9+ best things to do at Cape Agulhas on an epic weekend getaway

by | May 7, 2023 | Africa, South Africa, Travel Guides | 2 comments

The best things to do at Cape Agulhas
The best things to do at Cape Agulhas

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Beautiful roadside views, a unique place to stay, and some great food and wine are key ingredients to a successful weekend getaway if you ask me.

With an abundance of unique accommodations and some of the most stunning scenic drives, South Africa is top of the class when it comes to weekend getaways. Add some amazing wildlife encounters and world-class wineries to the mix and you’ve got everything you need for an epic trip.

One of the places you’ll have to add to your weekend getaway bucket list is Cape Agulhas!

It’s a scenic 2-3 hour drive away from Cape Town and boasts an incredible variety of activities, from gorgeous beaches and picturesque coastal towns to boutique wineries and must-visit nature reserves.

In this post, I’ll tell you everything you need to know about a perfect weekend getaway at the southernmost tip of Africa, including the best things to do at Cape Agulhas, where to stay and eat, which roads to take for the best views and where to stop along the way.

The Whale Route in South Africa
The Whale Route in South Africa

The best things to do at Cape Agulhas

Enjoy a scenic drive along the Whale Route

Ok, this is not technically one of the best things to do at Cape Agulhas, but hear me out! I think scenic road trips are a staple of any successful weekend getaway. Am I right?

The whale route is a stunning coastal road, starting outside of Cape Town. It follows the R44 through places like Betty’s Bay, the Kogel Bay Nature Reserve, and South Africa’s whale-watching capital Hermanus. During the whale season, the whale route offers some of the best land-based whale watching.

But whether it’s whale season or not, the amazing coastal views are 100% worth taking the scenic route for!
Best things to do at Cape Agulhas: Stony Bay Penguin Colony
Bettys Bay Penguin Colony

Visit the penguin colony in Betty’s Bay

You might have heard of the penguins at Boulders Beach on the Cape Peninsula before. But did you know that there is a penguin colony along the Whale Route too?

The Stony Point penguin colony is located in Betty’s Bay. It’s smaller, less known, and thanks to that, usually less crowded than the one at Boulder’s Beach. There’s a short wooden walkway from which you can observe the penguins up close. It’s incredibly cute to watch them go about their daily lives!

This is another point on this list that is not technically one of the things to do at Cape Agulhas. But I think travelling is not only about the destination but also about the journey there, and the penguin colony at Stony Point is a really cool place to stop and take a break from driving.

Entry fees & opening hours | To visit the penguin colony at Stony Point, you’ll have to pay a small fee of ZAR 25. The colony is open from 8 AM to 4.30 PM, with the last allowed entry being 4 PM.

Go Whale Watching in Hermanus

As I mentioned earlier, the Whale Route offers some amazing land-based whale-watching opportunities during the whale season. If you want to get an even closer look, stop in the whale-watching capital Hermanus, to join a whale-watching cruise.

Hermanus is among the best whale-watching destinations in the world!

The Whale Season runs from June to late November or early December. During these months southern right whales and humpback whales migrate to the Western Cape to mate and calve.

Southern Right Charters are one of the leading whale-watching operators in South Africa and have been offering tours for 20+ years. They offer amazing Whale Watching Cruises with a 95% success rate of whale and dolphin sightings (but keep in mind that these are wild animals and sightings can never be guaranteed).

While the focus on their tours is of course spotting whales, you might also get to see dolphins, seals, African penguins and much more. You can book your whale-watching cruise and many other tours through GetYourGuide.

Go for brunch at Earth Restaurant

What’s a weekend getaway without brunch? Don’t worry, I got you covered! If your accommodation doesn’t include breakfast, head to Earth Restaurant in Struisbaai.

Their breakfast menu includes delicious things like poached eggs, sourdough bread, homemade granola, and French toast. And if it’s too late for breakfast, you can choose from a list of mains, including different burgers and pies, and traditional South African dishes like Waterblommetjie Bredie and Bobotie.

Grabbing a meal at Earth Restaurant definitely deserves a spot on your list of things to do at Cape Agulhas!
Nuwejaars Wetlands, one of the best things to do at Cape Agulhas

Explore the Nuwejaars Wetlands

Nuwejaars is another one of the places you just can’t miss when visiting Cape Agulhas, especially during the summer months. The Nuwejaars Wetlands is a protected area in the Agulhas plains, committed to conservation and sustainable farming.

During the summer months, you can join a guided game drive in an open safari vehicle. On the tour, you might spot grazing antelopes like Springbok or Bontebok, roaming buffalos, and maybe even some hippos. There are two tours to pick from:

  • the sunrise tour starts at 8.30 AM and takes you on a 2-3 hour tour into the wetlands, where you’ll get to enjoy a cup of coffee and some rusks surrounded by nature
  • the 2-hour sunset tour takes you to a secret lake in the wetlands, where you’ll get to enjoy sundowners (hopefully) with a view of some hippos
Lighthouse at Cape Agulhas
Best things to do at Cape Agulhas

Visit Cape Agulhas, Africa’s southernmost point

Of course, you can’t spend a weekend at Cape Agulhas without actually visiting Cape Agulhas. There’s a sign marking the southernmost point of Africa and the line between the Atlantic and Indian Oceans. If you want, you can even stand with one foot in each ocean.

In addition to the sign, there’s also a giant 3D map of Africa. And when I say giant, I mean a circumference of 30 meters. If you’re bringing a drone with you, you’ll have to take it for a spin and get some amazing photos from above!

For the best view of Cape Agulhas, climb the 71 steps to the top of the Agulhas lighthouse, the third oldest in South Africa. The lighthouse is open 7 days a week and entry costs around ZAR 15.00.

How to get to Cape Agulhas | You can drive almost all the way to the southernmost tip of Africa. From the Cape Agulhas car parks, a short but beautiful boardwalk along the coast takes you to the monument and the map of Africa.

Whenever I travel abroad, I always use Airalo to get an eSim with local data. It’s the easiest way to stay connected!
Cape Agulhas Ocean View
Cottage in Arniston

Visit the fishing village of arniston

Arniston (also called Waenhuiskrans)  is a sleepy fishing village with whitewashed and thatched fisherman’s cottages. It’s sandwiched between the De Hoop and De Mond Nature Reserve, a short way up the coast from Cape Agulhas. Visiting Arniston is definitely one of the best things to do at Cape Agulhas.

Whatever your idea of a perfect weekend getaway is, you’ll probably be able to do it in Arniston.

Here’s just a little glimpse of what Arniston has on offer:

  • relax at Gingko Spa at the Arniston Spa Hotel, boasting two saunas, a Turkish steam room, and an extensive treatment menu including massages, facials and manicures
  • go for a beach walk, watch the colourful fishing boats, buy fresh fish directly from the fishermen, and explore the spectacular Waenhuiskrans cave (make sure to go at low tide!)
  • enjoy some fresh fish or seafood at Arniston Spa Hotel, or at one of the restaurants in Kassiesbaai on the outskirts of Arniston. Kassiesbaai is also where you’ll find most of the charming fisherman’s cottages. Some of the places to try are Wanda’s Waenhuis, Mien’s Tea Garden, and Willeen’s Meals, Arts and Crafts.

Taste some Cape Agulhas Wine

If your idea of a perfect weekend getaway includes sipping some delicious South African wine on a vineyard, head to Black Oystercatcher.  The family-run boutique winery is located in the Agulhas Wine Triangle, about 40 minutes from Cape Agulhas.

I love how simple wine tasting is in South Africa. Many wineries offer tasting menus and don’t require any pre-bookings. The tasting tray at Black Oystercatcher includes five different wines (white, rosé and red), and a virtual presentation that you can watch whilst sipping the wines on their beautiful terrace.

In addition, you can also pre-book different guided wine tastings (and antipasto platters!) on their website.

Struisbaai Beach
Fishing boat in Struisbaai

Hit the beach in Struisbaai

Struisbaai is another coastal town, located just 4 kilometres from Cape Agulhas. It is the perfect place to visit at Cape Agulhas if you’re looking to spend a few hours on the beach.

Struisbaai sits at one end of the picture-perfect white sandy beach stretching all the way along the bay from Arniston. Swimming at Struisbaai Beach is safe, but definitely refreshing (although the water temperatures are usually a bit higher than in Cape Town!)

Head to the harbour to spot some black stingrays, including Struisbaai’s most famous inhabitant, Parrie!

For some fun water-based activities, head to Cape Sea Safaris. You can rent kayaks or SUPs, or go on a sunrise or sunset cruise. And if you visit Struisbaai between August and November, you can even join a whale-watching cruise. Definitely one of the most incredible things to do at Cape Agulhas.

Black Oystercatcher Cottages
Glass of wine at Black Oystercatcher Winery

Where to stay at Cape Agulhas

Staying at Black Oystercatcher Cottages

As I said at the beginning of this post, a unique place to stay and some great food and wine are key ingredients for a successful weekend getaway for me. If you’re the same, I have the perfect place for you to stay whilst checking out some of the things to do at Cape Agulhas.

Black Oystercatcher is not only a boutique wine farm producing delicious wines, but they’re also a great place to stay while exploring Cape Agulhas. There are four semi-detached cottages on the property, each with a little kitchenette, patio and Braai (BBQ), sleeping 2 people.

Grab some meat and local snacks from the deli at the winery, and end your days sipping wine on your patio overlooking the rolling hills, fields, and cow herds grazing nearby.

In addition to Black Oystercatcher, you can also base yourself at L’Agulhas, Struisbaai or even Arniston to explore Cape Agulhas. You can find great places to stay on Booking.com:

  • Stay within walking distance to Africa’s southernmost point at the South Point Guest Lodge. The lodge consists of six fully-equipped self-catering units and is located close to various restaurants and cafes, shops and a wine bar.
  • Pamper yourself with a stay at Chateau de Marine Boutique Hotel & Wellness. The small boutique hotel has 10 rooms with ocean or courtyard views, a swimming pool, and a spa where you can treat yourself to a massage or facial treatment.
  • If you’re visiting Cape Agulhas with a group of friends or with your family, check out Bliss on the Bay in Struisbaai. The thatched cottage has 4 bedrooms, a pool and a garden, and is located just 200 meters from Langezandt Beach.
Sign on the road to Cape Agulhas

How to get to Cape Agulhas

Visiting Cape Agulhas from Cape town

The best way of visiting Cape Agulhas, and getting around in South Africa in general, is by renting a car. Coming from Cape Town, Cape Agulhas is only a 2.5-hour drive away if you take the most direct route.

If you’re planning on spending the weekend, I’d recommend making a scenic road trip out of it. The R44 and R43 take you along the Whale Route, past Betty’s Bay, Hermanus all the way to Bredasdorp, about 30 minutes from Cape Agulhas.

Visiting Cape Agulhas from the Garden Route

If you’re coming from the Garden Route, stop for a night (or a few) in Swellendam, before heading south. The N2 and R319 will take you all the way to Cape Agulhas in just over an hour. If you’ve got some more time, you can also take a detour to the De Hoop Nature Reserve along the way.

After spending your weekend in the area and checking out all the best things to do at Cape Agulhas, you can then continue your trip along the Whale Route to Hermanus. Then head into the Cape Winelands to Stellenbosch or Franschhoek, before heading (back) to Cape Town.

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The best things to do at Cape Agulhas
The best things to do at Cape Agulhas

2 Comments

  1. Jenn

    Great guide! Cape Agulhas is one of my favorite places on Earth. I can wait until the day I can make it back there again.

    Reply
    • sara far away

      Hi Jenn, it truly is a wonderful place. I really hope you’ll get to go there again someday soon! 🙂

      Reply

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Welcome to my world!

Hi, I’m Sara, a twenty-something Swiss on a mission to become a full-time travel writer and digital nomad.