Here are some excerpts from the Lonely Planet – South Africa & Lesotho & Swaziland chapter on the Western Cape about Cape Agulhas:
“Cape Agulhas is the southernmost tip of Africa, where the Atlantic and Indian Oceans meet. It’s a rugged, windswept coastline and the graveyard for many a ship. This is now part of the newly proclaimed Agulhas National Park which doesn’t yet have tourist facilities, though walks and accommodation are planned. There are no opening hours or admission fees at present. It’s an excellent area for coastal walks and birding. East of the tip are some ancient fish traps made by Strandlopers.
The Lighthouse Museum is in the lighthouse itself, which is the second oldest in South Africa, built in 1848. Climb the 71 steps to the top for a bird’s-eye view of the meeting of the oceans.”
KAPOORS ON THE ROAD
What a thrill to finally arrive at the southern-most point of Africa. We’d been travelling in Tunisia two years earlier, and hadn’t realized that we were very near the northern-most point of the continent. Rats, we both like to visit these significant geographical points on the globe, and blew it on that one. Tunisia isn’t the easiest place to get back to, not with the political problems occurring there now, so it’s unlikely we’ll pay a return visit. I’d love to though, it’s an incredibly beautiful country and has the best Roman ruins we’ve seen anywhere, at Dougga.
We climbed up to the lighthouse and looked at some information about its construction, but didn’t linger to go inside the museum. It was mid-afternoon and we wanted to continue on down the coast to Arniston in time to find a place to stay for the night. We were getting a little hungry after our breakfast a few hours earlier, so picked up some tasty scones and took them with us down to the beach.
We certainly couldn’t come this far without each getting our feet into the water where the Atlantic and the Indian oceans meet. The water was surprisingly cold! We horsed around on the beach for a while, picked up some lovely shells and ate our scones. We were the only ones around except for the staff at the lighthouse and one other couple fishing further along the coast; it was terrific to have the beach to ourselves.
On our way back to the highway, we passed the little Langezandt Fishermen's Village, with its old stone cottages. They have been preserved and renovated to be used as holiday homes for vacationers. The village has been expanded somewhat by newly-built cottages that resemble the ancient ones, even down to replicating the thatched roofs.
We carried on, but I had to make one more stop when I saw the little figures on top of some brick houses along the road. At first, I thought they looked like sea birds, but when I looked more closely, I could see they were metal sculptures. I think they must be designed to ensure that the smoke from indoor fireplaces is directed away from the prevailing wind and not back down into the home. They must act like weather-vanes, spinning with the wind and allowing the smoke to billow out, to be carried safely away. So clever; I’ve never seen anything like them, anywhere.