About Shipwreck 4x4 Trail

This 4x4 route is a one-way drive along sandy, under-used roadways between Koingnaas and Kleinzee on the north-west part of South Africa's coastline, known as the Diamond Coast.

Expect gravel roads, soft sand (lots of it), pebble beaches and rocks.

The Shipwreck Tour is a guided route suitable for all-year driving, but it is extremely popular during the time of the spring flowers (end of July to Mid-September) because this part of the coast falls into the Namaqualand region.

The coastline, much of which is owned by De Beers, remains largely unchartered territory thanks to former diamond mining in the area. Paradoxically, mining the seabed along this northern Namaqualand coastline has left much of the coastline untouched, preserving a wealth of archaeological and fossil finds.

Huge stretches of coastline are devoid of commercialisation and development as a result and, as far as the eye can see, man's interference has been denied (the ocean floor is another story).

As its name suggests, the Shipwreck Trail links three major wrecks the Piratiny, Border and Arosa. All that remains of the Piratiny is a rusted shell and fragments of old leather shoes in amongst the mussel shells and plants only a few metres from the wreck.

These three tarnished, rusting ruins are not the only ships to have run aground. Poor weather and numerous rocky sections of coastline have put paid to many ships. But most of these were lost at sea.

In-between the wrecks are a series of historical, archaeological and geological sights as well as whales, dolphins and birds.

The coastline is a harsh one. What hasn't survived leaves only its bones and fragments as evidence whale bones, shell middens, some evidence of stone tools left by the Khoi in amongst boulders and crashing waves.

Need to Know

WhereThe closest town is Kamieskroon (+/- 80km), Northern Cape.

WhenPlease enquire. Booking is essential.

How muchPrices on request.

TelephoneLocal guide Dudley Wessels on +27 (0)83 305-2569

OvernightStay nearby in Kamieskroon, in Northern Cape


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