Things To Do in L'AgulhasCape Agulhas Lighthouse
Where? Agulhus National Park, Cape Agulhas, Western Cape.
When? Call to confirm.
How? Call +27 (0)28 435-6222
How much? Falls into price group R1 to R100 per person. Confirm with the provider.
The Cape Agulhas Lighthouse has stood for over 150 years as a maritime chaperone over the notorious 'Cape of Storms', at the most southern tip of Africa. This official meeting point of the Indian Ocean and Atlantic Ocean is also the point of convergence of the Mozambique and Benguela currents.
The Agulhas bank is a unique geographical formation which bears the title 'Graveyard of Ships' due to this challenging crossing resulting in numerous shipwrecks. The ocean depth in this area is only 60 fathoms deep for 250 kilometres out to sea and then drops sharply to 180 000 fathoms reaching as far as Antarctica. When seafaring Portuguese vessels rounded this Cape tip in the 15th century their compass needles would swing unable to determine True North from Magnetic North. As a result, in 1488 the Portuguese navigator, Bartholomew Dias, named this ocean site 'Capo das Agulhas' translating to 'Cape of Needles'.
Built in 1848 this is the second oldest working lighthouse in South Africa. The design is modelled on one of the oldest seven wonders of the world, the original Egyptian Faros lighthouse. Its inspired historic architecture stands tall in red and white stripes just one kilometre away from the most southern tip of the rocky coastline. The adjacent limestone quarry was mined for stone as the raw building material. In 1962, this sandstone started crumbling due to its sea weathering and a new aluminium lighthouse was built nearby preserving the original lighthouse as a national monument and the only lighthouse museum in Africa.
The museum at Cape Agulhas displays include remains of ancient fish traps made of stone and used by the Khoisan people. The lighthouse has focal plane of 31 meters above height water, with a light power of 7 500 000 CD with a revolving electric light flashing once every 5 seconds, reaching 30 nautical miles out to sea. Climb the 71 narrow steps to the top of the tower and look out bravely across the wild ocean that holds the sunken treasures of early explorers.
If you are planning a visit to the Cape Agulhas Lighthouse, read about our editor's experience at "In search of Horatio Blair Adams at the Southern-most Tip of Africa".