Day-tripping the Southern tip of Africa

2017-10-08 06:30 - Anje Rautenbach
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There’s something about Cape Point and the widespread common believe that this is where the Indian and Atlantic Ocean get down to business for their meet and greet. Maybe it has something to do with the name of the restaurant, Two Oceans? Or maybe it’s because of a misbelief that formed many waves ago?

Whatever the reason, you will need to travel a little further south towards the Overberg to witness this phenomenon.

Let your GPS or navigational talents direct you to Cape Agulhus where the two oceans give each other one salty hug and be in two places at the same time with one - slightly figurative yet geographically true - foot in the Indian Ocean and another in the Atlantic Ocean.

But that’s not all; you can also be in three places at once and stand on the southernmost tip of Africa. 

It is believed that the history of L’Agulhas (and Struisbaai which is a stone’s throw away to the other side) is built on the heartache of wreckage that the ocean coughed up; numerous ships came to their last halt because of the turbulent waters and jagged rocks and survivors from all over the world started to call this place home.

Today the face of L’Agulhas, or Agulhas, is a different one, today it is a small coastal village, holiday, bucket list and tourist destination for South Africans and foreign visitors that lies only two hours from Cape Town.  Today the face of L’Agulhas - despite the waves that still rage on stormy days - is a friendly one of long walks on the beach, welcoming locals, fynbos, walking trails, a number of great restaurants offering the catch of the day, a museum, a historic lighthouse, a National Park and possible whale sightings straight from the shore.

It is also a place of progress. South African National Parks (SANParks), in collaboration with the Department of Environmental Affairs and the Department of Tourism, embarked on a “Working for Tourism Project” to better visitors’ experience when they arrive at Cape Agulhas, the southernmost tip of Africa. With the vision to complete the project by the end of the year, they’re busy re-constructing and paving the road with parking, realign the boardwalk (also to rehabilitate the terrain and vegetation), map out hiking and biking trails, and, with the help of four proudly South African artists an iconic structure will be erected that will consists of a concrete map of Africa and an amphitheatre that will end at the monument of our southernmost tip.

Whether you want to leave the Mother City early in the morning to make a day trip of it or stay a night or two to indulge in the peace and quiet of loud waves and sea spray, Agulhas and the 4km-down-the-road coastal village of Struisbaai have plenty of activities to keep you busy.

Visit the southernmost point in Africa, take in the moment of being at the spot where the two oceans meet and don’t forget to make your way to the top of the second-oldest working lighthouse in South Africa (built in 1848) via 71 steep steps for a panoramic view. There’s also a small museum in the lighthouse and the entrance fee to the lighthouse is R15 for adults and R7.50 for kids (2 – 11 years) while your visit to tip of Africa is on the house, mahala, compliments of Mother Nature.

Other activities in the area include watching southern right whales (July to December) as they journey along our coastline, visiting Agulhas National Park that is home to rare fauna and flora endemic to the area, strolling around town and visiting art studios and going for longest beach walk you’ll find in the Southern Hemisphere in Struisbaai that stretches for a total of 14 kilometres.

If you’re after something a bit more exhilarating in this town that is known as a graveyard for ships, get your legs moving on the 2-hour hiking trail aptly named: The Ghost Trail. Rumour has it that there are two ghosts in the area; one a maiden who survived a shipwreck and is still looking for better half and the other a sailor who lost his head and roams around with a headless body.

When hunger sets make your way to Sea Shack in Struisbaai for fresh seafood, right on the beach, with your feet in the sand. In Struisbaai there is also 55 knots, The Michael Collins Irish Pub & Restaurant, Bella Luna for some pizza and Zuidste Kaap Restaurant which is situated in Agulhas.

If you do decide to stay over you’ll be pleased to know that there is a caravan and camping park (with chalets) in Struisbaai and in Agulhas, and there are numerous guesthouses as well.

Anje Rautenbsch is the writer behind the blog Going Somewhere Slowly, find her FacebookTwitteror on Instagram 

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