Quick Facts: Cape Agulhas
- Cape Agulhas is the most southern tip of Africa
- Cape Agulhas is the official dividing point between the Atlantic and Indian oceans
- The word Cape Agulhas is derived from the Portuguese word "Cabo das Agulhas" which means "Cape of Needles"
- Cape Agulhas is situated 170 kilometres southeast of Cape Town in South Africa
- De Hoop Whale Trail:
- Agulhas National Park
Distance to Airport: 209 km
Distance to City: 37 km
Introducing Cape Agulhas
The Cape Agulhas is situated within the Cape Agulhas Local Municipality in the Overberg District of the Western Cape province of South Africa. Cape Agulhas is the most southern tip of Africa, and the official dividing point between the Atlantic and Indian oceans. The actual division between the oceans is the point where the Agulhas current meets the Benguela current, which fluctuates seasonally, between Cape Agulhas and Cape Point. The word Cape Agulhas is derived from the Portuguese word "Cabo das Agulhas" which means "Cape of Needles".
Historically, Cape Agulhas has been known to sailors as a major hazard on the traditional sea route. It was most commonly known in English as Cape L'Agullas until the 20th century. The town of L'Agulhas is located near to the cape. Cape Agulhas is the southernmost point on th African continent. It is located in the Overberg region, 170 kilometres southeast of Cape Town in South Africa. The Cape Agulhas was named by Portuguese navigators, who called it 'Cabo das Agulhas' after noticing that around the year 1500 the direction of magnetic north coincided with true north in the region.
The Cape Agulhas is defined by the International Hydrographic Organization to be the official dividing point between the Indian and Atlantic oceans. 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 that drift into the South Atlantic Ocean and take enormous amounts of heat and salt into the neighboring ocean. This mechanism constitutes one of the key elements in the global conveyor belt circulation of heat and salt.
Unlike its better-known relative, the Cape of Good Hope, Cape Agulhas is relatively unspectacular, consisting of a gradually curving coastline with a rocky beach. A survey marker indicates the location of the cape, which would otherwise be difficult to identify. The waters near the coast are quite shallow and are renowned as one of the best fishing grounds in South Africa. The rocks that form Cape Agulhas belong to the Table Mountain Group. 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.