Best Things to Do at The Southern Tip of Africa

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Most people think Cape Point is the southernmost point of the African continent, but it is not! The southern tip of Africa is in the Agulhas National Park in the Cape Agulhas municipality in the Western Cape Province of South Africa. It is a popular tourist attraction and offers much to do, see and experience. In this article, learn more about the southernmost tip of Africa’s location, how to get there and the best things to do at the southern tip of Africa.

Where Is the Southern Tip of Africa?

You can find the southern tip of Africa in Cape Agulhas in the Western Cape Province. Cape Agulhas is 224 km from Cape Town and takes less than 3 hours to drive by car.  

Although there is a perception that Cape Point is the southern point of South Africa where the Indian and Atlantic oceans meet, the official position of the tip lies between Cape Agulhas and Cape Point.

Many people may see Cape Agulhas as the dividing point between the two oceans, but it is not the dividing point between the Agulhas and Benguela currents.

Southern Tip of Africa Pin 2

The International Hydrographic Organisation (IHO) has declared that the two oceans meet about 200 km from Cape Point. The Hydrographic Office of the South African Navy and the Department of Oceanography at the University of Cape Town accept this view. 

Where in Cape Agulhas is the Southern Tip of Africa?

You can find the southern tip of the Cape Peninsula in L’Agulhas in the municipal area of Cape Agulhas. L’Agulhas is a tiny seaside village. The early Portuguese seafarers discovered the area in the early 1400s and named the village Cabo das Agulhas, which means ”Cape of Needles”. The name came from the jagged reefs in the area, which claimed many ships throughout the years. The compass needles’ true North and magnetic North are the same here. 

On 16 May 1488, the Portuguese explorer, Bartholomew Dias, named it the most southern point of Africa after St Agulhas. The village’s name later changed due to the French influence in the Cape, and the village became L’Agulhas.

How to Get to Cape Agulhas

Getting to Cape Agulhas is tricky. The Cape Agulhas National Park covers most of the area, and it has only a few roads, meaning to get there, you have to drive around the Cape Agulhas National Park. The best way to get to Cape Agulhas is by car. Drive along the N2 and R316 from Cape Town to Cape Agulhas. 

Why not do Clarens Drive or visit the penguins at Stony Point when you drive from Cape Town to Cape Agulhas?


If you come from Mossel Bay in the Garden Route, you will drive 276 km for 3 hours to get to Cape Agulhas.

Don’t have a car? We recommend RentalCars!

Several tours stop here, including:

Shipwrecks Near the Southernmost Point of The African Continent

The traditional route ships took between England, Australia, New Zealand and the Far East was called the Clipper Route. It was considered the fastest route because of its strong westerly winds. Captains would use this benefit by passing South Africa en route on their return journey. If things went well, they would complete their journey fast to enjoy the rewards they’ve earned from their journey, but in many cases, they shipwrecked. 

The ”Cape Horn” or Cape of Storms was the name for the treacherous coastline between Cape Point and Cape Agulhas. About 150 ships shipwrecked here. The first recorded shipwreck was the Zoetendal in 1673. The most famous shipwreck was the HMS Birkenhead. At this time, the principle of “”women and children first”” was in place, resulting in the women and children leaving the ship safely, but the soldiers died.

Other shipwrecks included the Joanna in 1682 and the Nossa Senhora dos Milagros in 1686. To see the artefacts from these ships, such as cannons, coins, portholes and figureheads, visit the Shipwreck Museum in Bredasdorp. You can also find artefacts from the Queen of the Thames that was shipwrecked in the area. You can still find the shipwreck of the Meisho Maru in Cape Agulhas. 

Many of these ships were wrecked because auctioneers would build fires that resembled lighthouses from a distance. Once shipwrecked, its remains and artefacts would be auctioned. Because of the many shipwrecks near Cape Agulhas, the area was called the ”ship graveyard”. 

Things to See at The Southern Point of Africa

Despite the remote nature of Cape Agulhas, it is worth visiting. Let’s explore the best places to visit at the southern point of Africa. 

1. The Cape Agulhas Lighthouse

In the 1840s, with all the shipwrecks in the area, the need for a lighthouse was established and became the responsibility of Colonel Charles Cornwell Michell. Construction started on 1 April 1847, with the cornerstone laid on 8 January 1848. The limestone lighthouse was built in homage to the Pharaohs of Alexandria. 

Cape Agulhas Lighthouse
Cape Agulhas Lighthouse

The Cape Agulhas Lighthouse started working on 1 March 1849, making it over 170 years old! It is currently the second-oldest working lighthouse in South Africa and the third-oldest lighthouse in South Africa. The South African government declared the lighthouse a national monument in 1973.

The Green Point lighthouse in Cape Town is the oldest operational lighthouse in South Africa.

The lighthouse is near the entrance of the Agulhas National Park and has a large car park. Visitors can climb 71 steps daily to experience beautiful views from the top. The stairs are steep. It can be windy at the top, so hold on to the railings! 

At the bottom of the lighthouse is a museum that opened in 1994. Here, visitors can see displays of ancient fish traps made by the Khoisan from stone. There is a small fee to visit the museum. At night, the lighthouse protects ships from the dangerous coastal reefs. 

2. The Marker for The Southernmost Point of Africa

Southern Tip of Africa

There is a small cairn in the Agulhas National Park to mark the southernmost tip of Africa. It points out the direction of the two oceans and looks out over the ocean. There is a green plaque that explains the geographical significance of the Cape.

Be aware! This marker is very busy. When we visited, a queue of people was waiting to take their pictures there!

3. The Africa Map Monument

The Africa Map Monument
Attraction near the marker for the southern tip of Africa – the Africa Map Monument

The Africa map monument is also near the marker in the Agulhas National Park. The map opened in 2019 to honour the southernmost point of the African continent. There is a boardwalk from the Cape Agulhas Lighthouse to the map monument. 

We noticed many visitors missed the map, but it is worth visiting.

4. The Shipwreck of The Meisho Maro No 38

Shipwreck of The Meisho Maro No 38
Shipwreck of The Meisho Maro No 38

The Meisho Maro No 38 was a Japanese fishing vehicle that was shipwrecked in 1982. The shipwreck is located inside the Cape Agulhas National Park. You can walk from the lighthouse to the shipwreck, but driving through the Agulhas National Park to get there is better. 

5. Enjoy Nature in The Cape Agulhas National Park

The Cape Agulhas National Park is one of South Africa’s many national parks. It features natural beauty and biodiversity. The park offers several hiking trails. 

  • A popular hiking trail is the 5,5 km Rasperpunt Trail. The trail runs from the ocean’socean’s edge to the top of the sand dunes while passing by rocky sea pools.
  • The newest hiking trail is the Two Oceans Hiking Trail. It is a circular route through the park. You hike to a viewpoint on top of the Sandberg to see the Atlantic Ocean and the Indian Ocean. The route is 10.5 km long and takes four to five hours. 

6. Enjoy the Sun on The Cape Agulhas Beach

The Cape Agulhas Beach
The Cape Agulhas Beach

You can enjoy various activities near or on Cape Agulhas Beach, including hiking along the coastline through the Cape Agulhas National Park and sunbathing. 

7. Take a Boat Tour

Visitors can enjoy a boat tour to explore the southernmost tip of South Africa. There are many boat chartering companies to choose from in Cape Agulhas.

8. Learn to Surf

Struisbaai Beach near Cape Agulhas has gentle waves, perfect for beginner surfers. The water here is warmer than in Cape Town – definitely, a good reason to learn to surf here instead!

​9. Go Fishing!

The curving coastline near Cape Agulhas offers fishermen and women a challenging fishing experience. Locals and visitors to Cape Agulhas enjoy recreational fishing because of the shallows. Fish typically caught here include Galjoen and Musselcracker. Some fishing boat companies provide you with an opportunity for deep-sea fishing.

When Is the Best Time to Visit the Southern Tip of Africa?

You can visit any time of the year. Visiting in spring, from September to November or in autumn, from February to April, is more pleasant.

Here you can learn what the best months to visit South Africa are.

Where to Stay Near the Southern Tip of Africa

To fully explore all the sights near the southern tip of Africa, consider a weekend in Cape Agulhas. Here are some of the accommodation options in the area:

Sabs | South Africa Travel Blog

By Sunelle

Editor of the South Africa Travel Blog that focuses on travel to South Africa, including destinations, attractions, accommodation, food & drink.

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