Noordhoek, Cape Town

The Wreck of the SS Kakapo

Monuments / Sight Seeing in or near Noordhoek, Atlantic Seaboard in Cape Town, South Africa.

Things To Do in NoordhoekThe Wreck of the SS Kakapo

Miscellaneous Monuments Sight Seeing Atlantic Seaboard

Where? The Wreck of the SS Kakapo, Long Beach, Kommetjie / Noordhoek, Cape Town

When? Best during daylight hours.

How much? Free

Overnight? Stay at accommodation in Noordhoek, in Western Cape

The SS Kakopo, a 665 ton schooner rigged steamship, wrecked herself on the peninsula’s Long Beach on the Atlantic coastline on 25 May 1900 - one of many ships to litter South Africa’s treacherous, rocky shores.

The deadly combination of storms, fog, strong ocean currents and inhospitable cliffs, rocks and reefs wreaked havoc with early seafarers (360 shipwrecks in Table Bay alone).

The SS Kakopo was on her way to Sydney from the United Kingdom with a cargo of coal when she ran aground on the Cape of Storms, having encountered a north-westerly gale that severely impaired the ship’s crew’s visibility with driving rain (typical winter conditions for Cape Town).

Mistaking Chapman’s Peak for Cape Point, the ship ended up on the beach. No lives were lost and the crew could actually alight on the sand. But no amount of leveraging could get her back into the water.

Legend has it that the captain refused to leave the ship, so mortified was he at the mishap. Some say he lived onboard for as long as three years. The historical shipwreck rests closest to the Kommetjie side of Long Beach and many hikers walk the length of the beach to pass its remains.

It is entirely up to you as to which way you come at this 8 km stretch of beach (it isn’t called Long Beach for nothing). Hikers prefer coming at it from Noordhoek for the beauty of the walk. But be aware that this is a lonely stretch of beach and you need to do the walk in a group.

The boiler, ribs and rudders that remain resting in the sand, like ghostly reminders, provide a fine subject for serious photographers. All that is left of the vessel’s stern is a vertical, rusted duo pillar.

Bear in mind that the sand tends to have a life of its own, and at different times, various parts of the ship are exposed - making it an evolving exhibition.

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