Exploring Cape Agulhas,
the legendary "Cape of Storms"
Cape Agulhas and its surroundings does offer a
variety of attractions, which bring in lots of tourists to its shores year after year. The nearby
towns of L' Agulhas and Struisbaai offer facilities and water-based activities like for example
swimming and sport fishing.
There are several nature trails in the Park, including a unique trail that passes through the
area where the Indian and Atlantic Oceans meet.
The limestone lighthouse has a museum with a view of the ancient tidal fish traps constructed by
the Khoi-Khoi people.
Aside from the shipwrecks along the coastline, some items originating from the wrecks can be seen
at the Bredasdorp Shipwreck Museum.
The nearest community that can be called a town of some substance is Bredasdorp.
Areas of special interest in the developing Agulhas National Park that you will
greatly enjoy, are the following;
- The most southern tip of Africa
The official position of the most southern tip of Africa is 34° 49' 58" south and 20°
00' 12" east. A cairn marks the tip's exact location. It actually is at this longitudinal
position where the Indian and Atlantic oceans officially come together.
- The Lighthouse of Agulhas
This lighthouse, the second oldest lighthouse in Southern Africa, was built in 1848 to aid the early
explorers on their passage through the rough seas off Cape Agulhas. Stone mined from the adjacent limestone
quarry provided the raw materials for its construction. Seventy-one steps will take you to the top. Looking
to the east you can see the remains of ancient stone fish traps used by the ancient Khoi people.
The Cape Agulhas lighthouse
Photograph by Leif Sobremonte
The Arniston, Zoetendal and Birkenhead are a few of the numerous shipwrecks spotted up and down
the coastline. Parts and pieces from these shipwrecks have been put on exhibition at the
Bredasdorp shipwreck museum. Tourists visiting the region may still view the remnants of the
Meisho Maru 38 shipwreck on the shoreline of Cape Agulhas.
The Agulhas Plain features an amazing diversity of flora. It boasts several unique variations of
plant life, like for example limestone fynbos, part of the famous Cape Floral Kingdom in South
Africa, the smallest and richest of theworld's six plant kingdoms. Although most species bloom
between May and September, there are flowers to be enjoyed in any season.
Wreck of the “Meisho Maru” at the southern tip of Africa
Photograph by Nick Reed
The Park also has a lot to offer to the birding enthusiast. The wetlands of the Park attract a host of
water birds, with over 21 000 migrant and resident wetland birds estimated to occur in the area annually.
The area is also known for the rare African Black Oystercatcher
Currently there are not many land animals in the Agulhas National Park, but the rare Cape Grysbok is
something to look out for in the coastal fynbos. It’s a different story with the two oceans. Here you can
look out for Cape Fur Seals and a variety of Whales, Dolphins and Porpoises. The Southern Right Whales come
to the bays to breed from August to November.
A Humpback Whale breaching
Explore the region and visit the beautiful towns in the Agulhas National Park, enjoy
their delightful ambience.
The old fishing village Arniston has a charmingly quaint atmosphere. Here the beaches are pearly white and
the dunes, vast and unspoilt. The original name of the town is “Waenhuiskrans”, meaning “wagon house cliff”.
- Visit Bredasorp with its Shipwreck museum where sunken ships have found their way in. Come and see the
spectacular displays of the Bredasdorp lily.
Experience the solitude on the beautiful Struisbaai beach
Photograph by Robert Wallace
- Take a trip to Struisbaai with its pretty whitewashed fisherman´s cottages and the Beautiful 14km sandy
bay, fine for swimming, fishing and shell collecting.
- Lastly is the village with the old world charm called Napier. Century-old cottages blend with modern
houses resulting in a delightful rural ambience.
The hospitality of the people at the southern tip of Africa and the beauty of the surrounding countryside
is certain to enrich you and make you wish to return to enjoy this region again.
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