L'Aghulhas (or Cape L'Aghulhas as it is also known) is the southern - most town on
the African continent and also the point where the cold Benguela current of the Atlantic Ocean and the strong
Aghulhas current of the Indian Ocean meet.
Amongst the mysteries of this region, is the legendary 'Cape of Storms' which
wrecked many ships en route to the east via Cape Aghulhas. Numerous shipwrecks of the early explorers attempting to
conquer the wild seas off the southern tip of Africa, dot the coastline. How it came by its name (cape of storms)
remains a mystery. One theory holds that the early Portuguese navigators gave it this name because at this point
the needles in their compasses were unaffected by magnetic deviation and bore 'directly upon the true poles of the
earth. Another possibility is that it was named after the jagged and slanting rocks that project from the surf
offshore, like a thousand needles waiting to pierce the hull of any stray ship.
The windswept, ruggedly beautiful coastal plain at the southern-most tip of Africa
has recently been proclaimed as the Aghulhas National Park. The coastline supports a rich marine and intertidal
life, with breeding sites of rare birds such as the African black oystercatcher. The nearby islands are home to a
variety of seabirds and seals. In spring and early summer Southern Right whales frequent the waters of the Aghulhas
Besides its ecological importance, the Aghulhas area has a rich cultural heritage.
The discovery of stone hearths and pottery, together with shell middens, link the archaeological deposits with the
era of Khoisan migration and settlements.
The famous Aghulhas lighthouse, dating back from 1848, is the second oldest
working lighthouse in South Africa, sending its 11-million candlepower beam far over the dark sea. The koppie
(hill) behind the lighthouse offers a panoramic view of the point where the Atlantic and Indian Oceans meet. In the
shallow gullies near the Lighthouse, the remains of ancient fish traps - made by packing layers of rocks around the
pools where the original Khoe Khoe inhabitants collected their fish - can still be seen.