If you have been to Cape Point and like me, you thought you have crossed the most southern point of Africa from your bucket list, think again! Cape Agulhas, a small coastal town about three hours from Cape Town, is actually where the most southern tip of Africa is. I recently spent the weekend in L’Agulhas at the Agulhas Country Lodge and I cannot wait to go back during the whale season. I will expand on this later.Agulhas Country Lodge is a family business run by husband and wife, Phil and Sue Fenwick, with the help of their daughter Chelsea. The lodge is perfectly positioned high up on a hillside, a mere 50 metres from the beach and has 8 en suite rooms. There are several fireplaces for those who visit in winter to keep warm. It is also part of the Cape Country Routes collection which is a scenic route that stretches from Cape Town to Port Elizabeth. What you can expect to find on the route is independently owned hotels with unique character, like that of the Agulhas Country Lodge. The route comprises anything from the award winning wine farm accommodation and lodges where you can explore the garden route and experience the open skies of the Karoo along Route 62 and also enjoy whale season.
L’Agulhas is really a small town which we found out when we had to replace a cellphone charger! There was none to be found in the small town and we would have had to travel to the adjoining town of Bredasdorp to find one. So, with one cellphone on, we decided to check out what the area has in store for us instead. There is a lot to do and a stop at the Agulhas Lighthouse is a must. Right next to the lighthouse there is the Agulhas National Parks Office where you can purchase a map for only R10 to guide you around the hiking trails along the natural Agulhas coastline. Please note that not all hiking trails are open to the public but Rasperpunt hiking trail commonly known as the Agulhas Walking Trail is only 5.5 kilometers long, and is open to the public. It’s mostly flat and manageable until you get to the final sand dune, but only for a few minutes, and the view is well worth it. If you have children with you, or don’t feel like committing the whole 5.5 kilometers, you can simply choose to stay closer to the beach on the boardwalk pathway. There are a lot of interesting stops along the way that include the Meisho Maru shipwreck; the remains of a Japanese ship that sank there in 1982. It’s great for taking pictures but save your battery for the cherry on top! The best picture opportunity is at the Southernmost tip monument with a giant African map with identifiable landmarks from the Drakensberg Mountains to the mighty Mount Kilimanjaro. At the monument you can take a picture and record your visit to the southernmost tip of the African Continent with the clearly marked Indian Ocean on your left and Atlantic Ocean on your right. I had fun jumping from one ocean to the other!As much as I was having fun, I was determined to finish the hike, so I carried on walking. With the map in hand and almost half the hike done on a fairly flat track, I was eager to hike up the dune. The most challenging part of the hike is not even five minutes long so most people can do it without any difficulties. Just follow the footsteps once on top of the dune to help you get back where you started. The hike is just under 3 hours but it’s your hike and you get to decide how much time you want to spend admiring the view. I was a little hungry so after 2,5 hours I was ready for lunch. We chose L’Agulhas Seafood for simple, but delicious, fish and chips. The restaurant is on two levels, with the lower level where it’s mostly take away, and the upper level where you will find a restaurant with a nice beach theme. The food is excellent!
For dinner the owners recommended Seagull’s restaurant and pub “With the Best Pizzas Ever”, so we had and try it. While we waited for our pizza, we welcomed chatting with locals and other patrons and found out a lot more about the town and its residents and more about the Lodge. We were told that Sue built the lodge while Phil was flying helicopters in the South African Airforce. If you are into aviation you will enjoy the aviation-themed bar and cozy cigar lounge with it’s huge fireplace.Now, returning to whale watching. Most people think that Hermanus is the only place to see whales in season. Hermanus is great for that, but if you want to escape the big crowds and still enjoy the whales, why not try the Country Routes option and L’Agulhas? The whale season starts in June to November and there is still time to start planning, and who knows, I might be joining the whale watchers there this year. Cape Country routes collection has other hotels where whale watching is possible such as De Hoop Nature Reserve and Arniston Spa Hotel.
Besides the whale season, there are a number of other events that visitors can enjoy around L’Agulhas. There are biking events for the bike lovers, marathons and wine routes all year round. My advice is to just stay longer to enjoy the full complement of what the Agulhas area has to offer. With Struisbaai and Bredastorp close by, there are many options. In Struisbaai, check out the Sea Shack Restaurant for tasty mussels and homemade soup, or, charter a boat and try to catch your own lunch!
To plan your trip check out the latest specials at https://www.capecountryroutes.com/specials/