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Cape Agulhas Lighthouse (South Africa)

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Address: Agulhus National Park / Cape Agulhas / Western Cape / South Africa.

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      18.11.2012 13:08
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      A nice pit-stop

      Cape Agulhas in South Africa's Western Cape region is the official southernmost tip on the continent of Africa. It is the official designated point where the Atlantic and Indian Oceans meet (although the exact point fluctuates). Previously it was thought that Cape Point, further to the West was the southernmost point but this has since been disproved. As you drive into the small town of L'Agulhas you will see claims for all the establishments to be the southernmost everything - pub, café etc. We parked up just out of town near the Cape Agulhas monument and lighthouse. It is a short walk to the monument which marks the official dividing line between the two oceans and is an obligatory tourist photo spot. It was quite windy here but that may be a seasonal thing - it was August, therefore winter in this hemisphere. We then walked back to the lighthouse. The lighthouse has a small museum which is R17.50 (£1.50/$2.35) to enter. Small is the key word here but it does tell the story of lighthouses, both in the region and globally which information on other famous lighthouses around the world. It would be great for any lighthouse geek and is small and informative enough to entertain the casual browser. To be honest I only paid the admission to the museum because it included a climb up the tower. The lighthouse is apparently the second oldest working lighthouse still standing in South Africa (there are older lighthouse sites, but the lighthouses have subsequently been upgraded) and was built in 1848 in the style of the Egyptian Faros lighthouse. The climb is quite steep (apparently 71 steps) and they do try and warn you of that as you enter, but anyone of a reasonable fitness and able to climb a few flights of stairs should not have a problem as there are places to wait and rest. It is quite narrow so you can only get one person going either up or down at any time. The 'steps' are more like ladders in that there are gaps between them and they are quite steep. If you are not good with heights you may want to give these a miss, however you can only see down one flight, you are not looking all the way to the bottom floor of the lighthouse. At the top of the lighthouse there is a narrow ledge with railings. You would only get a few people up here at a time comfortably. It was also very windy. Sadly the view isn't up to much - the coastline is fairly barren and there are not the dramatic cliffs that you get a Cape Point or Good Hope. Also within the ground floor of the lighthouse is a small café-restaurant. It makes a bit of a mockery of all the claims of "Southernmost café" and whatnot in the town. They offer main meals as well as snacks, breakfasts and a range of beverages. It is a bit cramped but very cosy. I don't recall any lavatories within the lighthouse, but there are average public toilets in a separate block next door. I guess I can now say that I have had a wee in the southernmost toilets in Africa. Overall Cape Agulhas is a nice way to break a journey if you are travelling to or from Cape Town via The Garden Route but it is nothing spectacular compared to the coastal scenery in other parts of the country.

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