Shipwreck Trail, Eastern Cape

Hikers on the Trail Image source

ABOUT SHIPWRECK HIKING TRAIL
Start: Port Alfred 
Finish: Fish River Mouth near East London 
Duration: 69 km over five days 
Fitness: moderate 
Our tip: a six night version of the hike includes canoeing (fairly gentle paddle worth including in the hike); another includes an overnight in a game reserve at Lily Pad huts; there is also a slackpacker version of the hike
 
This six day, five night hike takes you along the Shipwreck Coast renowned for the number of ships that ended up on the rocks. The hike includes the sheer beauty of this wild, unspoilt strip of coast, beautiful estuaries, showering in the rough, cooking your food over a bush fire and a complete escape from civilisation. Overnight camps range from bush camps with a huge fireplace and basic dormitory-style sleeping to an historic, stone cottage and a treehouse suspended above a stream. Foam mattresses, cooking utensils and water are included. 
Despite its length the hike is not overly strenuous, covering between 7 and 14 kilometres a day. Days are spent walking the beaches of the coast whilst evenings are spent inland. Not all of the campsites are close to the coast and you can expect to hike as far as 5 km through riverine forest, or through farmlands to reach them.
The markers for the route are little sea anchors painted on wooden boards that hang from trees, although on the beach, trees are not a common occurrence and hikers rely more on landmarks for trail markers.
Shipwreck hiking trail is great for birding enthusiasts!
Google map: 

Last updated : 21-May-2019

This article was produced by South African History Online on 21-May-2019

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