Cape Agulhas

Cape Agulhas (/əˈɡʌləs/; Portuguese: Cabo das Agulhas [ˈkaβu ðɐz ɐˈɣuʎɐʃ], "Cape of the Needles") is a rocky headland in Western Cape, South Africa.

It is the geographic southern tip of the African continent and the beginning of the dividing line between the Atlantic and Indian Oceans according to the International Hydrographic Organization.[1]

Historically, the cape has been known to sailors as a major hazard on the traditional clipper route. It is sometimes regarded as one of the great capes. It was most commonly known in English as Cape L'Agulhas until the 20th century. The town of L'Agulhas is located near to the cape.

Agulhas
A marker at Cape Agulhas indicates the official dividing line between the Atlantic and Indian oceans.

Geography

CapeHopeDetail
Map showing the location of Cape Agulhas relative to the Cape of Good Hope.

Cape Agulhas is located in the Overberg region, 170 kilometres (105 mi) southeast of Cape Town. The cape was named by Portuguese navigators, who called it Cabo das AgulhasPortuguese for "Cape of Needles"—after noticing that around the year 1500 the direction of magnetic north (and therefore the compass needle) coincided with true north in the region.[2] The cape is within the Cape Agulhas Local Municipality in the Overberg District of the Western Cape province of South Africa.[3] The nearby small airport of Andrew's Field services Agulhas.

South of Cape Agulhas the warm Agulhas Current that flows south along the east coast of Africa retroflects back into the Indian Ocean. While retroflecting, it pinches off large ocean eddies (Agulhas rings) that drift into the South Atlantic Ocean and take enormous amounts of heat and salt into the neighbouring ocean. This mechanism constitutes one of the key elements in the global conveyor belt circulation of heat and salt.

Cape Agulhas has a spectacular coastline, consisting of a gradually curving coastline with rocky and sand beaches. A survey marker and a new ikon depicting the African continent are located at the most Southern tip of Africa. The waters of the Agulhas Bank off the coast are quite shallow and are renowned as one of the best fishing grounds in South Africa.[4][5]

The rocks that form Cape Agulhas belong to the Table Mountain Group, often loosely termed the Table Mountain sandstone. They are closely linked to the geological formations that are exposed in the spectacular cliffs of Table Mountain, Cape Point and the Cape of Good Hope.

Panorama from the lighthouse around the cape
Panorama from the lighthouse around the cape

Climate

Cape Agulhas has a warm Mediterranean climate (Köppen climate classification:Csb). The climate is consistently mild, with no temperature or rainfall extremes. According to South African National Parks, who administer the nature reserve, the average rainfall is 400–600 mm per annum, mostly received in winter.[6] Temperature climate data is available for Cape Agulhas, averages are:

Climate data for Cape Agulhas
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 28.9
(84.0)
36.1
(97.0)
35.0
(95.0)
35.6
(96.1)
33.9
(93.0)
30.0
(86.0)
29.4
(84.9)
31.7
(89.1)
32.2
(90.0)
26.1
(79.0)
30.6
(87.1)
30.6
(87.1)
36.1
(97.0)
Average high °C (°F) 23.3
(73.9)
23.3
(73.9)
22.2
(72.0)
20.6
(69.1)
18.9
(66.0)
17.2
(63.0)
16.1
(61.0)
17.2
(63.0)
17.2
(63.0)
18.9
(66.0)
20.6
(69.1)
22.2
(72.0)
19.8
(67.6)
Daily mean °C (°F) 20.3
(68.5)
20.3
(68.5)
19.2
(66.6)
17.5
(63.5)
15.8
(60.4)
14.2
(57.6)
13.1
(55.6)
13.9
(57.0)
14.2
(57.6)
15.8
(60.4)
17.8
(64.0)
19.2
(66.6)
16.8
(62.2)
Average low °C (°F) 17.2
(63.0)
17.2
(63.0)
16.1
(61.0)
14.4
(57.9)
12.8
(55.0)
11.1
(52.0)
10.0
(50.0)
10.6
(51.1)
11.1
(52.0)
12.8
(55.0)
15.0
(59.0)
16.1
(61.0)
13.7
(56.7)
Record low °C (°F) 8.3
(46.9)
8.9
(48.0)
9.4
(48.9)
5.0
(41.0)
4.4
(39.9)
5.6
(42.1)
3.9
(39.0)
4.4
(39.9)
4.4
(39.9)
5.0
(41.0)
5.0
(41.0)
5.0
(41.0)
3.9
(39.0)
Average rainfall mm (inches) 20.3
(0.80)
17.8
(0.70)
33.0
(1.30)
38.1
(1.50)
50.8
(2.00)
58.4
(2.30)
53.3
(2.10)
48.3
(1.90)
40.6
(1.60)
38.1
(1.50)
27.9
(1.10)
17.8
(0.70)
444.4
(17.50)
Average rainy days 1 1 3 3 4 4 4 3 3 2 2 1 36
Average relative humidity (%) 77 79 83 84 81 80 80 82 81 79 79 77 80
Source #1: Sistema de Clasificación Bioclimática Mundial[7]
Source #2: Weatherbase[8]

Shipping hazards

AgulhasLighthouse
The lighthouse at Cape Agulhas has guided many ships around the cape over the years.

The sea off Cape Agulhas is notorious for winter storms and mammoth rogue waves, which can range up to 30 metres (100 ft) high and can sink even large ships.[9] Over the past few hundred years it has been believed that around 150 ships have sunk around Agulhas.[10] These conditions are caused by a number of factors. The naturally strong winds of the roaring forties, which blow from west to east, and the cold Antarctic Circumpolar Current flowing in the same direction, come up against the warmer Agulhas Current in the region of the cape. These conflicting currents of water of different densities, and the west winds blowing against the Agulhas Current, can create extremely hazardous wave conditions; these are further exacerbated by the shallow waters of the Agulhas Bank, a broad, shallow part of the continental shelf which juts 250 kilometres (155 mi) south from the cape, after which it falls steeply away to the abyssal plain.

These hazards have combined to make the cape notorious among sailors. The coast here is littered with wrecks: Arniston (1815), Cooranga (1964), Elise (1879), Federal Lakes (1975), Geortyrder (1849), Gouritz (1981), and Gwendola (1968) are just a few of the vessels lost in the proximity of the "Cape of Needles".[11] Owing to the hazards and following the loss of several vessels, notably the Arniston, a lighthouse was built in 1848.[12] The lighthouse now plays host to a museum and a small rustic restaurant.

See also

References

  1. ^ Limits of Oceans and Seas. International Hydrographic Organization Special Publication No. 23, 1953.
  2. ^ Patricia Seed: Discovery of the Coincidence of Magnetic and True North
  3. ^ Cape Agulhas Municipality official home page
  4. ^ Murray Williams (12 April 2014). "Fury over great white shark haul".
  5. ^ Cacutt, Lenn (2000). The Big-Game Fishing Handbook. pp. 145–157.
  6. ^ "Agulhas National Park".
  7. ^ "South Africa – Cape Agulhas". Centro de Investigaciones Fitosociológicas. Retrieved 2 December 2013.
  8. ^ "Climate Statistics for Cape Agulhas, South Africa". Retrieved 22 February 2012.
  9. ^ "Rogue Waves – Monsters of the deep: Huge, freak waves may not be as rare as once thought". Economist Magazine. September 17, 2009. Retrieved 2009-10-04.
  10. ^ "Visiting the southernmost point in Africa". Villa Tuscana Travel Blog. Archived from the original on 9 March 2016. Retrieved 8 March 2016.
  11. ^ Marine Casualty Database Southern African Coast (copy at the Internet Archive), from NCS Cape Town
  12. ^ "History: Proposals for a Lighthouse at L'Agulhas". L'Agulhas web site. 29 July 2005. Archived from the original on 19 October 2007. Retrieved 15 November 2007.

External links

Coordinates: 34°49′59.6″S 20°00′0″E / 34.833222°S 20.00000°E

Agulhas National Park

The Agulhas National Park is a South African national park located in the Agulhas Plain in the southern Overberg region of the Western Cape, about 200 kilometres (120 mi) south-east of Cape Town. The park stretches along the coastal plain between the towns of Gansbaai and Struisbaai, and includes the southern tip of Africa at Cape Agulhas. As of January 2009 it covered an area of 20,959 hectares (51,790 acres).

Arniston, Western Cape

Arniston is a small seaside settlement on the coast of the Overberg region of South Africa, close to Cape Agulhas, the southernmost tip of Africa. Prior to the wreck of Arniston, it is also known as Waenhuiskrans, an Afrikaans name meaning literally "Wagon house cliff", after a local sea cave large enough to accommodate a wagon and a span of oxen.

Bredasdorp

Bredasdorp is a town in the Southern Overberg region of the Western Cape, South Africa, and the main economic and service hub of that region. It lies on the northern edge of the Agulhas Plain, about 160 kilometres (100 mi) south-east of Cape Town and 35 kilometres (22 mi) north of Cape Agulhas, the southernmost tip of Africa.

Tourist attractions of Bredasdorp include the Heuningberg Nature Reserve, a large number of historical churches and various art galleries and craft shops.

Bredasdorp is also home to the Shipwreck Museum which tells the stories of the 150 wrecks along the nearby Agulhas Reef. It is the only museum of its kind in the southern hemisphere.

Cape Agulhas Lighthouse

The Cape Agulhas Lighthouse is situated at Cape Agulhas, the southernmost tip of Africa. It was the third lighthouse to be built in South Africa, and the second-oldest still operating, after Green Point. It is located on the southern edge of the village of L'Agulhas, in the Agulhas National Park; the light is operated by Transnet National Ports Authority.

Cape Agulhas Local Municipality

Cape Agulhas Municipality (Afrikaans: Kaap Agulhas Plaaslike Munisipaliteit) is a municipality located in the Western Cape Province of South Africa. As of 2011 it had a population of 33,038. Its municipality code is WC033. It is named after Cape Agulhas, the southernmost point of Africa. The largest town is Bredasdorp, which is the seat of the municipal headquarters. It also includes the villages of Napier, Struisbaai, Elim, Arniston and L'Agulhas, and the De Hoop Nature Reserve.

Devon Martinus

Devon Roy Martinus (born 28 January 1993 in Bredasdorp, South Africa) is a South African rugby union player for Griquas in the Currie Cup and in the Rugby Challenge. His regular position is prop.

Elim, Western Cape

Elim is a village on the Agulhas Plain in the Western Cape of South Africa. It was established in 1824 by German missionaries as a Moravian mission station. When selecting the location, the missionaries placed a high priority on the proximity of water and on terrain that was suitable for planting vines so that wine for communion could be produced. As well as preaching the Gospel, the missionaries taught the villagers a variety of trades and skills. Elim's thatchers continue to be renowned for their craftsmanship.

The village is picturesque and has changed little over the years. It is filled with whitewashed cottages, fruit trees and fynbos. All the roads in the village lead to the thatch roofed church. The community, still mainly Moravian, consists of farmers, farm workers and artisans.

Elim is becoming known for the export of fynbos, and as an emerging area in the production of wine.

Hotagterklip

Hotagterklip is a small hamlet on the South African coast, close to the village of Struisbaai in the Western Cape.

‘Hotagterklip’ is the Afrikaans for 'left rear stone'. The unusual name of this little place comes from the days of the first ox wagon trek, when a stone outcrop imposed a sharp detour on travelers.

The fishermen's cottages in Hotagterklip have been declared provincial heritage sites. They are featured in the paintings of a number of South African artists. Many of the old cottages fell into ruin, until original cottages were restored in the 1990s.[1]

Jonathan Adendorf

Jonathan Wallis 'Kraai' Adendorf (born 23 August 1985) is a South African rugby union footballer. His regular playing position is flanker. He most recently represented the Griquas in the Currie Cup and Rugby Challenge. Adendorf previously played for the Pumas. He has also played for Maties in the Varsity Cup.

Kobus van Dyk

Jacobus Johannes van Dyk (born 6 July 1994) is a South African rugby union player for the Stormers in Super Rugby and Western Province in the Currie Cup. He can play as a number 8, lock or flanker.

L'Agulhas

L'Agulhas is the most southern coastal village and holiday resort in Africa, located within the Cape Agulhas Municipal (CAM) area at the southernmost tip of the African mainland. It is situated next to the town of Struisbaai and about 30 kilometres (20 mi) south of the regional centre of Bredasdorp. The name "Agulhas", Portuguese for "needles", is said to have been given to the cape because the compass-needle was seen to point due north, that is, with no magnetic deviation. The Agulhas Bank is reputed to be the richest fishing area in the Southern Hemisphere. Some of the older residents and documents refer to the town as by its former name Cape Agulhas or Cape L'Agulhas or simply Agulhas which were the names that referred to this town before it was changed to L'Agulhas to avoid confusion when the Bredasdorp Municipality changed its name to The Cape Agulhas Municipality (CAM).

Tourist interests and activities include: A visit to the Lighthouse with a view from the tower and a walkway along the seafront to the new most southern African monument and a place where two oceans meet at the foot of Africa. A little further along the walkway is the shipwreck of Meisho Maru. Tourists also enjoy the local fyhbos plants, bird watching, hiking, swimming in the local tidal pools or a game of Jukskei on Saturday mornings. Other interests are visiting arts and craft shops, local wine sales, shops and restaurants or enjoy a meal at one of the best local fish restaurants in the area. L’Agulhas is a peaceful town and a ‘get away’ from busy city living.

List of marine gastropods of South Africa

This list of marine gastropods of South Africa attempts to list all of the sea snails and sea slugs of South Africa, in other words the marine gastropod molluscs of that area. This list is a sub-list of the List of marine molluscs of South Africa.

The gastropods (), more commonly known as snails and slugs, belong to a large taxonomic class of invertebrates within the phylum Mollusca, called Gastropoda. This class comprises snails and slugs from saltwater, from freshwater, and from the land. There are many thousands of species of sea snails and slugs, as well as freshwater snails, freshwater limpets, and land snails and slugs.

The class Gastropoda contains a vast total of named species, second only to the insects in overall number. The fossil history of this class goes back to the Late Cambrian. , 721 families of gastropods are known, of which 245 are extinct and appear only in the fossil record, while 476 are currently extant with or without a fossil record.

Gastropoda (previously known as univalves and sometimes spelled "Gasteropoda") are a major part of the phylum Mollusca, and are the most highly diversified class in the phylum, with 65,000 to 80,000 living snail and slug species. The anatomy, behavior, feeding, and reproductive adaptations of gastropods vary significantly from one clade or group to another. Therefore, it is difficult to state many generalities for all gastropods.

Napier, Western Cape

Napier is a village at the foot of the Soetmuisberg, between Caledon and Bredasdorp. A blend of century-old cottages and modern houses, surrounded by the rolling farmland which typifies the Overberg region of South Africa, give the village a rural atmosphere.

Napier is situated in the Cape Agulhas Region with easy access to the seaside villages of Arniston/Waenhuiskrans, Struisbaai and L´Agulhas.

Overberg District Municipality

The Overberg District Municipality is a district municipality that governs the Overberg region in the Western Cape province of South Africa. It is divided into four local municipalities and includes the major towns of Grabouw, Caledon, Hermanus, Bredasdorp and Swellendam. The municipal area covers 12,241 square kilometres (4,726 sq mi) and had in 2007 an estimated population of 212,787 people in 60,056 households.

Protem, Western Cape

Protem is a hamlet some 30 km north of Bredasdorp and 40 km south-west of Swellendam. The name is an abbreviation of Latin pro tempore, 'for the time being'. The centre was to have served as a temporary railway terminal on the line from Caledon to Swellendam, but the rest of the line was never constructed.

Skipskop

Skipskop is a town in Overberg District Municipality in the Western Cape province of South Africa.

Village west of Arniston (Waenhuiskrans). Afrikaans for ‘ships’ cliff’, it was so named after the number of ships wrecked there.

Struisbaai

Struisbaai is a coastal settlement in the Overberg region of South Africa's Western Cape province. The town is in the Cape Agulhas Local Municipality in the Overberg District, about two hundred kilometres south east of Cape Town, and four kilometres from Cape Agulhas, which is the southernmost point of the African continent.

The town is an old fishing village which for many years sported a beautiful natural harbour. Some development has taken place since then but Struisbaai is still relatively untouched by the rigours of over-development. Many fishermen still reside in this settlement but it is now known better for its leisure activities, which include fishing, horseriding, hiking, paintball, quadbiking and diving.

Suiderstrand

Suiderstrand (Afrikaans for "southern beach") is a settlement in Overberg District Municipality in the Western Cape province of South Africa.

Suiderstrand is completely surrounded by the Agulhas National Park, home to vast diversity of mammals, reptiles, birds, insects and world-famous endemic fynbos.

Pristine beaches, interesting rockpools, a marine lagoon, pebbly bays, a historic beach home and archaeological fish traps, are all visual treats that await the coastline hiker of casual walker. Over the past few years avifauna has flourished in this area. Numbers of rare coastal birds, such as the African black oystercatcher, have after many years of near extinction now increased in numbers. It has since been removed as critically threatened from the Red Data List.

Walker Bay

Walker Bay is a large bay located in the south-western Western Cape province of South Africa. It is the next major bay between False Bay near Cape Town and Cape Agulhas to the south-east. The bay is famous for having some of the best land based whale-watching in the world, which a town on its shores, Hermanus, has become famous for. Southern right whales visit the bay in the winter and spring months.

Gansbaai on the shores of the bay has also become very famous for Great white shark diving.

The shores adjacent to the bay are protected as part of the Walker Bay Nature Reserve, and the bay itself is a marine protected area in which most boating and fishing activity is prohibited.

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