1. The Southernmost Point of Africa
Where two oceans collide in a wild display of tumultuous currents and jagged rocky edges you will find the southernmost point of Africa. The stone cairn christens the point where the Indian and 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. The sharp winds and raw energy of the environment will make you feel like you are truly standing on the edge of the earth.
For a panoramic view one can climb the 71 steps of the lighthouse and visit the museum below for the history of the village. The history includes many tales of ships crashing to their doom against the ominous jagged rocks and of foreign survivors that eventually called this village home. There is still one decaying ship that stands defiant to the merciless ocean, standing like a solemn monument to the sailors that lost their lives. Soak up this incredible place and the momentous destination and let the unique experience wash over you. Southern Tip of Africa
2. The Resident Stingrays
When locals speak of the name Parrie affectionately over friendly chatter they are referring to the resident stingray that has been visiting the harbour for many years. He was initially attracted by the morsels returning fishermen would throw out to him. Now he associates the noise of the boat’s engine with their return and has become something of a pet to the locals. Parrie has grown so accustomed to the friendly nature of the townsfolk that people can now buy pilchards from the harbour and feed it to him.
Parrie has become something of a town mascot and tourist attraction. He even has his own Facebook page. When Two Oceans Aquarium captured Parrie everyone was genuinely upset and with fierce determination they soon got him back to where he belongs. You can now spot the stingrays in the shallow water of the harbour. Parrie is the largest (and probably the oldest) of them all and tourists are welcome to try feed them. Just watch out for the tails! Things To Do in Agulhas
Breaching, lobtailing, spyhopping and sailing are some the antics you can witness in these waters from July to December. The Southern Right whales journey to the coastline of South Africa to mate, calve and, as many believe, to have some fun! The curious creatures have hearts to match their colossal size and their endearing nature is sure to steal yours.
During this time you can spot mostly mothers and their calves wading through the water. Stand in awe as they swim merrily by with a wave of a fin or a tail to slap the water in exaltation. If you’re lucky, you may witness the several tons emerge from the water like a Jack in the box and land with unrivalled force.
One of the reasons the whales are so active and ready for play is because they were feeding in the Antarctic for six months and are now enjoying a vacation. They will swim right up to a boat to quench their curious nature and get a closer look at you, which leaves people awestruck by the sheer magnificence. It is a sight that will stick in your memory forever so don’t miss out on this incredible attraction. Outdoor Adventures in Agulhas
4. The longest Natural Beach in the Southern hemisphere
There are several debates as to where Struisbaai got its name. Some say it’s because of the thatched fishermen’ cottages (straw is ‘strooi’ in Afrikaans) or because of the ostriches that can be found in the area (Struisvogel in Dutch). Although the most probable reason is because Struisbaai boasts the longest natural beach in the Southern hemisphere and that is derived from an Old Dutch word meaning “huge”.
Imagine a seemingly never ending stretch of pearly white sand stretching before. The ocean current washing up on the shore on one side and the verdant mountains serving as the perfect backdrop. It is a beach combers dream during the year when there are few people and only the sound of the water to accompany each footstep. Then come the season and holidaymakers set out picnics, build sandcastles, play games and swim to their hearts delight. All that is required is a bit of sunshine and the day will be perfect! Beaches in Agulhas Gallery
5. The Ghost Trail
As you drive into sunny L’Agulhas you might be surprised, possibly alarmed, by the ghosts painted on signboards, rocks and lamp posts. The white spooky marks are the pointers on the Ghost Trail (Spookdraai Trail). For those looking for more than gorgeous views, fresh air and a bit of holiday exercise the Ghost Trail adds a whole new element to hiking! It will take you through winding streets, along the coast and up a zigzagging path over a hill and down again. The trail takes approximately two hours and is suitable for all fitness levels. Although the trail boasts breath-taking scenery with panoramic views over the merging of two great oceans and a myriad of fynbos wildflowers at your feet, there are some ghost stories that give the trail that edge.
Rumours circulate the close-knit community of two ghosts that roam the area. One story is of a beautiful maiden that crawled her way over the rocky edge after surviving a shipwreck. Legend has it that she lived in a cave for a while but passed away soon after. Still searching for her long lost love, it is said she still roams the coastal village. There is another story of a sailor that was unfortunate enough to lose his head. Now some locals say they see a headless body roaming aimlessly about. With this in the back of your mind the hidden caves, abandoned buildings and obscure art will have you doing double takes. Let the excitement begin! Hiking Trails in Agulhas
6. Rich History
Due to the unpredictable currents and ominous edge, many ships have met their doom along this coastline and earned the area its name the ‘Graveyard of Ships’. To lessen the casualties the building of the lighthouse started on April 1st 1847 and lit on March 1st 1849. The area is still rife with the whispers of the 150 ships that sank between Arniston and Cape Town. The nationalities of the ships range from French, Dutch, Portuguese, British, American, Japanese, Taiwanese, German and many more. Today the Meisho Maru stands a steady reminder of all the brave sailors that met an untimely death.
One of the many infamous ships was the Zoetendal, which was the very first ship to wash up on the rocky shore in 1673. The Arniston was also well-known because of the entire crew only 3 survived. The Queen of Thames was quite famous in its time because it was built to create a regular line between London and Australia via Cape Town. It was built for speed at a costly sum of £55 000 and set sail for Australia in 1871. It was the ship’s first journey and everyone was celebrating the successful journey on its way back to London from Australia. It was on St. Patricks Day when the festivities were rife that a veldfire (bush fire) was mistaken to be the Agulhas lighthouse. The Queen of Thames was soon washed up on the shore with luckily, only a handful dead but the ship was soon auctioned off for £15 000. There is a famous story of a stowaway that chose to hide amongst the wool of the sinking ship rather than be captured. Then when some officials boarded the ship the following day (as it was washed up on the rocks) they found him aboard playing the piano. The Birkenhead steals the show however. The Birkenhead was carrying soldiers en route to the Eastern Cape when it hit the reef and sunk in a matter of minutes. The soldiers stood fast and allowed the women and children to board the life rafts first, which was the birth of the ‘women and children first’ protocol. There were many deaths that day but every women and every child was saved. It was a momentous occasion. History of Agulhas
7. Fresh Seafood
Taking the time to visit the southernmost Tip of Africa and trek the winding route of the Spookdraai Trail will leave your stomach grumbling like the two great oceans as they collide at the foot of Africa. Fortunately, L’Agulhas and Struisbaai hold a variety of great café’s and restaurants that offer up the freshest fish by far.
Take a walk down to the Struisbaai harbour and enjoy a delicious seafood platter or prepared to perfection prawns while watching the fishing boats return with the catch of the day. Meet up with the colourful boats and barter for the freshest Snoek or Galjoen (Black Bream) to take home and enjoy a proper South African braai.
Follow the road to L’Agulhas and choose from the varied eateries along the main road leading to the Agulhas Lighthouse. Grab a quick fish ‘n chips at the nearby pub ‘n grill or sit down to an intimate dinner where you might prefer fresh oysters with your champagne. What better spot to enjoy fresh seafood than at the edge of the African continent where you can watch two mighty oceans collide. Seafood Restaurants
8. Agulhas National Park
Cradled in the area known as the Agulhas Plain and nurtured by the coming together of the Indian and Atlantic oceans, the Agulhas National Park is home to a unique combination of biodiversity and natural beauty.
Forming part of the Agulhas Biodiversity Initiative, the Agulhas National Park showcases a variety of rare and beautiful plant and animal life endemic to the area. Spot the illusive African Black Oystercatcher or Damara Tern while enjoying one of the walking or hiking trails in the reserve or cast your eyes to the horizon and watch the graceful Southern Right Whales frolick in the shallows. The unique lowland Fynbos found in the area makes for an ideal home to different species and Zebras, Baboons, various reptiles and Bontebok can be seen grazing freely throughout the reserve.
Including various animal species, unique Fynbos, stunning landscapes and the southern tip of Africa monument, the Agulhas National Park is a true South African gem. Agulhas National Park