If you ask anyone where the Indian and Atlantic oceans meet, they might confidently say in Cape Point. But if you asked me the same question, I would say the official meeting point is in Cape Agulhas. There are different reasons why people still believe Indian and Atlantic Oceans meet in Cape Point but we are not discussing that today because no one has ever won this argument, and that is what makes these two places exciting.
Let me tell you a little bit about Cape Agulhas, the title holder of the southernmost tip in Africa and the official meeting point of the Indian and Atlantic Oceans. Yes, these two oceans meet here and not in Cape Point. Sometimes the warm current of the Indian Ocean travels as far as Cape Point to mix with the cold current of the Atlantic Ocean, and this is what makes many people believe that Indian and Atlantic Oceans meet there. Cape Agulhas is located about 230km from Cape Town and 45km from the fishing village of Arniston if you use the shortest but gravel road and 60km if you use the tarred R319 road via R316.
Cape Agulhas or L’Agulhas is the southernmost coastal village and a holiday resort in Africa, located within the Cape Agulhas Municipal (CAM). The name “Agulhas”, Portuguese for “needles”, is said to have been given to the area because a strange magnetic anomaly occurs here where compasses point true North rather than magnetic North. This anomaly creates confusion and danger for passing ships when visibility is poor. About 250 vessels lost their way and got wrecked on the jagged rocks of Cape Agulhas. Some wrecked ships still lay scattered along the coast, many due to the treacherous Agulhas Reef. It is in memory of the countless lives lost and to warn passing ships of the pending danger of Cape Agulhas.
If you are looking for a paradise-like destination, breathtaking views and beautiful beaches, Cape Agulhas is not a place for that. You come here for history, uniqueness of the area and for the magical experience of being at the southernmost tip of Africa, the official geographical dividing line and the meeting of Indian and Atlantic Oceans. Struisbaai is the first village you will pass when you arrive is Cape Agulhas, another place worthy of your visit. Struisbaai is known to be the richest fishing village in the southern hemisphere.
THINGS TO DO AND SEE IN CAPE AGULHAS
1. CAPE AGULHAS LIGHTHOUSE
Cape Agulhas lighthouse was the third lighthouse to be built in South Africa, and is now the second-oldest still operating, after the one in Green Point. The building was declared a National Monument in 1973 and is also a Western Cape provincial heritage site. The lighthouse has recently undergone restoration and is a majestic sight at the most southern tip of Africa with a fully equipped restaurant and museum.
You can climb to the top to have an almost 360-degree view of Cape Agulhas for only R13.70 (temporarily closed – but you can still take pictures next to it). The community was largely responsible for the restoration of the original structure and the lighthouse was inaugurated again on 25 March 1988 after having been out of service for 20 years.
2.MAP OF AFRICA MONUMENT
This is the southernmost African monument and a place where two oceans, Indian and Atlantic Oceans meet at this tip of Africa, and it’s the ultimate reason why you visit Cape Agulhas. The monument was an initiative by the Department of Tourism, which set it up at the Agulhas National Park.
They worked in collaboration with South African National Parks to create something special that will feature on the itinerary of local and international tourists and to set Cape Agulhas apart for this one-of-a-kind attraction. Click here to watch a short video.
3. MEISHO MARU SHIPWRECK
Meisho Maru no. 38 is a Japanese fishing trawler that succumbed to the mighty two ocean meeting point on the 16th of November 1982. This shipwreck is found along the coastline of the notorious Cape Agulhas. Experts say this stretch of coastline has seen over 250 vessels lose their way and being wrecked on the jagged rocks.
A strange magnetic anomaly occurs here where compasses point true North rather than magnetic North. This leads to confusion and very real danger for passing ships when the visibility is poor. There are only two other places on earth where this phenomenon happens, The Bermuda Triangle and The Devil’s Sea off the coast of Japan. Click here to watch a short video of this shipwreck.
4. WALK ON THE LONGEST UNINTERRUPTED WHITE SANDY BEACH
At 14km, Struisbaai in Cape Agulhas boasts the longest uninterrupted sandy beach in the southern hemisphere. The ocean conditions in the bay are perfect for swimming and water sports such as jet skis rides, sailing, kayaking, SUPing and fishing.
When the wind blows, the cross-onshore conditions make the bay a perfect venue for kite surfing or land yachting too. Between the beach and the ocean, the only limit to the fun is your imagination and your toys.
5. STRUISBAAI HARBOUR AND MASCOT
Struisbaai Harbour is home to a well-known couple of stingrays. Parrie the larger one is a long-time resident at the harbour and is now the official Struisbaai harbour mascot. I have not seen him in recent months that I have been there.
Parrie made news headlines in 2003 when she travelled to Cape Town for a “visit” to the Two Oceans Aquarium but community members fought for her return.
6. CAMP AT AGULHAS REST CAMP
This small camp is located 10,3km from the Cape Agulhas Lighthouse. The camp was placed and designed to meet high environmental standards and according to the ‘touch-the-earth-lightly’ principles by which, inter alia, development was limited to disturbed sites.
Accommodation is serviced daily (except for the washing of dishes) and is equipped with bedding and towels.
Keys must be collected and returned to Reception on check out at 214 Main Road, Agulhas (the last building on the right before the lighthouse).
Five family units, each with two bedrooms, en-suite bathrooms (bath and shower), DSTV (limited channels), open and fully equipped kitchen (kettle, toaster, two-plate stove, fridge, cutlery and crockery. One unit has been adapted for persons with limited mobility.
Ten single units – one bedroom, open plan kitchen (microwave and two-plate hob) and lounge, bathroom (shower) and DSTV (limited channels).
Seven new chalets, six single units (two sleepers), one family cottage (four sleepers). The new chalets do not have sleeper couches, unfortunately.
7. TAKE A SCENIC WALK AT RASPERPUNT HIKING TRAIL
Within the Agulhas National Park is the Rasperpunt Hiking Trail also known as the Agulhas Walking trail. The hiking trail is a circular route that begins at the Meisho Maru shipwreck and follows the rugged coastline towards Suiderstrand.
Part of this trail has now been made accessible for all lovers of nature with a wooden boardwalk. The boardwalk passes through the fynbos towards the pebbled shoreline. You can also spot some whales (in season) and reflect on the original Khoi inhabitants who used this area to trap and catch fish.
Planning a trip to Cape Agulhas? Book your accommodation here and hire a car now to get the best rates or contact me for a private tour and discounted rates.
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