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No trip to the Western Cape is complete without a visit to the geographic southern tip of Africa, and the place where the Atlantic and Indian Oceans meet.
Cape Agulhas is located in the Overberg region, 170 kilometres from Cape Town. It was named by Portuguese navigators in 1500 and they called it "Cabo das Agulhas" (meaning "Cape of Needles") after realising the direction of magnetic north (and therefore the compass needle) coincided with true north in the region.
What can I get up to?
The topography consists of a curving coastline with rocky and sand beaches. The waters of the Agulhas Bank are quite shallow and have some of the best fishing in South Africa. One of the more iconic features is the opportunity to stand with one foot in the Indian Ocean and the other in the Atlantic Ocean at the same time.
Don’t let that distract you from the rest of the area though, it’s a nature lover’s dream! Agulhas National Park boasts around 2 000 species of indigenous plants in its 20 000 hectare area, and birdwatching is also recommended.
The area also lends itself to whale watching in season (July to early December) and there is plenty for the adventurous to do as well.
Activities for the adventurous
Surrounding areas like Struisbaai offer water sports like canoeing, surfing, diving and fishing. If you’re a lover of land you can also experience some spectacular views while hiking or mountain biking.
Maritime history ahoy!
If you want to soak up some local history then you have to visit the Cape Agulhas Lighthouse (South Africa’s second oldest lighthouse, dating back to 1849) and check out the museum.
The lighthouse came about in response to the number of shipwrecks occurring off the coast. The rocky coastline has claimed around 140 ships as a result of strong ocean currents, and gale force winds generating waves that can reach up to 30m high. In fact, this dangerous section of the Southern coast is referred to as the "graveyard of the ships".
You can visit one of these, a Japanese shipwreck, just past the southernmost point.
The Meisho Maru No. 38 was a small Japanese fishing vessel that ran aground in stormy waters in 1982 (all onboard survived), and today has become a bit of a local tourist attraction.
If this history piques your interest then you should stop by the Bredasdorp Museum, a maritime museum whose primary theme is "shipwrecks along the dangerous Southern Cape coast and their influence on the development of the Strandveld".
Food and drink galore
If you’d rather spend your time relaxing with a glass of wine and a full belly, there are plenty of delicious options available.
Seafood is a must in this area and some favourites include Struisbaai Sea shack, L'Agulhas Seafoods and Seagulls Pub and Grill for some of the freshest and most delicious seafood in the province.
If you’re all about quality wine, you can visit Elim Wine Route, the southernmost wine route in Africa, featuring a few wine estates and restaurants.
Check out these cool accommodation deals:
Enjoy a quiet escape to L’Agulhas with a relaxing stay at Agulhas Heights for a family of 4.
A peaceful and rustic 2 night stay for 2 in Agulhas National Park at Pebble Bay Bed and Breakfast.
Please note: All deals were accurate and available at time of publication.