Agulhas National Park
Travel to Agulhas National Park – Geographical Extremes and Diverse Species
The Agulhas National Park in the Western Cape of South Africa is rich in natural and cultural features. The Agulhas Plain is a very important component of the Cape Floral Kingdom, the smallest and richest of the world’s six plant kingdoms. It is on the southern tip of South Africa and shrouded in mystery and legend, however, it is the rugged beauty of the park that mainly attracts visitors to it.
The area around the southern-most tip of Africa, often referred to as the Agulhas Plain, has rich natural and cultural features, which make it worthy of national park status. The Agulhas Plain is of international significance due to its rich plant biodiversity and the discovery of stone hearths and pottery, together with shell middens, link the archaeological deposits with the era of Khoisan migration and settlements.
The Agulhas area also provides history of a different kind; numerous shipwrecks of the early explorers that attempted to conquer the wild seas off the southern tip of Africa dot the coastline.
Cape Agulhas lighthouse, the Graveyard of ships (the Zoetendal, Birkenhead and Armiston), and the Elim water mill are among the national monuments found in the area. Also, this plain has a rich source of all kinds of wildlife ranging from birds and frogs to the most majestic marine life.
The Agulhas Plain is unique in that a wide variety of wetlands can be found in the area, contributing to a high diversity of wetland plants and aquatic invertebrates. In addition, these wetlands attract a host of water birds, with over 21 000 migrant and resident wetland birds estimated to occur in the area annually. The coastline supports a rich marine life, with breeding sites of rare coastal birds such as the African black oyster catcher. Also 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 Agulhas coast which make an awe-inspiring sight to see.
Besides its ecological importance, the Agulhas area also has a rich cultural heritage due to the presence of significant archaeological sites along the coast.
Some activities that are being planned for visitors to Agulhas National Park are nature trails and a trail that traverses South Africa’s southern tip, an environmental education centre and a museum.
Relax by soaking up the atmosphere or taking part in activities such as bird watching. Or perhaps visit the nearby towns of L’Agulhas and Struisbaai where you will find restaurants etc in which to while away a few hours.
You can get around Agulhas National Park by car or foot, however, be aware that it is a developing park and so facilities are few and far between.
- Explore wild and rugged landscapes.
- Spot marine life such as seals, whales and dolphins.
- Visit local towns to see South Africa’s culture.