Wildlife Sanctuaries and Game Lodges

ID #1361

Agulhas National Park, L’Agulhas, Overberg, Western Cape.

The southernmost tip of Africa, which is marked by a cairn of stones, has always had its mysteries and adventure.

The Agulhas plain is of international significance due to its rich biodiversity, with species richness values rivalling tropical rain forests. It has approximately 2000 species, including 100 endemic to the area. Although most species bloom between May and September, there are flowers to be enjoyed in any season. There are a variety of wetlands in the area, which contributes to the high diversity of wetlands and invertebrates. It is also home to the endangered Cape platanna and the micro frog. In addition, they attract a host of water birds, with over 21000 migrant visitors annually. The coastline supports rich marine and inter-tidal life, with breeding sites of 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 off the coast.

A reconnaissance of the area has established the existence of archaeological sites. Stone hearths and together with shell middens link the deposits with Khoisan migration and settlement. Archaeological middens remind contemporary man of a hunter-gatherer culture that lived here in harmony with its environment. Khoi-khoi trapped fish here using ingeniously designed and constructed tidal traps. Remains of such fish traps can be seen east of the lighthouse.

Many ships were wrecked here en-route to the East by the “Cape of Storms” – the Zoetendal, Birkenhead and Arniston to name a few. The remnants are on display in the Bredasdorp Shipwreck Museum. The wreck of the Meisha Maru 38 is still visible.

Many national monuments are found in the area, such as the Cape Agulhas Lighthouse that has been in operation since 1847. It also houses the unique Lighthouse Museum. Historical buildings such as the water mill at Elim and certain homesteads reflect European influence in the region.

It was recently proclaimed a National Park and is still being developed. There are limited tourist and toilet facilities at present. Planned activities include several nature trails, an environmental education centre as well as a world-class museum and interpretative centre. Pets are not allowed into the park. Vehicle repairs, post office, medical or police services are available in L’Agulhas or Struisbaai. Enquiries about this park should be made at +27 (28) 341 0705.

Travel south on the R319 from Bredasdorp, which is south of Riviersonderend, which is on the N2 east of Swellendam, which is at the intersection of the N2 with the N15. From Cape Town, turn south off the N2 at Caledon towards Bredasdorp. From the east, turn south off the N2 near Swellendam and pass through Bredasdorp. The nearest towns are L’Agulhas and Struisbaai. ADAgulhas

Contct:        Agulhas National Park
South African National Parks
Box 55 Stanford 7210
+27 (28) 341 0705 telephone
e-mail:  barryh@parks-sa.co.za
web: www.parks-sa.co.za

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Last update: 2014-05-14 21:10
Author: Alan McIver
Revision: 1.2

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