Quick Facts: Arniston
- Arniston is situated in close proximity to Africa's most southern point Cape Agulhas
- Arniston is surrounded by two Nature Reserves: the De Hoop Nature Reserve and De Mond Nature Reserve
- Activities: fishing, bird watching, whale watching, walking and hiking, snorkelling, diving, mountain biking and exploring the multitude of coastal caves
- Hotel: Arniston Hotel & Spa
- Cape Agulhas Wine Route
- The Whale Trail
Distance to Airport: 196 km
The tranquil small fishing village of Arniston is situated on the shores of Marcus Bay north-east of the famous Cape Agulhas, Africa’s most southern point. The name ‘Arniston’ comes from one of the numerous ship wrecks on the regions’s jagged coastline. The Arniston sank in 1815 after the ship, already laden with wounded soldiers on the way from Ceylon to England via Cape Town, decided to cut away its three anchors and run ashore due to heavy winds having destroyed its sails. It broke up on the sharp rocks of the Arniston Reef and only 6 of the 378 passengers survived.
But the village of Arniston has dispelled its origin of doom, and delights visitors today with its craggy cliffs and the quaint, whitewashed, thatched fishermen’s cottages of Kassiebaai, which are more than two centuries old and a national monument in its entirety. The cliffs, the rolling sand dunes, golden beaches and intense blue of the sea make Arniston one of the best-kept secrets along the Overberg coast. The coastline is an invitation to long walks and has many examples of spectacular sea erosion with numerous displays of caverns and arches.
The South African town of Arniston is surrounded by two nature reserves: the De Hoop and De Mond Nature Reserves. De Hoop Nature Reserve conserves a major wetland and is home to about 100 aquatic bird species and of international importance for migratory birds. This coastline of South Africa is a marine reserve, one of the biggest in Africa, and the rare African Black Oyster Catcher, the Southern Right Whale and at least 250 species of fish are protected. De Mond Nature Reserve lies at the mouth of the Heuningnes River, between Arniston and Struisbaai.
It is home to a number of small mammals, such as grysbok, steenbok and grey duiker as well as the rather illusive caracal. De Mond Nature Reserve is ideal for birdwatching and the reserve is particularly important for the protection of the threatened Damara, which is South Africa’s most endangered coastal bird.
Visitors to Arniston have the chance to experience fresh sea air, the thrill of fishing, exhilarating walks in pristine countryside, snorkelling in clear rock pools, diving amongst the many ocean wrecks, mountain biking and exploring the multitude of coastal caves, then you will be in the right place.