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South Africa: Cape Agulhas

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Cape Agulhas | South Africa | Africa

[Visited: June 2012]

Sunlight was seeping through holes in the sky, making the calm sea surface light up with a background of mountains seemingly floating in the morning air as we drove away from Hermanus, following the coast in a south-east direction. The road unexpectedly turned into a gravel road at the turnoff near Die Dam, where the road took us a little inland, through friendly landscapes of rolling green hills with lonely trees and scattered farms. At Struisbaai, a surprisingly attractive town, we saw the ocean again, and knew we were getting close to our destination. We spotted the bright red and white lighthouse of Agulhas just around the corner, and parked at its feet - we wanted to reach the far south of Africa on foot.

Picture of Cape Agulhas (South Africa): Marking the divide between the Indian and Atlantic Ocean at Cape Agulhas

The coastline here is rather flat and not spectacular, yet merely knowing that we were walking to the southernmost spot of the African continent instilled a special feeling within us. Many believe that Cape Point, south of Cape Town, is where the oceans meet, but this is not true: it has been established officially that the Indian and Atlantic Ocean meet right at the southernmost tip of Africa, here at Cape Agulhas, even though, of course, the oceans mingle in a large chunk south of the land here. The Portuguese navigators named the cape Agulhas (needles) after they discovered, around 1500, that on their compasses, the magnetic north and the true north were virtually the same.

Picture of Cape Agulhas (South Africa): Lighthouse guiding ships around Cape Agulhas

The weather was nice, there was no wind to speak of, and the sea looked very calm with a pleasant surf when we walked the kelp-strewn rocky coast towards the marker which helps identifying the extreme south of the African continent. Behind the marker, the surf breaks on the rocky shore, and we discovered small natural pools. While appearing peaceful, this coast at Cape Agulhas can be very treacherous; many ships turned into wrecks giving the coastline the nickname Graveyard of Ships. The population here is mixed, partly because descendants of survivors of those unfortunate vessels settled in this remote region. Two friendly South Africans approached us, telling us that they were visiting this spot for the very first time in their lives. After enjoying the sea breeze and fresh air, it was time to climb the steep stairs to the top of the attractive Cape Agulhas lighthouse, from where we not only had a great view of the coastal landscape at this extreme of Africa, but also a close-up of the light of the lighthouse itself.

Picture of Cape Agulhas (South Africa): Small pool surrounded by rocks at Cape Agulhas
Picture of Cape Agulhas (South Africa): Southernmost tip of Africa with small pool surrounded by rocks
Picture of Cape Agulhas (South Africa): Road to the most southerly point of Africa
Picture of Cape Agulhas (South Africa): Lighthouse of Cape Agulhas seen from below
Picture of Cape Agulhas (South Africa): The Indian and Atlantic Ocean meet on a rocky shore near Cape Agulhas
Picture of Cape Agulhas (South Africa): The extreme south of Africa at Cape Agulhas
Picture of Cape Agulhas (South Africa): Rock formation on the shore at Cape Agulhas where oceans meet
Picture of Cape Agulhas (South Africa): The contours of the lighthouse at Cape Agulhas under a cloudy sky
Picture of Cape Agulhas (South Africa): Looking at the light in the lighthouse at Cape Agulhas
Picture of Cape Agulhas (South Africa): Panoramic view of the coastline of Cape Agulhas from the lighthouse
Picture of Cape Agulhas (South Africa): Close-up of the light in the lighthouse of Cape Agulhas

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Personal travel impressions both in words and images from Cape Agulhas (South Africa). Clicking on the pictures enlarges them and enables you to send the picture as a free e-card or download it for personal use, for instance, on your weblog. Or click on the map above to visit more places close to Cape Agulhas.
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