Cape Agulhas revisited


Cape Agulhas Lighthouse has been restored, not quite to what it was, which has come up for some debate.
Cape Agulhas Lighthouse has been restored, not quite to what it was, which has come up for some debate.

The Cape Agulhas area includes the towns of Bredasdorp, Napier, Arniston, Struisbaai, L’Agulhas and Elim and it’s main claim to fame is that it is at the southernmost tip of the African continent and Cape Agulhas is where the Indian and Atlantic Oceans meet.

Arniston and Napier are two villages where I’ve spent a lot of time in the past and really enjoy:  Arniston for the colour of sea, the activities at the harbour and the old fishermans’ houses; and Napier because it’s just a tiny village which has kept it character intact, attracting an interesting mix of usually-creative people.  While Arniston is poorer for the passing of Jock Dichmont (and his Strandloper pub) and Bob Harmon (and his shop and restaurant), it’s still a delightful village.  Napier has just got quirkier and quirkier and is even more delightful than when I spent time there.  The Napier Farm Stall is a compulsory stop!

Bredasdorp is the region’s ‘big town’, but it’s better than most big towns.  Places to visit include Kapula Candles (the largest manufacturer of handmade candles in the world, last time I heard) and the Bredasdorp Museum, which includes a fascinating shipwreck museum.

Struisbaai, with its harbour, and L’Agulhas are favoured by fisherman as popular weekend destinations.

Elim was a bit of a war zone.  The new road from Hermanus is under construction and will run through the town.  One wonders if the village’s charm will survive with easier access.  A visit to the Elim Watermill (built in 1828 and the largest working water mill in South Africa) was a disappointment.  It was closed and the notice on the door said “Back in 15 minutes”.  No-one came back in 15 or 30 minutes!

One disappointment was the southernmost point.  While the boardwalks are the vast improvement and the visitor amenity at the lighthouse is a vast improvement, there is now absolutely nothing to indicate where the two oceans meet!  See a previous post about this and what used to be there.  CapeInfo’s story on where Two Oceans Meet is one of the perennially most popular on the site.  This is the photo opportunity most people want and can’t get.  A sculpture is due to be erected here and we’ll publish details of that when we get them.

The Cape Agulhas area impresses, it’s clean and apparently well-managed.  Some towns might not be to everyone’s taste but they cater for specific markets.  Cape Agulhas Tourism is one of the better-managed tourist areas and one area where they really stand out is in their branding.  They do that better than any other tourist region I can think of.

PS.  Beezus’ photo at the top of this blog was taken at Cape Agulhas.


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