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L’Agulhas, formerly called Cape Agulhas, is the most southern coastal village in Africa, located at the southernmost tip of the African mainland.

The name “Agulhas”, Portuguese for “needles”, is said to have been given to this cape because the compass-needle was seen to point due north, that is, with no magnetic deviation.

Tourist interests and activities include a visit to the town’s lighthouse with a view from the tower and a walkway along the seafront to the most southern African monument – and a place where two oceans meet at the foot of Africa. A little further along the walkway is the shipwreck of Meisho Maru. Tourists also enjoy the local fynbos plants, bird watching, hiking or swimming in the local tidal pools.

The above blurb was kindly brought to you by Wikipedia, and I couldn’t have put it any better myself. Except to add that when I was in L’Agulhas recently I was pleased to see quite a few tourists taking selfies down at “the tip” – where the placard pictured above is plastered – a welcome sign of the slow but steady re-birth of local tourism. Being a town almost solely reliant on the tourism trade, souvenir shops and other small businesses have been brought to their knees during this pandemic, and the ajoining town of Struisbaai even has a mock “graveyard” for businesses that have died during the various levels of lockdown.

And so, when you DO drive down to L’Agulhas to get the “I was at the southern most tip of Africa” t-shirt, be sure to stop in to Struisbaai’s harbour to catch a glimpse of Parry the resident stingray, who swims right up to the wooden jetty you’re on and may even let you touch him.

Then, keep going on to L’Agulhas, which is a further 8km down the track. The main road through L’Agulhas has a butchery, a wine-tasting spot, two cafés and a bottle store. Every other building here is either a holiday home or a guest house. Then you’ll arrive at a parking lot and a dirt road. Carry on down the dirt road to go 4×4-ing, or exit your vehicle to climb the lighthouse stairs and  then walk the walkway to the end of the African continent.

It’s wild and rugged. So, take a roadtrip!

Guy Hawthorne

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