Cape Town  -  Hout Bay Shipwrecks

Shipwrecks along the
Hout Bay Coastline

Noordhoek Beach with the wreck of the Kakapo just a speck on the beach in the distance.

On the beach between Noordhoek and Kommetjie lies the wreck of the Kakapo high and dry on sands about 50 metres from the sea.

Where did this wreck come from and why is it here in this particular spot you might ask? On the 26th of May 1900 a 108 years ago this ship which was on its maiden voyage from England to Australia stopped at Cape Town for coal. After leaving harbour it was caught in a north westerly gale and ended up steaming full ahead onto the beach. The crew did not even need their lifeboats as they jumped off the ship and walked up onto the beach to safety.

The story is however quite strange as reports say that the Captain mistook Danger Point for Cape Point and thus made too early a turn and landed up on the beach at Noordhoek.

Duiker Point near the base of the Karbonkelberg is the outer point of the Hout Bay Peninsula and must have been called Danger Point in those days as today there is no such name on the map in the area. It is definitely this peninsula that the ship must have rounded to land up on the beach where it is now. All that is left of this wreck is a couple of rusted metal ribs, its rudder and the boiler.

Although the ship had been aground for 60 years, in the early 1960's she was once again brought to life when she was used as a prop in the film Ryan's daughter which was filmed on Noordhoek beach.

The wreck is bound to be around for at least another 100 years as the weathering process over the 50 or so years that I have known it has been really slow.

The Slangkop Lighthouse at Kommetjie.The Clan Monroe wreck lies just behind the kelp beds more or less in line with the middle pitched roof of the semi detached housing in the picture.

A second ship that ran aground just off where the Slangkop Lighthouse is today was “The SSClan Monroe ” She was wrecked in a north westerly storm that hit our coastline in the winter of July 1905. The wreck settled on a large rock shelf where for years she was visible as a large black box to the locals. She was used to guage the height of the tide by people living in Kommetjie. Over the years the sea and waves took their toll on the ship and she eventually broke up and sank beneath the waves.

These days she is often visited by amateur divers looking for treasure.

A third wreck that occurred was that of the Moari in 1909. This ship left Cape Town bound for New Zealand and was caught in a north westerly storm off the coast of the Peninsula in the same area as the Kakapo. The Moari however, never made it round the coastline at Danger Point but ended up on the rocks at Duiker Point at the bottom of the Karbonkelberg. There were 53 men on board and many of them lost their lives as the lifeboats were capsized by the treacherous seas. Two men managed to come ashore after a safety rope was rigged from the bow of the ship to shore. A third man got half way across the gap and was swept away by the sea never to be seen again.

The coastline where these wrecks and many others have happened over the years is very beautiful in summer, but in winter when the storms come raging in from the north west it shows its ugly side. It is no wonder that the sailors of old named this Cape the Cape of Storms.

Those who saw it in the summer months renamed it the Cape of Good Hope which is the name it still has today.

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Hout Bay Shipwrecks