Way Down South
After arriving on Sunday night after dark, i was amped to see what L’ Agulhas would reveal, i have been itching to get here for years and it hasn’t disappointed, it has exceeded expectations in every way possible.
I set an alarm, which goes against my very ethos, but i really wanted to catch some epic morning light, and set out for the Southern most point of Africa to catch the first sunrise of the Going Homeless Project.
With the iconic lighthouse set against the rising sun in the east and an angry sea to the south, the Southern tip of Africa is stark, beautiful and very cold. A cup of freshly brewed joe helped ward off the chill before i jumped back in the van and headed for a closer look at the Lighthouse.
The Lighthouse, South Africa’s third oldest lighthouse is a towering structure that sticks out of the landscape, but one look at the sea and the coastline and its very clear why it is needed. Built in 1848, it’s an homage to the Pharos of Alexandria.
I climbed the 71 one steps, actually more like rungs of a ladder, carefully, to be rewarded with a panoramic view of L’Agulhas and the coast. It was incredible. The sign inside of the final door before you exit on to the viewing platform warns of adverse weather and strong winds but I had been blessed with a still sunny day, that like my mood was starting to warm to this little village by the sea.
I then headed back South out-of-town, beyond the tip of Africa to see the famous wreck that still marks the coastline, the Melsho Meru. Wrecked back in 1982, it now is a sunny perch for sea birds. It was lunch and i was hankering for a shower, another cup of joe to recharge, before heading out for the afternoon.
On the way back through town i stopped by the Struis Baai harbor to get a gander for any photographs worth shooting and make plans for tomorrow to feed the local stingrays that hang around feeding off the fishing community.
I arrived back at the Cape Agulhas backpackers, and had a long chat with the owner Erin and her husband Malan, who were not only über cool but super happy to share a few more places to see i missed or didn’t know existed… the afternoon was getting fuller and i started pondering spending an extra night here as there was still so much i wanted to see.
The Backpackers itself is sweet as, comfy beds, great showers, a bar - The stingray that you feel obliged to drink in - beers are 11 bucks! The bar also has a massive fireplace that doubles as an indoor braai, which is very handy as the evenings get colder.
The kitchen is stocked with just about anything you could need, There is also a permanent urn of hot water which is handy for a caffeine addict like myself.
Erin is also the owner of the Way Down African Adventure Centre - handily across the road which offers a variety of mild to wild activities you can get stuck into - Adrenalin fueled boat rides, Kite Surfing, in the sea and on a fresh water lake just up the road, surf lessons, sea tubing,sea kayaking, stand up paddle boarding and bike rentals to name a few of the multitudes of fun you can get up to in Struis Baai and L’ Agulhas
The plan for the afternoon was to head to Arniston/ Waenhuiskrans to see the village and a giant cave that was recommended viewing.
Arniston is about 30 minutes drive from Struis Baai, with plenty of killer scenery to gather in as you make your way across the countryside. The village itself is tiny, but filled with some incredible places to visit - Kassies Baai, the 200-year-old fishing village - a national heritage monument is awesome, it preserves a simple way of life in this crazy connected world we live in.
The Waenhuiskraans cave is an awe-inspiring place, a little hike along the beautiful coast line with access through a hidden little hole in the “wall’ gets you into a cavernous thunderous cave - that is almost cathedral-like. It really is a place to see if you get to this part of the world.
I flew back to L’Alguhas after a very chilled afternoon cruising around Arniston to catch the sun setting over the Melsho Meru wreck before heading back to the coolest bar, way down on the tip of Africa.
After chatting to Stefene’ about what else could be seen, visited and hiked, it became apparent that staying another night was now a certainty and not optional.
If anyone ever tells you they were bored in L’Agulhas, they were doing it very wrong.
You can stay at the awesome Cape Agulhas Backpackers by checking them out on the Hostelling International website at http://www.hisouthafrica.com/index.php/hostels/hostel-cape-agulhas-cape-agulhas-backpackers