Overview- Shipwreck Cycling
Shipwreck cycling is a 4- day self guided cycling tour exploring the the southern tip of Africa where the Atlantic and Indian Oceans meet. The route covers interesting villages with friendly people, unspoilt nature, unique fynbos and birds, stunning views and an interesting history of shipwrecks, fishermen and Khoikoi beach nomads
|Location||Bredasdorp, Arniston, L’Agulhas, South Africa|
|Group size||1+ people|
|Day Stages||Average 37 km|
|Distance||112 km (3 days)|
|Meals||Breakfast each day|
|Cost||Available on request|
|Dates||Oct to April is “High season”|
Shipwreck cycling is in the southern Overberg (“Over the mountain”) region of the Western Cape, South Africa. The route is along country roads and charming villages at the tip of the African continent where the Indian and Atlantic Oceans meet. The rugged, windswept coastal plain is geographically striking, with a rich natural and cultural heritage
Start in the town Bredasdorp and then charming historical villages such as Arniston, Struisbaai, L'Agulhas and Elim
The coastline is renowned for shipwrecks, and streets and businesses in Cape Agulhas bear the names of some ill-fated ships. These include Meisho Maru, St Mungo, Brederode, Nossa Senhora dos Milagros, Juno and Martha. Some 250 ships have been wrecked here over time. History and information at the Shipwreck museum in Bredasdorp and the old Lighthouse at L'Agulhas
Coast and Plains
Ride inland along sand plains, farmland, vineyards, wetlands and dunes and along interesting rocky and ruggedly beautiful coast.
Experience the Cape Agulhas National Park, which covers about 21 000 ha. It has more that 9000 species of flowering plants and the coastline supports a rich marine and intertidal life, with breeding sites of rare birds such as the African Black Oystercatcher. The focus is on some of the most splendid examples of lowland fynbos and lowland fynbos on limestone soils - considered endangered and restricted largely to the southern Overberg.
The Overberg area is the smallest plant kingdom in the world with the greatest number of different species. Of the nine thousand species, some can be found nowhere else. The Strandveld Agulhas Plain is unique and significant by international conservation standards due to its rich biodiversity. The Cape Floral Kingdom consists mostly of fynbos and renosterveld. Of the 800 Erica species in the world, more than 80 % grow in the Cape Floral Kingdom. Interesting plants in this habitat include the mountain bluebell, the flame red Bredasdorp lily, the granny bonnet and the Cape everlasting.
Stunning views, beautiful beaches, pebble bays, rock pools. Whale watching from September to November.
The country's second oldest working lighthouse was built at L'Agulhas in 1848. Other historical features include the 200 year old fishermen's village at Kassiesbaai and fisherman's cottages at Hotagterklip. You can also explore fish traps and other valuable historic and cultural legacy left by the Khoikhoi beach nomads who lived along this coastline for centuries.
Arrival in Bredasdorp and visit the Shipwreck Museum. Your cycling route will be along a section of the southernmost coastline of Africa. In the past this was one of the most dangerous parts for shipping, with an estimated 250 vessels and 2 500 people lost in its waters through the centuries. Generations of sailors have referred to this area as "Graveyard of the ships". Modern technology has made the sea routes much safer and is now an attractive area for eco-tourism.
Ride to Arniston,.
Arniston is a village where time has stood still; where the practices of generations of fishermen quietly continue without interruption. The name Arniston comes from the British transport/hospital ship that sank near the coast in 1815, with the loss of 372 lives. Today, however, Arniston is a favourite hideaway for holidaymakers. Activities in Arniston include angling, swimming, hiking, whale watching and watching the loaded fishing boats come into Arniston Bay.
Visit Kassiesbaai, a 200 year-old fishing village which is a national heritage site in its entirety. Arniston is also known as Waenhuiskrans because of the magnificent limestone cave across the dunes to the west of Roman Beach. This cave, according to a local theory, is so big that a wagon with a full span of oxen can turn around in it. Waenhuiskrans (Afrikaans) means "wagon house cliff’"and it can only be accessed at low tide.
Time Magazine has listed Arniston/Waenhuiskrans as one of the 10 most popular tourist destinations in the world.
Distance 26 km
Cycle from Arniston to Struisbaai and L’Agulhas.
Struisbaai is a pristine fishing village and a popular holiday destination. Boasting the longest continuous beach in the Southern Hemisphere, 14km of white sand extends from Struisbaai to De Mond Nature Reserve direction Arniston, providing safe bathing, boating and angling. The charming little harbour, originally built in 1959 but enlarged in 1990, serves both local fishing boats and ski boats for the flock of visitors in the town during the holiday season. The historical white washed fisherman’s cottages at Hotagterklip and the tiny thatch roof Anglican Church are all national monuments which have been restored.
You will ride along two oceans, the Indian and the Atlantic. First along the Indian Ocean side through Struisbaai. Then after having visited the lighthouse (the second oldest in South Africa) and the lighthouse museum to L’Agulhas. This is the southernmost town in Africa where the Indian and Atlantic Oceans officially meet. Early Portuguese seafarers rounding this dangerous point called it L’Agulhas which means Cape of Needles (referring to the jagged rocks of the coastline and also the fact that a compass shows no real deviation between true north and magnetic north at this spot). L’Agulhas gets its rich heritage from the shipwreck survivors of many nationalities who settled in this desolate place. The Japanese vessel, MFV Meisho Maru No. 38 got into difficulties in 1982 and the wreck is in a remarkably scenic spot, about two kilometres of the lighthouse at Cape Agulhas. Visit the Agulhas National Park, which has more than 9000 species of flowering plants and the coastline supports a rich marine and intertidal life, with breeding sites of rare birds such as the African Black Oystercatcher.
Overnight in Struisbaai or L’Agulhas
Distance 44 km
Cycle from Struisbaai to Elim, Elim, the oldest village in the Strandveld, as this region is known. The picturesque village with thatched roof cottages was founded as a self-supporting Moravian Mission station in 1824. Lunch and wine tasting at one of the wine estates in the Elim area
Transfer to Bredasdorp or home
Distance 42 km
We have selected a panel of guesthouses/hotels for your trip. Your booking will be made according to availability
Overall rating is Easy/Moderate. You do not need to be ultra-fit but certainly able to cycle between 30 and 55 km per day and able to cope with undulating countryside and some hills. See Cycling grades for more details about Moderate rating.
Day 1 - arrival: Day 2 - Easy: Day 3 - Moderate: Day 4 - Moderate
The Southernmost area offers a range of attractions and activities that can be added to your itinerary if you have specific special interests.
Our Route Manager can assist with bookings and advice.
When to book Shipwreck Cycling
The holiday can be booked any time of the year but the best time of the year to visit the area is when summer is drawing to a close and the tempestuous southeaster dies down to a little breeze.
The region has a Mediterranean climate with hot, dry summers and cool, wet winters. The climate is extremely mild, with no temperature or rainfall extremes. According to South African National Parks, the mean annual air temperature is 15°C, while the annual rainfall varies between 400- 600mm, with 60 – 70% of the precipitation occurring between May and October. Sea temperatures average between 21°C in summer and 14°C in winter. The region is the coldest during June when the mercury drops to 7°C on average during the night. Prevailing winds blow from the southeast in the summer and the northwest in the winter.
For international visitors:
Fly to Cape Town International airport and drive from Cape Town to Bredasdorp by car (175 km). Transfer can be arranged, if necessary
Route from Cape Town:
Driving from Cape Town take the N2 towards Somerset West . Drive through Somerset West towards Caledon. Take the R316 and follow this road to Bredasdorp
What to take
Wearing a helmet while cycling is mandatory and bicycles need to be equipped with basic repair kit. These items can be provided with bicycles rented via us. Bring your own if you prefer so. If you decide to bring your own, a MTB is the best choice (not a road bike or hybrid).
It is important to be comfortable when cycling. The best is to wear thin layers of clothing. Fast drying and hard-wearing synthetic fabrics are ideal as a base layer. These allow your skin to breathe and wick the moisture away from your skin to the next layer, avoiding the chill which cotton T-shirts can cause. A thin fleece or sweatshirt is ideal as the next layer. Also take a lightweight waterproof jacket (breathable and windproof material is best). Sport shoes are fine for cycling and for when you stop off to visit places on foot. For your daily needs, you are advised to have a day-bag, a plastic bag to line your day-pack (to protect the contents from rain), sunglasses, sun block, a water bottle, plastic picnic box (for transporting lunches), first-aid kit, camera, an extra plastic bag for litter and a mobile phone. Make sure that you are aware of exactly where water can be found each day and note that mobile phone is not available in some areas. Consult your Route Manager.
We recommend that you arrange appropriate holiday insurance giving you cover against illness, injury, and loss or damage to luggage. This insurance should also cover the possibility of your having to cancel your holiday for any reason.
Our detailed route notes and -description allow you to ride self-guided and at your own pace amid splendid scenery while we transport your luggage. As soon as we have finalised your booking we will specify your hotel schedule. (We are using different hotels/guest houses from time to time). The tailor-made Route guide include hotel details, route notes, maps and GPS references. Going self-guided is simple and convenient with our Route guide. It allows you to set out when you like, stop where you want and visit sites en route that are of interest to you. Our notes include information on monuments, places of interest along the way and suggested stops for lunch, wine tasting etc. The Route guide will be given to you on the date of your arrival. We can provide a file which can be imported to a gps or computer for navigation on a cellphone or gps device.
Availability and Booking
To enquire or reserve a date, go to: Availability request
For general information: Contact us, or
email: firstname.lastname@example.org, or
Booking process and -conditions - Go to How to book
Map of Southernmost region
Pictures of the Shipwreck Cycling route can be viewed in Shipwreck Cycling Gallery.
Comments by guests who have experienced a self-guided walking/cycling holiday offered by Trails and Travel in South Africa- "Overall, the holiday was invigorating- You certainly went out of your way to make the whole time memorable- We are recommending it to our walking community in the States- Fantastic walks, wines and accommodation" For details, go to Reviews
Some guest comments about the Southernmost area: ......" a great destination for cyclists. It is a place of stunning natural beauty and a destination where you really get off the beaten track and experience the local culture. The accommodation is of a very high standard."
More about the Southernmost region
Shipwreck Cycling is a self-guided cycling holiday to explore the Southern tip of Africa in the Overberg area.
The Shipwreck Cycling holiday was structured to offer the best of the area. For more information about the area, go to Read more
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