This rocky headland along the coastline of the Western Cape, officially called Cape Agulhas and geographically, is the southernmost tip of the African continent and the beginning of the dividing line between the two great oceans, Atlantic and Indian Oceans.
Historically, the cape has been known to sailors as particularly hazardous – notorious for winter storms and huge rogue waves that can reach a spectacular height of 30 metres – so it’s no surprise that it’s littered with wrecks, one of which is the Meisho Maru, which lies in the Agulhas National Park. It is eerie yet fascinating. The Bredasdorp Shipwreck Museum which is so mysterious; is primarily a maritime Museum showcasing the many ‘Shipwrecks along the dangerous Southern Cape coast and their influence on the development of the surrounding small towns.
Most visitors though consider the beautiful, historic red and white Cape Agulhas Lighthouse as the icon as the tip of Africa. The views from up here are definitely worth the climb, even if you’re intimidated by the wooden flights of steps that are little more than ladders in parts, or frightened of heights.
Another must for the slightly fitter is the Spookdraai Hiking Trail (Ghost Turn). Spookdraai is actually the name given to the entrance of the bay at Cape Agulhas. The Spookdraai hiking trail takes in the historical landmarks and natural phenomenon’s of the area. There is no secret behind the name of this hiking trail as you can imagine. With the many shipwrecks along this coastline that even if you do not believe in ghosts you would have to at least acknowledge the possibility that a fair number of discontented souls may well continue to wander up and down this coastline. There are two popular stories that you might hear but we’ll leave that up to your imagination and of course your travels. The Spookdraai hike begins and ends in the same spot and takes roughly two hours to complete, depending on how fast you want to walk. It also includes incredible fynbos, the vleis and bird life of the area. The hike is well signposted from start to finish with roughly 28 different markers along the way. Purchase a booklet at the towns shop and this will help add to your walk tremendously as it gives little descriptions for each of the viewing points.
The two seaside villages of L’Agullas and Struisbaai, which lie just north of the official meeting place of the oceans, seem to melt into one another providing a string of seaside cottages from which to experience the warm and beautiful sandy beaches or meander through the surrounding wine farms. There is a popular spot at which to have a photo taken – “The Official Southernmost Tip of Africa”. There is a stone plaque that marks the place – right on the beach. The plaque forms part of a wooden boardwalk that is an easy stroll which too offers incredible views over the crashing seas. In the evenings or when the typical Cape Storms roll in, curl up in front of a cosy fire with the sound of the crashing waves in the background.