Places of Interest

L’Agulhas

Cape Agulhas is a rocky headland that is the geographic southern tip of Africa and the official dividing point between the Atlantic and Indian Oceans as defined by the International Hydrographic Organization (IHO), who put the western limit of the Indian Ocean as 20° longitude East which is at Cape Agulhas (coordinates 34°50′0.35″S 19°59′59.95″E).

This is where the two oceans meet (and not at Cape Point as believed by many). This, the southernmost point is marked by a cairn which can be reached via a leisurely stroll along the wooden boardwalk.

Cape Agulhas Lighthouse is the second oldest operating lighthouse in Southern Africa and is well worth a visit. It is designed along the lines of the Pharos at Alexandria. It has its own Lighthouse Museum, the only one of its kind in Africa with information and pictures of various lighthouses around the world. Take the opportunity to climb the staircase to the top to see the view. Remnants of the Khoisan fish traps may still be seen on the L’Agulhas shore where there is a very large tidal pool, a great attraction for visitors and locals alike, as are the views of the rugged coastline.

Agulhas National Park

This property is the neighbour of the L’Agulhas Nature Reserve. The southernmost tip of Africa has always had its mysteries and adventure, and still captures the imagination of contemporary explorers. Amongst the mysteries associated with this region is the legendary “Cape of Storms” which wrecked many ships en route to the east via Cape Agulhas. Ancient people also left their mark on the landscape. For example, archaeological middens remind contemporary man of a successful hunter-gathering culture that was in harmony with its natural environment; and a cultural heritage that dates back thousands of years to when the Khoi-Khoi people trapped fish using ingeniously constructed tidal traps.

Things to do include:

  • walking on the boardwalk to the cairn at the southernmost tip of the African continent, about 1 km west of the Cape Agulhas Lighthouse
  • viewing the Southern Right Whale – between June and November
  • looking for the African Black Oystercatcher, endangered with a population of less than 5000 adults, and the Damara Tern , listed as “Near Threatened” owing to its moderately small population
  • visiting the Saltpans with their varied bird life
  • doing one of the many interesting walks and trails within the Park.

Struisbaai

The town is an old fishing village which for many years sported a beautiful natural harbour. Some development has taken place since then but Struisbaai is still relatively untouched by the rigours of overdevelopment. Many fishermen still reside in this settlement but it is now known better for its leisure activities, which include not only fishing but also horse-riding, quadbiking, sailing, kite surfing, wet-biking/jet skiing,  paintball, scuba diving, wreck-salvaging, whale watching and hiking on endless beaches. The harbour is very scenic with traditional commercial wooden fishing boats. There are boardwalks on either side of the harbour. A slipway enables the launching of recreational fishing boats.  Regular rock, surf and deep-sea angling tournaments attract many visitors.

On entering Struisbaai from Bredasdorp, one will see this old historical fishing village of Hotagterklip; founded in the middle of the 19th century. The pretty white-washed fishermen’s houses have been well restored and offer a traditional fisherman’s experience.

Arniston/Waenhuiskrans

Arniston or Waenhuiskrans is a small seaside settlement. The name Arniston comes from the East Indiaman that was wrecked at this site on 30 May 1815 and about 350 persons were lost. Exactly 200 years later on 30 May 2015 the wreck of the Arniston was commemorated by a ceremony, amongst other activities, at the monument about 4 km north east of the town near the wreck on the beach. The British High Commissioner laid a wreath at the monument and the Bishop of False Bay conducted the service during which a Caledonian pipe band played on the dunes.

This shipwreck influenced our gable design in the Reserve. The Scottish parents of a casualty on the wreck settled in Arniston and taught the locals how to build houses in the style of Scottish crofts. Our L’Agulhas Nature Reserve incorporated this style from the Arniston cottages.

The original name of Waenhuiskrans derives from a local sea cave large enough to accommodate a wagon and a span of oxen, and which can be explored at low tide only. It is definitely worth a visit.

De Mond Nature Reserve

The beautiful is situated 26 km south-east of Bredasdorp at the mouth of the Heuningnes River from Soetendalsvlei, between the coastal villages of Arniston (Waenhuiskrans) and Struisbaai. It is ideal for birdwatching and fishing

De Hoop Nature Reserve

This is east of Bredasdorp and offers some of the best land based whale watching in the world (e.g at Koppie Alleen). There is also a 5- day whale trail. This Reserve covers 36 000 hectares and includes 3 nautical miles of marine protected area. It is a World Heritage Site due to endemic species from the Cape Floral Kingdom. De Hoop vlei (wetland) is also a Ramsar site, recognising the resident bird species. There are 86 mammals and 260 species of bird including migrants in the Reserve. Visitors can enjoy the diversity of landscapes and things to do in de Hoop Nature Reserve. The Reserve is wonderful for beach and dune walks, whale trails and biking.

Overberg Test Range (OTB)

This is situated near Arniston, is home to a missile testing facility and is South Africa’s designated satellite launch site. The adjacent Air Force runway can handle Boeing 747s in emergencies. Although the facility is closed to the public, a bi-annual open day with bus tour takes one through well-preserved fynbos to historic landmarks such as Spitskop and Ryspunt where many ships were wrecked. Booking well in advance is most essential due to popular demand and limited bussing capacity.