L'Agulhas, Cape Agulhas

L’Agulhas or Agulas - The biggest draw card for Agulhas, other than the fact that it lies only two hours from Cape Town on one of the most beautiful coasts in the country, is that this little village lies on Cape Agulhas, the end of the African continent and the meeting place of the Atlantic and Indian Oceans.

Many a disappointed traveller has ventured all the way to Cape Point only to discover that to reach the tip of Africa requires travelling yet further south. And for those who would argue, the International Hydrographic Organisation has determined that this is indeed the official confluence of the two mighty oceans. Discovered by the Portuguese as early as the end of the 15th century, the southern- most tip was originally called ‘Cabo das Agulhas’ (Cape of Needles) either because compass needles show no variation between true north and magnetic north at the cape or because of the sharp, saw-edged rock formations responsible for some of the worst shipwrecks on the coast.

The Agulhas bank is shallow and extends for 80 km from the coast, which explains the propensity for ships to run aground on the rocks and today provides one of the world’s most fertile commercial fishing grounds. Ancient fish traps, called ‘vywers’ are still maintained and used on the eastern side of the cape. They function as low dams where fish become stranded at low tide.

This beautiful and rugged tip of Africa has been proclaimed a National Park (See Agulhas National Park) and supports a diverse intertidal and marine life as well as serving as a breeding ground for the endangered African black oystercatcher. The famous red and white Cape Agulhas Lighthouse, the 3rd to be built on the South African coast, in 1840, is a design based on the Pharos of Alexandria, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Restored in 1968, after being declared unsafe, the lighthouse is today a National Monument with its own museum.

Walks and hiking trails in the area abound and include journeys through limestone fynbos, unique to the area, and a walk along the uninterrupted sandy beach of Struisbaai, which provides over 14 km of shoreline and some unique examples of shells for your collection. Although the coast here is shallow and rocky, there are several tidal swimming pools set amongst the rocks - ideal for holiday makers.

Travellers' Reviews

1 Review from SA-Venues.com travellers. All reviews are verified.

Verified reviewvery good

I didn't stay here but popped through on a visit to the southern most tip of Africa - it looks like a lovely town and it was an easy drive to get there. I'd certainly like to go back and stay a bit longer.

February 2011

Lindsay (Maryland, USA)

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