Agulhas National Park encompasses the most- southerly land in Africa, where the Indian Ocean meets the Atlantic. This area is often windy, and has rich marine and coastal life. It’s also home to archaeological remains of stone-age Strandloper people. Size: 20 959 hectares. Situated at the temperate southern tip of Africa.
Agulhas National Park
I've spent a few days recently at Agulhas National Park, and while I was in the area, I spent some time with the local farmers. There's a fascinating and optimistic story unfolding down here at the southern end of the African continent.
Dirk Human's family has been farming in the area for several generations. As Dirk explained, no one is sure of the exact date, but it was around 1850 that his great-grandfather Pieter Albertyn shot the last hippo of the southern Cape.
In 2009 Dirk released a pod of five hippo into a large vlei on his farm, just a few kilometres from Cape Agulhas. The hippos came from Lake St Lucia in northern KwaZulu-Natal.
“Because my groot-oupa shot the last hippo, maybe I had a duty to bring them back,” said Dirk.
The hippos have since had two calves in the Read more »
- by Thandi Davies.
We feel pretty windswept at the moment, and a bit perplexed as to how there can be so much air to blow!
This week I have found a new favourite author - Dalene Matthee. I have just read her last book, Driftwood, translated from Afrikaans, which was very evocative of the land and sea scapes of the Strandveld. It was exciting for me to read a book about the very place I was staying, especially in South Africa. Sometimes, South African authors seem reluctant to name the places in which their books are set. I feel it gives us a sense of recognition when real towns and villages, beaches and beach houses are named in South Africa.
Driftwood is about a man who as a baby is washed up on the rocks amongst the Read more »
There were once rhinos at the southern-most tip of Africa. And elephants. And hippos. And buffalos. And lions. In fact, the area around Cape Agulhas – known as the strandveld (literally ‘sandy land’ in Afrikaans, due to its sandy soils) – was rich in wildlife. So much so that it was apparently known to early hunters as the Serengeti of the south.
For our last two days in Agulhas National Park, we moved inland from the Main Rest Camp on the coast to Renosterkop – a collection of three quaint old renovated thatch cottages which can be rented individually. Renosterkop used to be an old farm, but it was one of several that South African National Parks bought to augment Agulhas National Park’s ecological footprint.
Renosterkop means “rhino’s head” in Afrikaans, and like several other Read more »
Yesterday I bumped into Meredith Thornton, the manager of Cetacean Research at the Mammal Research Institute at Pretoria University. Basically, she's one of South Africa's experts on whales, and she's currently in the Agulhas area flying low over the ocean, taking photos of all the whales which come into the sheltered bays along the southern Cape coast.
Southern right whales arrive from the southern oceans to give birth to their young, and their numbers peak in September and October. They use the bays to suckle their young, which are born about 5 metres long, and grow at an astonishing rate of about 2,5cm per day - the mother's milk is incredibly rich.
Of course, whales were hunted for several centuries, and were only given protection in the last few decades. The Southern Right Read more »
So here we are, at the Southern tip of Africa. What a wonderful place to be! Check out the satellite photo on Google Maps.
The name Agulhas means “needles” in Portuguese, and refers perhaps either to the sharp rocky reefs that have ensnared more than 120 ships along this stretch of shoreline, or more likely, the name was given because the compass points due north, showing no deflection. (I wonder what the local 'strandlopers' would have called this area, more than 100 000 years ago?)
The Portuguese explorer Bartolomeu Dias recorded the first navigation around the cape in the late 1400s, Read more »
Thanks very much to Nadia Krige from News24.com for writing this lekker article on Year in the Wild...
Today Thandi and I are going to walk along part of the coastline of Agulhas National Park...to an ancient shell midden, where strandlopers used to congregate to eat the shellfish they had collected in the intertidal zone. There is a fresh water spring which flows from the sand dunes onto the beach...will upload some photos tonight!
One thing I love is getting to a new holiday cottage and exploring it and its surrounds. Today was no different when we arrived at 'Fynbos' cottage in Agulhas National Park, with the waves roaring around us and the wind rushing through the bushes,sending the clouds up above scurrying along.
Fynbos cottage is so quaint! It is a thatch rooved wooden cottage with a balcony looking out over the indian ocean and all the amenities you would ever need. After they were burned down by a raging fire in 2009 (thought to be started by abelone poachers), the cottages have only recently been rebuilt, and they really are gorgeous.
In the late evening the wind had dropped to a whisper and we walked down to the white sand beach, to be greeted by a spectacular sunset going down overa pearly blue sea. Read more »
It’s great to be back on the road again! After some time in Cape Town restocking and reconnecting with friends and family, we’re off again – between now and Christmas, Thandi and I will visit the southern Cape and Karoo areas of South Africa - Agulhas National Park, De Hoop Nature Reserve, Bontebok National Park, Karoo National Park, Gamkaberg Nature Reserve, and then Garden Route National Park (which is now an amalgamation of Tsitsikamma, Knysna and Wilderness) and finally Kogelberg near Cape Town!.
This week we are in Agulhas National Park, which is at the southern-most tip of Africa! In fact, this is the newest national park in the country, proclaimed in the late 1990s, and the first piece of land to be conserved was the two hectares around the famous lighthouse (which is the Read more »