I’ve been wanting to visit Cape Agulhas since my first visit to Cape Town in 2011, when I took a day trip around the Cape Peninsula and learned that the Cape of Good Hope is not, in fact, the southernmost point in Africa. It took another decade but I finally made it to Cape Agulhas, Africa’s real southern tip, a couple of weeks ago.

Cape Agulhas Lighthouse
The beautiful Cape Agulhas Lighthouse overlooking the beach. Agulhas means “needles” in Portuguese, and was so named because compass needles allegedly always pointed north at this spot.
Thorsten on the beach near the southernmost point in Africa
Thorsten at the southernmost point in Africa.

Cape Agulhas is 200 kilometers southeast of Cape Town and not terribly easy to get to, as a large section of the coastline is a national park without any roads. You’d think after ten years of yearning to see this remote, magical spot — where I could look out over the water and know I was closer to Antarctica than I’ve ever been before — that I would maximize my visit when I finally got there. You’d think I would do my research in advance and see all the sights, like any respectable travel blogger (or any normal tourist, for that matter), would. But alas, if you thought that — you were wrong.

Thorsten and I took a mid-day drive to Cape Agulhas from Arniston, which is about 40 minutes away. We spent a couple of hours admiring Agulhas’ natural beauty, gazing up at the 170-year-old lighthouse, and photographing ourselves at the historic marker where the Atlantic and Indian Oceans meet. We had lunch in a pub in L’Agulhas (the town at Cape Agulhas), which may or may not be the southernmost pub in Africa.

Heather at the southernmost point in Africa at Cape Agulhas
Here I am on the plaque marking the meeting point of the Atlantic and Indian Oceans. (Photo: Thorsten Deckler)
Thorsten at the Cape Agulhas plaque
Thorsten in the same spot.
Beach and flowers at Agulhas
The coast was stunning and covered in wildflowers.
Rocks at Agulhas
I was obsessed with the vivid, rust-colored lichen on the rocks.
Agulhas Lighthouse
Another shot of the lighthouse, which I photographed from every angle (except inside).
The Crafty Pig pub in L'Agulhas
The Crafty Pig, where we had lunch. The bottle store in the same centre has a sign saying it’s Africa’s southernmost bottle store. So I’m assuming the Crafty Pig is Africa’s southernmost pub, although there is no sign attesting to this. We enjoyed our meal there.

But somehow we missed several of Cape Agulhas’ most important sights. Near the old marker is a huge Africa map monument, opened in 2019, honoring the continent’s southernmost point. We saw it from a distance but somehow just didn’t walk over to it, even though there is a really nice boardwalk winding down from the lighthouse and along the coast, incorporating the different monuments.

We walked a little way along the boardwalk (Thorsten was picking up kelp trumpets as he walked), but we got tired after a while and turned back.

We didn’t go to see the wreck of the Meisho Maro No. 38, a Japanese fishing vessel that ran aground in 1982. Apparently the wreck is only a 20-minute walk from the southernmost point marker but I decided I was too tired.

Worst of all, we didn’t visit the Cape Agulhas Lighthouse Museum, which is inside the lighthouse. I’m actually livid with myself over this. We read later that it’s the only museum of its kind in Africa, and you can climb all the way up to the lamp at the top, and the view from up there is amazing, and…UGH.

Agulhas Lighthouse from the back
The lighthouse from the back, where the entrance to the museum is. There was even a guy walking in at the moment I took this picture. To Thorsten’s credit, he did ask if we should go inside. But I was tired and hangry and said no.
Thorsten's sketch of Cape Agulhas Lighthouse
Thorsten‘s sketch of the lighthouse.

For what it’s worth, I have a few excuses for this woeful travel-blogging performance:

  • I was so excited just to see the southernmost point in Africa that I didn’t think about anything else once we got there.
  • Thorsten and I woke up early that morning to hike to the Waenhuiskrans Cave, and we had already done a lot of walking by the time we arrived in L’Agulhas.
  • I was wearing a new pair of sandals (very stupid decision — I should have worn sneakers) and my feet were sore.
  • I was experiencing a delayed hangover from the previous weekend at Noble Vice.

At any rate, what’s done is done. L’Agulhas is a very remote place and I probably won’t get back there anytime soon. But even though I’m livid with myself, I’m still really glad we went and got to experience the beautiful scenery and a unique place in Africa.

A lazy blog is better than no blog at all. Consider my story and example of what not to do when visiting Cape Agulhas.

Agulhas scenery
The end.
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