The Biodiversity Gem of Cape Agulhas
Although Agulhas National Park is renowned for its geographical significance, being the southernmost national park in Africa, but there is so much more that makes the reserve unique. The environmental extremes between sea and land combined with the maritime history of the Cape of Storms make it a destination worthy of capturing any explorer’s imagination.
The crossing of the Indian and Atlantic Ocean create the tumultuous ocean currents and the combination brings with it an incredible marine diversity. Looking out toward the horizon between July and December could result in spotting a whale or a rare African Black Oystercatcher roaming the resplendent beaches. The coastline edge of the Park boasts rock pools, sand and pebble beaches and a lagoon that are all home to micro-organisms and shells that are wonderful to roam through and observe.
As sand turns to fynbos the land has as much, if not more, to offer in terms of biodiversity and magnificence. The sheer diversity of fynbos is renowned and the intricate beauty can be spotted on a hike through the reserve. The acquired taste of the fynbos lures some endemic birds that are privy only to the scents of the Cape Floral Kingdom, so between the fynbos loving birds and the rare coastal birds it is a destination worthy of any bird lover. Those with an eye for bigger fare can keep an eye out for Zebras, Bontebok, various reptiles, Baboons and other animals that are drawn to the unique plant life of the area along with the solitude the reserve provides.
The Agulhas National Park is also where visitors will find the monument marking the spot for the southernmost point in Africa where the two oceans collide. A few metres from this geographical spot lies the Meishu Maru, a shipwreck that has been washed up on the rocks since 1982 and stands as a rusty monument to all the 150 ships that met their doom along the same route. Signs of early man invoke an element of mystery and ancient history to the National Park.
The ruggedly beautiful area was proclaimed the Agulhas National Park in September 1999 and started with only 4 hectares of land, which has now expanded to include 20 959 hectares. The vision of the park has always been to conserve the unique marine, terrestrial and aquatic biodiversity of the area as well as the cultural heritage. Through promoting the conservation, management and sustainability of the area it is the hope to retain the spirit of the Southern Tip of Africa. Hopefully this vision will spill into the region’s social and economic dynamic and impact it in a positive way.
The Agulhas National Park is open to day visitors and those that want to spend the night can stay at the Agulhas Rest Camp where there are chalets and cottages.