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Cape Agulhas, South Africa. Author and Copyright Marco Ramerini
Cape Agulhas, South Africa. Author Marco Ramerini

Cape Agulhas: the southernmost point of the African continent

Cape Agulhas is the southernmost point of the African continent, which is not the Cape of Good Hope, as is often believed. The most southern point of Africa is at a latitude of 34° 49′ 58″ south and a longitude 20° 00′ 12” east, a small monument marks the exact point, here also meet the waters of the Atlantic and Indian Ocean (Agulhas (hot, coming from the Indian Ocean) and Benguela currents (cold, coming from the Atlantic Ocean)), however it is a rocky area not spectacular, nothing to do with Cape Point; thanks to the meet between the two currents, the waters near the coast of Agulhas are one of the best fishing areas in South Africa.

The name of the Cape derives from Portuguese word “needles”, and it seems that refers to the compass needles, which pointed, in the area, exactly towards the true north, as well as other sources, the word “needles” could refer to several rocks, similar to needles, which constitute a danger to navigation.

The area around the Cape is part of the Agulhas National Park, the southernmost and even the most recent national parks of South Africa, the park covers an area of 16,804 hectares and includes an area rich in natural and cultural attractions: very important is its biodiversity, are present nearly 2,000 species of plants, of which 100 are endemic species, the area of Cape Agulhas is very important among the areas being part of the Cape Floral Kingdom (South African kingdom) it is the smallest and richest of the six plant kingdoms of the world (Boreal, Neotropical, Paleotropical, South African, Australian and Antarctic), most species blooms between May and September.

The lighthouse at Cape Agulhas, South Africa. Author and Copyright Marco Ramerini

The lighthouse at Cape Agulhas, South Africa. Author Marco Ramerini

The area is also a place for migrating waterfowl and rich in marine life through the intersection of warm and cold ocean currents. Besides the ecological noteworthy is the cultural aspect, are found evidence of archaeological deposits of the period of migration of Khoisan including ruins of ancient fish traps, that are visible east of the lighthouse; also the area is rich in remains of shipwrecks (an interesting museum on shipwrecks located in Bredasdorp: “Bredasdorp Shipwreck Museum”); finally there is the historic lighthouse at Cape Agulhas, which has been operational since 1849, and is the second oldest of lighthouse in Southern Africa, it is a museum, the Cape Agulhas Lighthouse Museum, where it is narrated the history of the development of lighthouses in South Africa. Some paths cross the area of the park, one of them leads to the wreck of Meisho Maru, the ship sank, in 1982, 4 km west of the lighthouse.

Cape Agulhas is located about 230 km from Cape Town, from which can be reached with the N2 highway, turning Caledon and passing through Bredasdorp. From the east, leave the N2 highway near Swellendam and cross Bredasdorp to get to Cape Agulhas. The towns closest to the Cape are L’Agulhas and the fishing village of Struisbaai.

Climate: the area of Cape Agulhas has a Mediterranean climate with dry and hot summers and cold and wet winters, with an average annual rainfall of about 450 mm. Temperature: January max: 23.8ºC (min: 17.7ºC); July max: 16.5ºC (min: 10.8ºC).

Kassiesbaai, Arniston, Sotuh Africa. Author and Copyright Marco Ramerini

Kassiesbaai, Arniston, Sotuh Africa. Author Marco Ramerini


Arniston is a small town located on the coast of the Indian Ocean about 190 km East from Cape Town and about 100 km East from Hermanus. Arniston is a short distance from Cape Agulhas, and from the beautiful white dunes of De Hoop Nature Reserve.

The town is composed of two distinct villages: Arniston, a center characterized by modern houses and the ancient Kassiesbaai which is a fishing village, very quaint with beautiful white houses some dating back to about 200 years ago, which has been declared a national monument.

In Waenhuiskrans Nature Reserve, near Arniston, is interesting to visit the huge sea cave called Waenhuiskrans and the beautiful white sand dunes that characterize the area around the town. The visit to the cave is to be done during low tide, because at high tide the cave fills with water.

In Arniston is possible to eat good fish caught daily by local fishermen. Feature is the departure of the fishermen, who at dawn, aided by a tractor put their fishing vessels at sea. Another interesting aspect is the observation of whales that are easily visible from the coast between June and October.

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