The Shipwreck Trail

Last updated: Jul 28, 2014

The Shipwreck Trail is a 6 day hike and canoe trail that starts in Port Alfred and makes its way to the Fish River mouth. The trail's name is a reminder of the many ships that have run aground along this rugged coastline over the years. Not many of these shipwrecks are still viewable today, but the legacy of this rough stretch of coastline still remains.

The trail is spread over a 65 kilometre hike and a 16 kilometre canoe trip up the Kleinmonde River. It is a self-guided trail with a 'slack-packing' option for those not wanting to lug all their food and beverages with them. Each day is packed with adventure and beautiful views.

Day 1 - 8.6 km hike

On the first day the trail starts by walking up the beach from Port Alfred eventually arriving at the Milkwood hut, a wonderful hut set amongst the trees.

Day 2 - 13,67 km hike

On the second day you head back onto the beach and pass the village of Riet River as you set out on the day's 13.7 kilometres of hiking. You then follow the Riet River inland to the Yellowwood Tree Houses which offer great views of the valley. Imagine spending an evening in the trees after a long day's hike.

Day 3 - 6.9 km hike

The third day starts by following the Riet River back towards the coast. You will then arrive at the Three Sisters Hut. Here you can spend time on the Three Sisters rocks, swimming and fishing, before turning in for the night. If you are interested in a horse trail, one can be organised for this day. As you cover only 6.9 kilometres, it's a shorter and easier day allowing you to relax your legs.

Day 4 - 5.9 km hike and 8 km paddle

Starting off from Three Sisters on the fourth day, you will hike up to the Kleinmonde River where you will start the 8 kilometre paddle up to the Lily Pad Hut. The river offers beautiful views and is a great change of pace after a few days of hiking. The hut is a 3 kilometre hike from the river, and is located in the Nyala Valley Game Reserve. Here you can spot a number of animals including nyala, zebra, wildebeest, and giraffe.

Day 5 - 13 km hike and 8 km paddle

The next morning you'll paddle back down to the river mouth. You can stop off in Kleinmonde if you need to replenish your supplies for the final night on the trail. Head back down the beach again and look out for the mast of the Umvolozi, a ship that sunk during the 1890s. After a 10 kilometre hike you'll arrive at the Stone Cottage, a beautiful cottage with lights, hot water and a kitchen.

Day 6 - 14 km hike

The final day sees you leave the Stone Cottage and head back to the beach where you can visit the Fish River Lighthouse before heading out on the final stretch of the trail.

The Shipwreck Trail is a wonderful trail with lots of different sections, each with their own sense of adventure. The overnight huts are also well maintained and each is unique. The trail costs just R700 including the canoe trail. For more information and to book the trail you can go to or call +27(0) 82 391 0647.