7 Reasons to visit the Southernmost Tip of Africa
Cape Agulhas is a combination of incredible beauty, ravaged with views of the rugged coastline, major nature reserves, yet steeped in history with steady reminders of the lost lives along the shore of wrecks.
Making it hard to beat any town worth its salt to explore.
Explore Cape Agulhas
Even though this trip took place nearly a month ago, venturing off to this town still lingers in my mind.
Here are 7 reasons why you need to pack your bags, climb in your car and explore this majestical town.
1. Where two oceans collide
Where the warm-water Agulhas current of the Indian Ocean meets the cold water Benguela current of the Atlantic Ocean, it’s a rare existence us Capetonians get to witness. The stone cairn christens the point where the Indian and the Atlantic Ocean meet and people from all over the world journey to this area just so that they, at that moment, can be the southernmost person standing in this significant location as we did.
2. Visit the iconic Lighthouse
Built in 1848, the Cape Agulhas Lighthouse is the second oldest working lighthouse in South Africa which has stood over 150 years as a maritime chaperone over the notorious ‘Cape of Storms’.
With the wind picking up at a crazy speed, we still made it down to the lighthouse to view this building up close. Visit the museum inside which displays remain of ancient fish traps made of stone and used by the Khoisan people for a small price.
If you’re not afraid of heights, climb the 71 flight of steep stairs more like wooden ladders to the top to get a panoramic view. The first two legs were okay but the last one to get to the very top, I nearly chickened out because it was really steep.
Make sure to hold on for dear life because the wind will surely blow you away.
3. Nature at it’s best
With the Agulhas National Park on the doorstep of the lighthouse, it’s home to a unique combination of biodiversity and natural beauty. Take a hike through the reserve and admire the fresh air. You will even get to meet a few smaller species along the way.
4. Shipwreck Ruins
Walking along the boardwalk, our host told us that the shipwreck ruins is not that far away from the lighthouse. However, it took us nearly an hour by foot across rocks and sand to find this shipwreck in the scorching heat. Our advice: rather drive along the gravel road. If you’re up for the walk, you may do so but it’s a tough terrain to navigate especially since there are no signs leading you to the wreck.
Cape Agulhas is littered with shipwrecks along the coast. This one, the Meisho Maru lies in the Agulhas National Park. It’s definitely a sight worth visiting.
5. Great accommodations
Seeing that Agulhas is a popular tourist destination, you are definitely spoiled for choice when it comes to accommodations. We wanted to be close to everything possible so we stayed at the South Point B&B and Self Catering place.
Minimal with that touch of seaside decor, it had all the essentials and more. And best of all is, it’s in walking distance of basically all the places to explore from the shops, restaurants, and the lighthouse.
At R800.00 per night, it’s surely a gem accommodation. You can book your stay through Booking.com or directly through them.
5. Fabulous Food and Drink Choices
After our long walk to the shipwreck, it was time for lunch. After being told by a few locals that Agulhas Seafoods offers the best fish and chips, we had to go according to recommendations. They were surely correct on this one.
Ordering some fish, chips and crumbed calamari, Courtney and I were blown away by the flavours. They have an array of various seafood selections and I’m sure that whatever you choose, it will be delicious.
If you’re a wine lover like myself, pop into the Wine Boutique right next door from the fisheries where there is a whole range of various wines to choose from.
For breakfast, go to Suidpunt Potpourri serving not only eateries but has an amazing collection of items to purchase. You will get lost as I did; browsing through all the cute decor items to buy.
Just on the far end of the building is their restaurant and, was their breakfast out of this world! Bacon, sausage, two slices of toast with a side of mushroom and sliced onions, going home with a delectable stomach was a win.
7. Rich in History
It’s fierce and treacherous history is similar to its reef which would eventually give birth to its name with over 150 shipwrecks evident of it. It’s believed that L’Agulhas was discovered in the early 1400s by the Portuguese and finally on 16 May 1488 Bartholomew Dias named the most southern point of Africa after St Agulhas. The southernmost tip was christened Cabo dos Agulhas (Cape of Needles) by the Portuguese, but French influence later turned it to L’Agulhas.
As time went by, this version of the name was forgotten, but during the restoration of the Lighthouse, the old name was once again reinstated and accepted by the National Names Commission.
If you’re going to Cape Agulhas anytime soon, here are a few more attractions worth exploring:
- Spend the day at Cape Agulhas Beach: The beach offers a number of activities which include hiking and walks along the coastline.
- Explore with Awesome Charters: Go down to Struisbaai Harbour and hop onto a boat; taking you around the southernmost tip of Africa.
- Hike down Rasperpunt Trail: The Rasperpunt trail is not very long, 5.5 kilometers in all, and one that takes you from the water’s edge up to the top of the dune via rocky sea pools and wonderful dune fynbos.
How to get there: From Cape Town, it takes about three hours to get there along the N2 and R316.
Best time to go: Anytime is the best time to go but be warned that it’s constantly windy there so best to go during the warmer seasons from October – March.
It is worth it: Of course! And it’s definitely worth a weekend or two-day getaway from Cape Town.
Until the next adventure.