L’Agulhas Lighthouse to
6am Thursday 18 February 2021 from Hermanus
8am at Cape Agulhas Lighthouse
DISTANCE : 18 kms
GPS Co-ordinates @ L’Agulhas Lighthouse S34°49’59’’ E20°00’12”
GPS Co-ordinates @ Brandfontein Farmstead S34°76’67” E19°86’67”
The walkers set off in the morning along the boardwalk in front of the Agulhas Lighthouse towards the shore and to the stone Cairn, denoting the southernmost point of Africa. This is the official spot where the Indian and Atlantic Oceans meet, although they don’t flow into one another at exactly that spot but much further into the sea across a vast area. The name Agulhas comes from the Portuguese navigators during the 16th century, as their compass needles would always point north as they sailed past this point (magnetic north coincides with true north), hence “Cabo d’Agulhas” meaning Cape of Needles.
The group hike along the coastal footpath through the Agulhas National Park. The wreck of the Meisho Maru, a Japanese fishing vessel that lost its battle with a fierce storm on 16 November 1982, is testament to the Cape of Storm’s reputation. Approximately 2km further from the wreck, a boardwalk turns left towards the Rasperpunt. Look for stone walls in the shallow gullies, which served as Stone Age fish traps for the local inhabitants. The route continues on to the small fishing hamlet of Suiderstrand. The walkers hit the beach, strewn with pebbles and shingle which can be challenging, but a break is then called on the beach in front of the national park’s thatched chalet camp, where there is a chance to swim.
Within the Agulhas National Park, the walkers continue along the coastline in front of the high dunes known as “Die Walle” mentioned in the South African writer Daleen Matthee’s last novel, Driftwood. The route comes across a spring of fresh water – the only fresh water en route, also mentioned in her book. And as journalist Fiona McIntosh described her Walk in 2017 “The afternoon was spent walking along the beach or fisherman’s paths enjoying the sound and smell of the sea, the seagulls, African black oystercatchers and the tiny little Sanderlings that trotted along the water’s edge.”
Then a long open beach, before the end point of day one is reached at Brandfontein farmstead, an old farm on the shore, where transport will be waiting to take the group to the accommodation at Die Damme resort. Everyone has time to be welcomed with coffee & cake, settle into their allocated chalets, unpack, rest, relax, swim and enjoy each other’s company before dinner.
A BIT OF HISTORY
Agulhas Lighthouse Steeped in history, the Agulhas Lighthouse is the 2nd oldest in South Africa. It became in use on 1st March 1849 and is the oldest working lighthouse in the country. The notorious winter storms and high waves have caused many a ship to wreck along this stretch of coast, which lead to this lighthouse’s construction. Up 71 steps take you to the top of the lighthouse, with a museum housed in the main building.