I announced, turning around and beaming at my fellow-hiker.

“… that we have TEA?” he completed my sentence, smiling happily.

“Yes.”

“Oh good.”

It was more than a little windy up here on the exposed plateau, however, and with no obvious shelter visible, we continued our march. Tea and sandwiches are not improved by a film of fine beach sand. Luckily, the perfect picnic spot was right on our path: an unusually shaped rock, appropriately referred to as The Pointer on the map.

Picnic under the Pointer

Once the weight of the rucksack had been reduced substantially (a full thermos flask of tea and a tupperware container of fruit can be surprisingly heavy), we strode on energetically. Up ahead, at a three-way intersection marked with a rustic route sign, we took the left fork back to the Car Park – the right had come from the Sirkelsvlei circular trail, which we had done the previous week. We continued along the path, a stretch known as the Staavia Edge, looking down on the Olifantsbos Cottage at the foot of the hill.

“Do you feel like exploring the ruins of the blockhouse?”

“Yes, we just have to find the path…”

A ruin on the hilltop tempts the intrepid explorers

And so we did. It wasn’t a particularly well-trodden path, mind you, but it was definitely a path.

There were two buildings – well, three, if you count what was most likely an uithuisie or outhouse. The larger building must’ve been the living quarters; it was subdivided into two bedrooms (I guess), as well as a kitchen and a shower (judging from the holes where the pipes must’ve come out).

“The blockhouse was built around 1940. This one was known as Bosch and was one of a number of observation posts providing coastal surveillance for the naval base at Simon’s Town. The Germans are unlikely to have tried to attack Simon’s Town, with its impressive gun batteries, from the sea. The fear was that they might attempt a landing on the Atlantic coast of the southern peninsula and attack overland, from behind. … the observation post was manned but not armed.” (Mike Lundy, Easy Walks of the Cape Peninsula, page 171)

Definitely a hill with a view

The smaller building, slightly higher up at the top of the hill, was the observation post itself. And what a magnificent view it had! Looking north, I think we could even see the Slangkop lighthouse at Kommetjie?! Looking southwards, we could just make out the wreck of the Thomas T Tucker. The waves were breaking over it, and it was partially submerged, indicating that the tide had indeed come in during the last hour.

Isn’t that a magnificent view?

Most content at having explored the ruins at last, we returned to the main path, and followed it back down to the carpark. En route, I insisted on another little detour to see whether we could find the Graveyard that was also marked on the map. This proved quite unsatisfactory. But we did, eventually, find one single overgrown and neglected grave marked by a wooden cross.

Who is the mysterious Sheila Kallis?

The stone bore the inscription: Ter Gedagtenis aan ons suster Sheila Kallis. (In memory of our sister Sheila Kallis.) We couldn’t find any other information. If you know who she was, and why she is buried here, please tell me?

All in all, this had been a most delightful and enjoyable hike.

P.S. The final section after the Photo gallery is a description of the wrecks that occur along this stretch, just in case you are as intrigued by their histories as I am.

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Wrecks along this trail

Sorted chronologically, the following shipwrecks have been identified along this trail. I found some information on the German language Kapstadt.de website, but the longer sections were extracted from the supremely informative Geocaching.com website.

  • 1786 – Lucia Emerentia – I have not found any further details of this ship.
  • 11 May 1786 – HNMS Holland – a Dutch frigate, en route from Holland to Java, shipwrecked in the middle of the night – 8 people lost their lives.

“The Holland was the first recorded casualty along this notorious stretch of coast. She was a Dutch frigate commanded by Captain Willem Silvester and was one of a fleet of Dutch National frigates bound from Holland to Java. She was wrecked here on 11 May 1786. Eight lives were lost.

The authorities were soon alerted of the disaster despite the inaccessibility of the sparsely inhabited terrain. Christoffel Brand, Postholder (Resident Magistrate) at Simon’s Town then sent a message to Johannes Soubleé, a Swiss who lived near the wreck, asking him to provide more information. This he did and Brand sent food and drink to the survivors and arranged a rescue mission to the site whereafter the survivors were taken to Simon’s Town. Fifty-two men were taken into company service while the remainder proceeded in two warships, the Goes and the Juno, to India.” (Geocaching.com: HNMS Holland)

  • 25 December 1805 – Le Napoleon – French privateer, driven ashore by the British Navy frigate Narcissus.

“One of the first ships to run aground off the west coast of Cape Point Nature Reserve was this French privateer with 250 French marines on board. In order not to fall into the hands of a British Naval frigate, the Narcissus, which had hunted her for two days, she was run ashore here. Two weeks later the marines were seconded by the Dutch and involved in the battle of Blaauwberg. Here is the letter from the commander of the Narcissus.

His Majesty’s Ship Narcissus
2 Leagues off the Cape of Good Hope
Christmas Day 1805.

Sir, Yesterday afternoon while we were anxiously looking out in the ship I command for the Squadron and convoy under your orders, we discovered a ship coming from the land about Table Bay in chase steering down before the wind; she approached within eight or nine miles, and then hauled her wind from us. We instantly pursued, and kept her in view until half past nine at night, when the weather became so thick that we lost sight of her.

Judging, however, from her fast sailing she was a Ship of War, and most likely push back for the Cape Town to give intelligence of our being on the coast, I plied to windward all night to cut her off, and at daylight had the pleasure of seeing her, though still at a considerable distance to windward. At 9 o’clock we neared fast, and fearing she would make in for the shore I used every endeavour to prevent it, but without effect, as she was still to windward of us, and after various manoeuvres to escape close to the surf along shore, and both keeping up a partial fire, we compelled her to run aground.

Soon after we observed her three masts and bowsprit go by the board and her boats went adrift. The people on board from a Dutch sloop captured by ourselves informed us the vessel we ran on shore was a French ship Le Napoleon of 32 thirty-pounder (short guns) and 250 men, and had sailed from Table Bay. She had on board the Ordnance & Company of L’Atalante, a French frigate lately lost there.” (Geocaching.com: Narcissus)

  • 6 June 1817 – L’Alouette – French ship (King’s transport), sank at Albatross Rock due to dense fog, en route from Rochefort-sur-Mer to Reunion – one child drowned.

“The L’Aloutte was a French naval ship commanded by Lieutenant Claude Rigodit on a voyage from Rochefort-sur-Mer to Reunion. Her grounding was exemplified by discipline of the highest order. She had sailed on 3 April 1817 with 15 passengers, seventy naval seamen and a cargo of Government supplies. She hit Albatross Rock on the 6th June 1817 at 06h00 in heavy fog and a rough sea caused by the winter northwesters.

Fortunately there was no panic and all the passengers and crew apart from a small boy made it safely to shore. This happened when the wife of one of the naval officers lost control of him after a large wave hit her lifeboat as she was preparing to climb in. Looking to the south, you will see the remnants of the road that was built to recover the cargo from the Thomas T Tucker.” (Geocaching.com: L’Alouette)

  • 3 June 1859 – Anne – a schooner yacht, shipwrecked in dense fog en route from Rio de Janeiro to Table Bay (Cape Town). Additional information on the Geocaching website suggests, however, that this vessel was wrecked further to the north near Blouberg Strand, which I find a little puzzling. If you can shed light on why Peter Slingsby’s map locates the ‘Anne’ here at Cape Point, rather than at Blougberg Strand, I’d be most grateful:

“The Anne was a 96 ton schooner commanded by Captain Thomas Armson and had a crew of eight. She had sailed from Rio de Janeiro to Cape Town on 11 May 1859 with 1650 bags of coffee. She was wrecked in thick fog on a reef near Blouberg Strand at 21h30 on 3rd June 1859. Here is his account at the enquiry:

I hereby declare that on the evening of the 3rd June the scooner Anne, of Cape Town, whilst running in for the land to enter Table Bay, was stranded on a reef about four miles to the northward and westward of Cape Point, at a place called Blouberg Strand. The particulars are these…. At 21h00 I had gone below and had been down about 20 minutes when the chief officer sang out, “come on deck for a moment. I think there may be a difference in the colour of the water.”

I ran up on deck and immediately ordered the helm down but before the ship could come round, she struck; the sea then broke over the taffrail.The crew then clewed up and furled sails and prepared the lifeboat ready to hoist out. The vessel after half an hour slewed round, side on to the sea, which now made a clear break over her, making it difficult to hold on. Fortunately there were no lives lost due the second mate James Taylor’s heroic act of swimming ashore with a line at great risk to himself by which the other crew managed to get ashore.” (Geocaching.com: Anne)

  • 3 June 1886 – Caterina Doge – an Italian wooden barque, en route from Cardiff to Table Bay (Cape Town) – 5 sailors died.

“The Caterina Doge was an 856 ton Italian wooden barque and commanded by Captain Filippe. She left Cardiff bound for Cape Town on the 4th March 1886 with 1326 tons of coal. She had a crew of 16. At 05h45 on the 3rd June she was estimated to be twenty-five to thirty miles from land. The vessel was under topsails and foretopsail, and steering east-south-east, when at 06h00 the captain spied land through the darkness and rain and gave orders to ‘about ship’. She would not come about. She struck almost immediately and fell over to seaward.

To prevent the ship breaking up the rigging of the main and mizzen masts was cut and the masts fell overboard. The ship swung round with her bow facing offshore and broke amidships with men on both sections. With great difficulty the captain and ten of the crew gradually managed to swim ashore, whilst five others drowned, the mate, second mate, two seamen and the cabin boy.

The men are apparently buried in an area still known as the Italian Cemetery (S34 15.752 E18 23.083), just above the private road to Olifantsbos Cottage. The wreck only fetched £20, so presumably the cargo was lost.” (Geocaching.com: Caterina Doge)

  • 07 Aug 1886 – Carlotta B – an Italian Barque, shipwrecked en route from Cardiff to Table Bay (Cape Town).

“The 759 ton Carlotta B was bound for Table Bay with a cargo of 1079 tons of coal. Her Captain was N.L. Rolandi. At 06h00 on the 7th August 1886 she was expected to see the Cape of Good Hope light. According to the Captain’s calculations he was within its radius at 03h00 but it was not visible. Rolandi became alarmed and called all hands on deck, stowed the upper topsails and gave orders to wear ship. At around 03h30, whilst the crewmen were stowing the topsails, the ship struck Platboom Point.

The wreck was spotted by the Pretoria who signalled Cape Point light. The tug Tiger was sent to the scene, however the crew was conveyed to Simonstown by wagon the next morning. On the 11th August a strong southeaster broke up the ship and a considerable portion of the wreck was washed up on a 3 mile stretch Muizenberg beach. This included 5 gallons of gin and a brass plate with the ship’s name on it.” (Geocaching.com: Carlotta B)

  • 18 September 1917 – SS Bia – Swedish freighter, capsized during the night, en route from Scandinavia to the Persian Gulf – 4 men died.

“The Swedish freighter the 3,344 ton Bia built in 1905 had a crew of 32 and met with a different fate. She struck Albatross Rock at 21h30 on 18 September 1917. They mistook the old Cape Point light for a steamer which caused them to head straight for the rocks and run aground. News of her grounding reached Simon’s Town and three ships were sent, and took off the Second Officer with the ship’s papers.

The remainder of the officers and crew refused to leave the stranded vessel. During the night the swell increased dramatically. The next morning, two of the lifeboats cast off, but before they could reach the rescue vessels, one of the boats capsized and three men drowned. The remaining 14 crew-members on board the Bia had to use a rocket-line fired from Clara (one of the rescue vessels).” (Geocaching.com: SS Bia)

  • 27 November 1942 – Thomas T Tucker – An American liberty ship en route to the Suez canal with a load of military supplies; it hit Albatross Rock during a night of dense fog, and sank.

“She was an American merchantman (7,176 tons) of a class known as “Liberty Ships”, whose construction made extensive use of a new riveting technique. At the height of World War II some of these vessels were built and launched within five days.

This vessel was on her maiden voyage, carrying military supplies, including six Sherman tanks, barbed wire, spares, lorries and other materials for the North African campaign when she missed Cape Town in a fog and struck Albatross Rock at 01h15. She was run aground with no loss of life at Olifantsbos, and her cargo successfully salvaged.

Three large pieces of her hull can be seen on the beach at Olifantsbos. A ferricrete road was constructed and a camp set up to salvage her. This lasted 5 months. During an attempt to refloat her in March 1943, the weather turned nasty, the hawsers between her and the tugs parted and she was washed portside onto the rocks.” (Geocaching.com: Thomas T Tucker)

  • 10 April 1965 – Nolloth – a Dutch coaster, that sank at Duikerklip; the crew was rescued by helicopter.

“A Dutch coaster of 347 tons, built in 1936 at Waterhuizen and commanded by Capt A. van der Luit. She was wrecked in this location on 30 April 1965 after striking the infamous Albatross Rock. She plied between Table Bay and Durban and had on board a general cargo, including liquor, most of which was salvaged at the time. Her crew were one of the first to be rescued by helicopter off the Western Cape coast. She was on charter to African Coasters. She was cut up and demolished in 1966. If you head inland and back along the trail at this point, you can see a brown circular patch where the customs camp was set up to offload and secure her cargo for lorry trip back to Cape Town.” (Geocaching.com: Nolloth)

Also see:

18 thoughts on “The Thomas T Tucker Shipwreck Trail in the Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve

  1. Hi Reggie

    I enjoyed reading this very informative post — the best part for me, was learning that the oyster catcher is so rare. I took a photo of one at Simonstown about 2 weeks ago when we visited the submarine museum.

    Have a great day!

    • Hello Glynnis

      You know, when we were walking along the trail, I didn’t realise that those strikingly coloured birds were rare either – I didn’t even know what they were, except that there were many of them, and they were very noisy! It was only when I looked through my Wildlife Guide, that I realised what they were. Good on you for getting a picture of one!

      I am very curious to read all about your visit to the submarine museum. Simon’s Town is another one of those places that just begs for further exploration.

    • Thank you, Lisa. I’m glad you like the level of detail – I’m always concerned that my blog posts may be faaaar too long. But I’m not very good at keeping things ‘concise and factual’, and have been told that I tend to be a leeetle long-winded. But when I come across a long but interesting-looking blog post, I either bookmark it for later if I don’t have time, or I make myself a cup of tea, a sandwich or something to nibble, and settle down for a proper read. 😉

    • My concentration levels are often poor, so I’ll keep coming back to a long post again, until I’ve “absorbed” it all.

      Like the paragraph which starts with:

      “A dry and factual listing of dates and ships’ names fails to convey the high drama that surrounds the destruction of a ship, the loss of lives onboard, and the loss of cargo. . . .”

      It’s something I always wonder about when I see a wreck.

      Oh, and I’ve never seen ostriches on the beach!

  2. That was all very interesting. Such a wild & beautiful part of the Cape isn’t it.

    The “little white flowers” are Staavia. They’re one of my favourites – such happy little flower faces.

    I’m also very fond of black Oystercatchers. I find there rather rotund shape very comical. I’m astonished that there are only about five thousand left though. I seem to see them quite often, both here in the Cape and in the Garden Route. I know they have been protected for some time – maybe there population has increased since Mike Lundy wrote that book? or else I’m just extremely lucky!

    Sad about that shark. When I was there we saw remains of a whale and a seal – I guess the coastline is dangerous for sea animals as well as ships.

    • Yes, it definitely is. I’d like to do these routes around the reserve again sometime, to see how this area changes through the year. Thank you for identifying the Staavia for me – I guess the ridge is named after them!

      With regard to the Oystercatchers, I also wonder whether their numbers have increased – most of the websites I’ve found on Google mention dwindling numbers or that they are indeed still threatened, I haven’t found any recent updates.

  3. Hi Reggie,

    I really enjoyed your post, very interesting and loved all your photographs. Well done!!

    If I look at the very big body and wide mouth of that shark it may be a Whale Shark – I am not an expert, so I am not sure.

    Enjoy your week.

  4. the first explorer to cross the tip of South Africa, the cape of good hope, named by the Portuguese king was “Diogo cão” and not “Diego cão” he is a portuguese explorer and “Diego” is a Spanish name. And Spanish explorers never go to that place and is that time spanish do not dream in explore the sea

  5. The present house at Olifantsbos was owned by the Kallis family. Boetie Kallis (boereorkes fame) grew up there. Jacques Kallis the Protea cricketer is also part of the family. My mother Charmaine Callcut and her father, mother and sister were at the now demolished house next to the parking area, there when the Thomas T Tucker came aground. My mothers maiden name : Charmaine Naude , mother – Iris, father – William Naude and sistet Wendy. I have an old black and white photo of the old house.

    • Hi there Gary,

      My mother is the grand-daughter of John and Maria Kallis, the Kallis’s you were referring to, to which Olifantsbos belonged. Her mother is Irene van der Merwe (nee Kallis) sister of Boetie and Jack (from the boereorkes).

      Is it possible for you to please email me the photo you were referring to above. My mother would love to have a copy of it, she spent a lot of time there as a child.

      My mother thinks that Sheila Kallis is either the daughter or sister of Paul Kallis, a cousin of Boetie and Jack etc.

      Thanks a lot

      Yolande Reynecke

  6. Na my nota van 7 Februarie 2013 (jammer dat ‘n e weggelaat is) het ek ‘n geslagregister van die Familie Kalis/Kallis op Google opgespoor.

    Volgens hierdie geslagregister
    (a) was Boetie Kallis en Jacques Kallis (SA krieketspeler) se pa neefs;
    (b) was Sheila (Silla) Kallis (grafsteen in bostaande artikel) ‘n suster van, onder andere, Henry
    Walter Stephen Kallis (Jacques se pa) en Paul Hendrik Stephanus Kallis.

    Sheila, Henry Walter Stephen en Paul Hendrik Stephanus Kallis se ouers was Cornelius (Kerneels) Jacobus Johannes Kallis en Gerbrecht Christina Dorothea Marais.

  7. Pingback: I visit Cape Point: The (almost)-southernmost tip of Africa « The Fantastical Voyages of Flat Kathy

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