Travels

At the bottom of Africa – Cape Agulhas

March 17, 2017

After a long European stay we arrived back home to South Africa. Immediately after landing in Cape Town we headed even further south, in fact as far south as you can possibly get – Cape Agulhas. Although most of the holiday makers head to magical Cape Town for the summer season ( peaking over December and January ) for us its better to be away from the hustle and bustle, traffic and well yes, tourists. The Western Cape province has so much to offer in terms of fantastic coastal holiday destinations. Beaches you don’t have to share, and tranquility in abundance. Not to mention a warmer ocean than you will find in Cape Town. For myself at least, the festive time of the year has always been symbolised by time at the coast. Board shorts, the ocean, good wine and braai ( South African slang for barbecue ).

A three hour drive down the east coast will get you to Agulhas. The drive will take you over the Hottentots Holland mountain range and to an immediate change of scenery. Through the almost forest-like surrounds of Grabouw and Elgin Valley with its fruit farms to the rolling wheat fields of the Overberg, with thousand shades of green and brown, depending on the time of year. Don’t miss the turn off and opportunity to stop at one of the many padstals ( farm stalls ) along the way for cup of rooibos tea ( red bush tea ) and homemade rusks amongst other delights. You will also pass through a few farming villages showing the colonial history of the cape such as small town or Napier. Blink and you WILL miss it.

Eventually at the literal end of the road you will get to the town of Cape Agulhas. Marked with a beautiful lighthouse and shop reading ‘The Southern most cafe in Africa’ you would have arrived. The road does continue a bit further as a dirt road to the actual sign showing the very bottom of the continent. And one or two small outcrops of houses you won’t find on any map ( hidden tip ). Here at the tip is where the warm Indian and cold Atlantic oceans collide. Please don’t get caught out by the fable that the oceans meet at Cape Point, this is NOT true and NOT possible. This is not the busiest tourist attraction, even at the height of the December holiday season. Only one rustic rock is designated as the landmark where people take turns for the photos. More impressive than the photos is the feeling of being the southernmost person in whole of Africa!

Agulhas is named in the Portuguese word for needles. This is for the rocks that are said to that sharp and apparently because it confused the compass needles of passing ships. The coastline is littered with wrecks and if this interest you do a favour and stop the ship wreck museum in Bredasdorp. The history who just how many ships have been wrecked on this coastline is staggering.

Accommodation down the coast and through the famous Garden Route can be a bit tricky to find. Hotels are rare so guest houses and bed and breakfasts are where you should look. For the more relaxed traveller there are plenty backpackers and camping sights. However, because this is the area where most South Africans enjoy their summer holidays’ pre-booking might be necessary.

Most activities will centre around the beach, of course. These coastal towns are fishing orientated so theres always fresh catch to enjoy. Hiking, horseback riding and outdoor sports are a plenty, and reading, afternoon naps and braai’s are compulsory.

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