The small town of Agulhas lies on the famous rocky headland of Cape Agulhas in the Western Cape. This stretch of coastline is world-renowned as the southernmost tip of Africa, and the official divide between the Atlantic and Indian Oceans. Situated just 2 hours from Cape Town, Agulhas offers exciting natural and historical attractions and a dramatic landscape. Browse our excellent range of Agulhas accommodation below.
Cape Agulhas consists of a meandering coastline with a rocky beach. It was originally called “Cabo das Agulhasâ€ (Cape of Needles) by Portuguese navigators. The name is believed to have derived either from the fact that compass needles are unable to recognise the difference between true north and magnetic north at the Cape, or after the sharp rock formations that have caused some of the worst shipwrecks along the coast – some of which are still visible today. The waters off the coast are relatively shallow and provide some of the best fishing spots in South Africa. Ancient fish traps (known as “vywersâ€) are still used on the eastern side and function as low dams to capture fish at low tide.
Nature lovers will enjoy discovering Agulhas National Park. It supports a variety of inter-tidal and marine life, and serves as a breeding ground for the endangered African black oystercatcher. An abundance of walking and hiking trails weave through limestone fynbos, unique to the area, and pass several tidal swimming pools that provide great fun for kids. Be sure to visit the wreck of the Meisho Maru.
Another nature attraction not to be missed is De Hoop Nature Reserve. This reserve stretches over 34,000 hectares and is a playground for hikers, cyclists, bird watchers, and whale watchers in season. The entire length of the reserve is a marine protected area with over 250 species of fish. At 3 nautical miles, it is one of the largest protected areas in Africa; with some of the finest examples of inter-tidal ecosystems in the Western Cape. De Hoop Nature Reserve also boasts 86 mammal species, such as the rare bontebok, Cape mountain zebra, eland, grey rhebuck, baboon, yellow mongoose, caracal, and the occasional leopard.
Other attractions worth visiting include the famous red and white Cape Agulhas Lighthouse. Built in 1848, it is the second oldest lighthouse to be built on the South African coast. It was restored in 1968 after it was declared unsafe. Today it is a national monument and boasts its own museum. Alternatively, explore the Cape Agulhas Wine Route in the nearby village of Elim (a national monument in its entirety). Wine connoisseurs can enjoy tastings of Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon, and Shiraz. Don’t forget to get your photograph taken at the tip of Africa while you’re in Agulhas!
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