Cape Agulhas region is known for many things, not least of all the geographical extremes that it presents. It represents the southernmost tip of Africa, as well as the point at which the cool Atlantic Ocean and warmer Indian Ocean meet. Due to its location on the continent, Cape Agulhas was frequently the first piece of land encountered by the seamen of centuries ago.
It has been noted as one of the most dangerous capes along the traditional clipper route (between Europe and the East or Australia). As such, there have been a number of shipwrecks on this coast over the centuries. This resulted in the Cape Aghulhas Lighthouse being built in 1848, which is now home to a restaurant and museum. This museum showcases a number of fascinating relics, not least of which are stone traps that were once used by the Khoisan people.
The Agulhas Municipality has several towns under its jurisdiction. These are Arniston (or Waenshuiskrans), Bredasdorp, Elim (a Moravian mission station and UNESCO World Heritage Site), L’Agulhas (the southernmost town on the African continent), Napier, Struisbaai (known for its gorgeous beaches), Suiderstrand (a holiday town with a rustic feel), Klipdale and Protem.
Cape Agulhas is known for its temperate, pleasant weather conditions. Summers are warm and winters are cool, with rainfall mainly during the winter months. This makes it ideal for year-round tourism.
Cape Agulhas is situated in the Overberg Region, 170 kilometres (or just over 100 miles) southeast of the city of Cape Town in the Western Cape. It is home to the Andrew’s Field Airport, which is Africa’s southernmost aerodrome.
This area has its place among the myths and legends of sailors all over the world. The Cape of Storms was a notorious myth, which saw numerous vessels being reduced to timber as they attempted to travel to the East for trading purposes. Some interesting remnants of these wrecks can be seen at the Bredasdorp Shipwreck Museum.
The Agulhas National Park was established in 1999 and covers a total area of just less than 21 000 hectares. This park has, as its focus, the conservation and sustainability of its breath-taking biodiversity and the unique culture of this area. It boasts some magnificent wildlife (including the Southern Right Whale and African Black Oyster Catcher), ensuring that it is a haven for nature-lovers. Bird-watching is particularly popular here. This park also showcases some of the country’s most beautiful fynbos, which is not found naturally anywhere else in the world. The best time to see the fynbos is between May and September. There are a number of trails through the national park, which allow visitors to be a part of this splendour and enjoy it in a more personal way – smelling the fresh breeze and the aroma of the vegetation; touching flowers, leaves and bark; hearing the crunch of twigs underfoot.
Fishing is especially popular in Cape Agulhas. The shallow waters off the Agulhas bank have been known to be the natural habitat of a number of species, including red steenbras, yellowtail, red stump, cob, santer, musselcracker and red roman. Deep-sea fishing and rock fishing are both popular pastimes and livelihoods in this area.
Napier Breweries was established in 2007 by a group of friends that wanted to enjoy unique, interesting beers of a superior quality. They envisioned full-bodied ales that reflected their Overberg origin. Only the best hand-selected ingredients are used and Napier Breweries supplies to a number of bottle stores, pubs and restaurants, as well as to tourist accommodation and dining establishments. Their range comprises Old Charlie Stout, Overberg Ale, and Blue Crane Lager.
The culture and history of Cape Agulhas is infused into almost every element of this destination, making it a very special experience. Although fairly remote, it continues to welcome many visitors who want to experience the marvels of its natural diversity every year.