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Sacramento Trail

Eastern Cape > Port Elizabeth > Schoenmakerskop

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Offering phenomenal panoramic views, lush greenery, and a tranquil ambience, this magnificent Trail promises an unforgettable journey filled with history. Delight in the vibrant marine life and engage in a soul-stirring adventure of the legendary Portuguese galleon wreck site.


Please remember that this is a Nature Reserve:

- All plant and animal life is protected and must not be disturbed or harmed.
- Please keep on the trail at all times.
- Minimum number three persons is recommended as a safety precaution.
- Please do not smoke or light fires while on the trail
- Dogs on a leash are allowed but only on the lower trail.
- Do not litter.
- Carry at least two litres of drinking water per person.
- For reservation and general enquiries please contact: Reserve Manager: George Branford on +27 (0) 82 522 0298.
- In case of emergency while on the trail, please contact the Reserve Manager or 10111.


The Sacramento Trail, located in the Sardinia Bay Nature Reserve, can be hiked as a circular route starting either from Sardinia Bay Beach or from the seaside village of Schoenmakerskop.

The area boasts a wealth of historical events and is also home to some of the oldest living examples of natural history. Notably, it features one of the largest concentrations of Stromatolites, which are layered bio-chemical structures formed in shallow water through the trapping, binding, and cementation of sedimentary grains by biofilms of microorganisms, especially cyanobacteria. These ancient formations contain fossil remains dating back more than 3.5 billion years, providing crucial records of early life on Earth.

The Southern African tufa stromatolites found in this area are particularly unique, occurring at the interface between freshwater seepage points and marine penetration. Moreover, a recent discovery of a new metazoan species called 'Sinelobus stromatoliticus', resembling a tiny prawn-like burrower, has been made within these rare stromatolite formations.

Interestingly, these freshwater seepage points were also one of the reason for the development of the area in that early holiday makers used them while camping by erecting tents next to these water reserves.

The story of the sinking of the Portuguese galleon Sacramento on June 30th, 1647 is also particularly intriguing. The ship ran aground in the vicinity of Schoenmakerskop and Sardinia Bay, with only 72 survivors making it to the shore. Of those, just nine managed to trek the 1,300-kilometer distance to Delagoa Bay (Maputo) in Mozambique and only four
of these men making the trip back home to Portugal.

Notably, the Sacramento was carrying a cargo of cannons, which remained on the ocean floor for over 300 years before being salvaged in 1977. Along the Sacramento Trail, there is a memorial identifying the point of where the ship went down. Of the 40 bronze cannons retrieved, one is still on display at the start of the trail, pointing towards the site of the shipwreck.

Apart from the rich history, the area offers attractive seascapes, landscapes and, depending on the season, some remarkable displays of dune vegetation and wild flowers. The beaches in the area is also popular for swimming, snorkeling and fishing. Here you will also find some of the most beautiful sunsets in the city. There are also various horse trails and rides offered in the area.


- Sacramento Canon: One of the original canons from the Sacramento pointing towards the site of the wreck.
- Sacramento Memorial: Memorial and Picnic spots
- Sacramento Restaurant: From a rambunctious start as The Hut Tearoom in 1918 the restaurant showcases some of the areas rich history and offers is a great spot to watch whales and enjoy lunch with a beautiful view of the coastline.
- Rheta’s Trail: A hidden gem in Schoenies is Rheta’s Trail which runs just behind the Sacramento Restaurant. There is a small labyrinth and a very interesting garden with lots of different areas to explore.
- Shell Mill Ruins: Shell crushing mills were used for crushing and grinding various types of shells. These mills were commonly used in industries such as agriculture, construction, and road building, where the ground shells could be used as a valuable additive to soil, cement, asphalt, and other materials.

Top Fauna:
- Karoo Scrub-Robin & Karoo Prinia
- Cape Porcupine & Cape Clawless Otter
- Bushbuck & Cape Grysbok
- Dune Dung Beetles
- Intertidal Zone Animals & Plants
- Whale & Dolphin Species
- Puff Adder

Top Flora:
- Coast Oxtongue
- Colourful Coastal Vegetation with
- abundant Daisy & pea family members
- Green Woodorchids & Red Satyres
- Cobra Lilies
- Porcupine Potatoes
- Dune Grasses
Contact / ReservationsSacramento Trail

Alternatively contact the TOURISM call centre on +27 (0) 41 585 8884


Latitude : -34° 2' 24.32" S | Longitude : 25° 32' 3.12" E


Car Parking Available Yes
Day Visitors Allowed Yes
Children Allowed Yes


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