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FOCUS ON AGULHAS NATIONAL PARK

Posted on the 8th June 2012

SANParks Feature: Agulhas National Park

Geographical extremes capture the imagination. From ancient mariners to contemporary mankind, the quest has always been to reach the poles, sail around the tips of continents, conquer the highest peaks and dive to the ultimate depths.

This is the same spirit that captivated the explorers of yesteryear who braved one of the most challenging sea crossings of their time: the Atlantic-Indian Ocean crossing via Cape Agulhas. As the southern-most tip of Africa, it has always had its mysteries and adventure, and still captures the imagination of contemporary explorers. This windswept, ruggedly beautiful coastal plain at the southernmost tip of Africa, with its rich cultural and natural heritage, has been proclaimed as the Agulhas National Park on the 23rd of September 1999. The park started as a 4 ha portion of land at the southern tip and has grown through the additions of 36 portions, bringing the area of the Park to 20 959 ha. The following activities are available in the surrounding towns or in the park: The Southernmost tip of Africa - the official position of the tip is 34° 49’ 58" south and 20° 00’ 12’’ east. A cairn marks the tip’s exact location. It is at this longitudinal point that the Atlantic and Indian oceans officially meet. (Agulhas). Cape Agulhas Lighthouse & Museum - the lighthouse was built to aid the early explorers on their passage of the rough seas off Cape Agulhas. Seventy-one steps lead up to the top of the second oldest working lighthouse in southern Africa. Stone mined from the adjacent limestone quarry provided the raw materials for its construction. Thebuilding also houses a unique lighthouse museum. Remains of ancient stone fish traps used by the Khoisan people can be seen to the east of the lighthouse.

Graveyard of ships: The Zoetendal, Birkenhead and Armiston are some of the many shipwrecks found along the Agulhas coastline. Showpieces from these shipwrecks are on display at the Bredasdorp Shipwreck museum. Visitors to the area can still see the remains of the Meisho Maru 38 wreck on the shores of Cape Agulhas.

Fynbos: The Agulhas Plain has great diversity of flora. The Agulhas area contains representatives of unique vegetation such as limestone fynbos. Although most species bloom between May and September, there are flowers to be enjoyed in any season.

Fynbos Walk: Explore the Agulhas Plain with its great diversity of indigenous flora, and unique vegetation such as limestone fynbos! Please enquire about the Fynbos Flower Show which is on display alternatively in Elim & Agulhas.

Fishing: Fishing permits can be purchased from the Struisbaai Post Office at the Struisbaai Mall. Rock and Deep sea fishing is a favourite pass time for most visitors at the Southern Tip.


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