Agulhas National Park – South Africa – Part 3

Agulhas National Park – South Africa – Part 3

This article starts – on this link.

I said at the beginning of this feature that I had NO idea how much SANParks is investing back into

A must-do is this lady’s talk about the tip of Africa

South Africa and its people. It’s not only what they do but also the associations they form within areas to preserve environments and create opportunities.

The next part of our day was spent visiting Nuwejaars Wetland SMA, which is a Special Management Area. SANParks are engaging with 25 local farmers who own 45 600 ha of

Lunch at the Black Oyster catcher restaurant

land near Agulhas. The goal is to manage the environment with a social and sustainable approach to ensure the land is cared for. They help fund alien vegetation removal and reintroduce indigenous plants. Alien vegetation is a huge threat to local fynbos and unless tackled will wipe out plants that only exist in this region.

There is also a program whereby farmers allocate land to breed the almost extinct

Black Oyster Catcher wine

kwagga as well as buffalo and hippo. Read more about this initiative on the website –

Lunch was hosted at the Black Oyster Catcher restaurant. We were treated to a sumptuous lunch with bottles of Black Oyster Catcher wines which are produced from locally grown grapes in Elim. Read more about them on their

SAN Parks Junior Rangers arrive on a bus

website – Our lunch was a leisurely affair and we took a rain-check on a planned boat trip to Struis Baai (Ostrich Bay). The weather also conspired against us as it had been blustery since the morning. We all took advantage of the gap in the programeand once back at Agulhas National Park either went for a walk or had a rest.

Other activities to consider in the area are: –

  • hiking
  • whale watching
  • birdwatching
  • wine tasting
  • museums – Shipwreck Museum in Bredasdorp,Heritage Centre in Elim and Lighthouse Museum in L’Agulhas

By supper time we had eaten plenty good food during the day. Most of us had smaller portions. We ended up talking

Buffalo breeding initiative

about our country and it’s history. Yet more interesting conversation and an early night.

Our last morning we were collected by our trusty bus driver and taken to the very tip of Africa. We all took snaps of ourselves at the actual spot which marks the tip, and then made

Southern-most tip of Africa

our way to a restaurant in Agulhas where we had a full breakfast. Bellies full and much wiser we made our way back home.

My husband and I travel a fair amount in Europe but we are always bragging about our beautiful home country. I could never refuse an opportunity to enjoy our local spaces, particularly the chance to spend time in a wild natural environment. This weekend made a big impression on me.

Apart from being able to enjoy an area of such beauty, I left feeling inspired by the genuine desire of the people at SANParks to make a

Greenie and husband at the land mark spot

difference. And the love of fellow travelers and journos for South Africa. We shared special places to visit and travel ideas and tips.

To read about other places we have visited, open the Holidays and Trips gallery at the top of this page.

More travel stories soon,

Agulhas National Park – South Africa – Part 2

Agulhas National Park – South Africa – Part 2

Go back to the start of this blog – on this link.

Sunset from Lagoon House

We had a light lunch after the opening ceremony, then headed back to our chalets for some down-time. My husband and I were allocated a single chalet which was brand spanking new. I had to give the soap dispenser a good few pumps to get it going. The ethos of sustainability is again reflected in the chalets. They are beautifully decorated in natural materials and neutral colours. I absolutely love

Lagoon House

the smell of a thatch roof and wooden decking. Our bed was enormous with  pristine white linen. The chalets are self-catering which is particularly great for us as we are aspirant vegans. However, SANParks provided all our meals for this weekend.

SANParks charge a room rate which is typically around R900 to R1000 for two people sharing. The rates vary depending on which park you are staying. They charge a nominal rate for extra people or children. If you work out the cost per head, it’s affordable. Google –

Inside Lagoon House – and browse their site to see all the parks, check tariffs and availability. You might want to consider a Wild Card, which allows unlimited access to over 80 parks around South Africa, special offers and discounts as well as their newspaper and on-line newsletters.

You might also want to consider subscribing to the SANParks Times,

Jean Daneel WinesParks 

 a newspaper packed full of beautiful photos and news relating to conservation and  environmental issues. Contact for more info.

Around early evening we walked to the

Jean Daneel Wine

Lagoon House for a wine tasting. Lagoon House is a historical Cape Dutch farm house that has been kept intact but refurbished. It’s now an 8 sleeper unit a stone’s throw from the sea. Because these chalets are in a national park you’re not surrounded by concrete and noise. You have nothing more than yourself, plus a few fellow visitors, and the environment as God intended. Peace. Bliss.

A vintner from nearby Napier was given an opportunity to present his wines with cheese and biscuits. We were able to ask questions and sample 5 wines including a 5-star

Turquoise lagoon

wooded Chenin Blanc. Apparently it takes around 1kg grapes for him to make a 750ml bottle of wine. Grapes vary in size, wine grapes are usually smaller than eating grapes. The alcohol content of a wine is largely affected by the region it grows – hotter weather increases the alcohol percentage. Find his wines at

Breakfast fruit pancakes

I was impressed that SANParks are forging relationships with locals. Not only was the vintner given a chance to showcase his handiwork, but another local lady made our meals for the weekend. We ate well. Very well. After a lovely supper and chatting to other media folk and SANParks staff, my other half and I left to walk along a white gravel road – under a full moon – back to our chalet. With no development for miles around the Agulhas National Park, the moon was brighter than I have ever seen her before. We slept like babies in the big bed with the sound of the waves rolling softly in the background.

The following morning we walked back to

Fruit piled onto home made pancakes

Lagoon House for breakfast taking in a few snaps of the turquoise blue lagoon en-route. Brekka was another sumptuous affair. Fruit  piled high on delicious pancakes. My husband and I got a special veggie breakfast with yummy mushrooms. I’m not sure if it was the common interests of the group or if we just had a great group of people. The conversation was always interesting and everyone had something to say – that was worth hearing.

After breakfast we all piled into the bus and drove to the landmark L’Agulhas lighthouse. I regret to say I didn’t climb the 71 steps to the

L’Agulhas lighthouse

top and gaze out at the dividing line – 20’E meridian –  where the Atlantic and Indian Oceans meet. I’m scared of heights but my husband ventured up. A delightful local lady gave a talk on when the lighthouse was completed – 1848 – and more about shipwrecks, past occupants, and to quote our lady guide when she ran out of words – blah, blah, blah. I loved how she captured the gist of L’Agulhas as the very tip of Africa. Behind is the rest of Africa, ahead is Antarctica.

We saw a bus which had brought Junior Rangers to the area. This is yet another SAN Parks initiative whereby teenagers visit various national parks. They are taught about local flora and fauna as well orienteering skills. A bit like girl guides or boy scouts. They have regular meetings and graduation programmes.

Part 3 – is on this link.

More on other travels on – Holidays and Trips – which you find at the top of this page.

Agulhas National Park – South Africa

Agulhas National Park – South Africa

My decision to start a travel blog in 2010 has landed us a few perks. The most recent, was an invite

Our bus

by SANParks to stay at the brand new chalets at Agulhas National Park which is the southern-most tip of Africa. The meeting point of the Indian and Atlantic Oceans.

I am unashamedly boastful of our beautiful country and have stayed in various Parks Board accommodations going back to my childhood. South Africa has such diverse countryside. Kwa-Zulu Natal has lush tropical terrain, the Karoo is beautifully bleak and

New chalets Agulhas National Park

silent, the Cape has a Mediterranean climate with hot dry summers and white soft sandy beaches and The Drakensberg (Dragons Mountains) has snow-capped mountain peaks. SANParks have affordable places to stay all over South Africa. I could go on and on but this post is about our weekend break at Agulhas.

My laptop accompanies us whenever we travel and I try to write as quickly as possible at the end of a day so I can capture pertinent aspects of a place and key things like prices or distances while they are still fresh in my mind. I’m used to writing about a place as a visitor. This trip was very different as not only was I

Agulhas now has 51 eco chalets

privy to background info but I also got to meet an incredible group of people who work hard to create an awareness of what SANParks are trying to achieve. I was more than impressed.

Although I was given an itinerary, I still wasn’t entirely sure what to expect. We were offered a lift to the park – about 2.5 hours from Cape Town which we happily accepted. My other half and I took the MyCiti bus from our home in Green Point to the Kloof Nek bus stop

Mayor, park manager and SAN Parks GM cutting the ribbon

near Table Mountain and walked a short distance to the SANParks Visitor Centre. We joined SANParks staff as well as other media folk and traveled to the Agulhas National Park.

Our group arrived for the launch of the new chalets. We listened to speeches from Reynold Thakhuli the SANParks Media, Events and Stakeholders Relations person, Bulelwa Msengi the park manager as well as the local mayor and Antoinette Van Wyk the GM of Infrastructure and Special Projects. After the talks we watched the mayor and park manager perform a ribbon cutting ceremony. It was interesting to learn that the park has grown from a meagre 4 ha to over 20 000 ha of now


unspoilt land. The project to develop this area is ongoing and SANParks have their own projects as well as co-operative ones such as the Flower Valley Conservation Trust.

Agulhas National Park is home to around 2000 plant species as well as now recovering Southern Right Whales, rare birds such as the Black Oyster Catcher, insects and a rich variety of indigenous marine and terrestrial life. SAN Parks focus is to improve tourism, create job opportunities and ensure there are protected areas of natural beauty for indigenous plants and wildlife. They buy land, return it to its


natural state and reintroduce local plants and wildlife. They skill up local residents when building camp sites and create long term employment via tourism. Agulhas received an allocation of R90 million of which they have already spent R45 million. It’s wonderful to hear of a government department that works well in South Africa.

And the good news continued. We heard of plans to create more accommodation in the perpetually full Kruger National Park. A person has to book way in advance to get in – but it’s worth the wait. Kruger is a magnificent place. I was able to chat about how they are tackling the rhino poaching problem. We only ever hear the huge numbers of rhino that have

Living area

been lost and the situation feels hopeless. But the war is on and SANParks are committed to getting on top of the the poaching no matter what it takes. SANParks now have recently trained sniffer dogs to accompany soldiers who spend up to 3 days at a time staking out the bush.

Read part 2 – by clicking here.

Read about our travels in various parts of the world by scrolling to the top of this page and finding – Holidays and Trips.

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