The Meisho Maru may not be the most historically significant wreck along the southern Cape coastline, but it’s photogenically rusty and conveniently close inshore for those without telephoto lenses that cost about the same as a small car. To see it, hike the Rasperpunt Trail in Agulhas National Park, which also shows off some Stone Age fish traps and plants.
Perhaps the most fascinating things to see along this trail are the Khoi fish traps about 1.5km from the starting point. Plan your walk for low tide, which is the best time to see these ingenious Stone Age no-sweat fishing aids, made by constructing dams across shallow gullies to strand the fish on the outgoing tide. Some of them have been maintained through the centuries and are still used by locals today.
From here the trail turns away from the shoreline towards the dune ridge, so there’s some climbing to be done. What makes the effort worthwhile are some fabulous viewpoints where you can look back along the shoreline and watch the breakers crash onto the rocks. And if you walk the trail between June and September, you may even be lucky enough to spot some whales.
If you’re like me and you don’t enjoy the heat, leave in the cool of early morning so you can take your time and soak up the history, the views, the fynbos, the birds and marine life before the trail leads you back to your starting point about three hours later – just in time for a coffee break at the the little settlement of L’Agulhas.
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