Day Trip Hermanus to Southern Tip of Africa

Posted: 2 March 2012 by Jenny Meyer Category: Attractions, Days trips from Hermanus, Nature Reserve, Things to do Tags:

Day Trip to Southern Tip of Africa

 

Enjoy an exciting day trip Hermanus to Southern Tip of Africa, where the Atlantic and Indian Oceans meet.

About 127 kilometers from Hermanus is the most Southerly point of Africa, at Cape Agulhas.

This area has been declared a National Park to protect its flora and fauna. You will pass through quaint villages on your way, each with its own attractions.

To get there you will travel from Hermanus towards the village of Stanford where you will meet the R326. Travel in an Easterly direction until you get to the cross roads where you will take the R316 on your way to Napier.

Situated about 74 km from Hermanus, Napier is a village known for its rolling barley and yellow canola fields and olden day charm.  Napier was established in 1838 because of an argument between neighbours Michiel van Breda and Pieter Voltelyn van der Byl.  The argument was about where the area’s Dutch Reformed church should be placed. The two neighbours never settled and two separate churches were built around which the two different towns of Napier and Bredasdorp were developed.   Napier’s four main attractions are its historical buildings, its annual “Patat Fees”, the “Voet Van Afrika” (Foot of Africa) Marathon and the local beer. Napier’s church is one of the oldest buildings in the town and has unusual architecture attracts many tourists.  Napier also has the Kakebeenwa monument which was built to commemorate the “Ossewa Trek” (Oxwagon Trek) – as well as a watermill and a sundial.   The annual Patat Fees – ‘sweet potato festival’ – is held every June and is great fun for everybody. The Voet Van Afrika Marathon  is fondly known as “the toughest race with the warmest heart” and is held every October. Napier Bier (beer) was the inspiration of three friends who wished to add an extra “kick” to the village. Still brewed naturally on the edge of the village today, Napier Bier has become a firm favourite of anybody who gives it a taste.  

After sipping at this Bier or a good cuppa coffee at one of the little cafes, continue to Bradasdorp (about 90 kms from Hermanus – roughly an hour’s drive). Named after the first mayor of Cape Town, Michiel van Breda, Bredasdorp claims to be the first town established in South Africa. Bredasdorp lies on the slopes of the hill known as the “Preekstoel”, or Pulpit in English, and it couldn’t be more appropriate as this quiet little village is full of magnificent old churches as well as hosting South Africa’s only Shipwreck Museum. The first Dutch Reformed Church of the area was built in 1860 and is still standing today as a brilliant example of neo-Gothic architecture. It was the placement of this church that led to Van Breda’s neighbour Van der Byl establishing another church, which later resulted in the town of Napier. The memorial that the Bredasdorp Dutch Reformed Church created in 1838 to commemorate the establishment of the little town still stands today with the founding members of the church inscribed. Another church in Van Riebeeck Street was razed in 1910 so it could be replaced with an impressive gothic building that still stands today. Finally, the Reformed Church found at the corner of Plantation and Kloof Streets has a mixture of workmanship from the early 1900’s. The front door of the Reformed Church is hand carved and the organ pipes within the church are set in a foot piece of solid brass that is believed to be unique to South Africa.

The only Shipwreck Museum in South Africa was inaugurated in 1975. While it has displays from shipwrecks from all along the South African coast it specializes in the shipwrecks that occurred along the coast of the Overberg. In addition to parts of shipwrecks, objects made of porcelain, bottles and bells are also on display.  Audrey Blignaut, the well-known authoress, also has a room in her honour which contains furniture and other bric-a-brac.

Do not miss the opportunity to visit the Kapula Candle factory.  Started in a garage, this factory has grown in leaps and bounds over the years and offers employment to many local people.  The candles are hand painted and come in all shapes and sizes.  Ask any local for directions to this amazing warehouse filled with its “Warm Art of Africa”.   

Continue through Bredasdorp for 15kms towards the little town of Arniston.  Arniston gets its name from The Arniston, a ship carrying wounded soldiers from Ceylon to England via Cape Town that ran aground on the rocks near the shore. Only six of the 378 passengers survived the wreck and the town was named after the ship to commemorate one of the worst wrecks in South Africa’s history.   Arniston or the area “Waenhuiskrans” as it is known by its inhabitants, is another one of the Overberg’s quaint little fishing villages, with its own whitewashed fishermen’s cottages that were built over 200 years ago. Kassiesbaai is the bay where the fishermens haul in their catches in the evenings.   The name Waenhuiskrans, translated, means wagon house cliff.  A walk along the sand dunes and down onto the beach on the Western side of the Village will bring you to a large cave.  This cave can only be accessed at low tide. It is said that an oxwagon could be turned in this cavern.  Arniston has wonderful rolling sand dunes and brilliant beaches and is near to De Mond Nature Reserve. De Mond, usually considered a satellite of the De Hoop Nature Reserve, is home to a number of small mammals such as grysbok, steenbok and grey duiker. De Mond is ideal for bird watching as the reserve is an important habitat of South Africa’s most endangered coastal bird, the Damara.

Double back towards Bredasdorp and turn left towards Stuisbaai and continue to Cape Agulhas. This drive takes about 20 minutes.  Here, the National Park is home to unique limestone Fynbos and also serves as the breeding ground for the endangered black oystercatcher. One of the many wrecks of this stretch of coast, the Meisho Maru, can also be found in the Park. There are many hikes that can be undertaken in the National Park as well as wonderful beach walks along the rocky beaches. The southernmost point is marked with a plaque on the beach as well and is a perfect place to take a photograph.  The most famous part of Cape Agulhas, though, is probably the Cape Agulhas Lighthouse. It was built in 1840 and is design is based on one of the former Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, the Pharos of Alexandria. It was restored in 1968 and is now a National Monument. The lighthouse is worth climbing even if the stairs are sometimes a little scary – the view from the top is spectacular and it alone is worth the drive to the little town. The lighthouse also has its own museum and memorabilia to commemorate your trip can be bought all throughout the town.  Be sure to stop for a late lunch at one of the road side fish and chips shops.  A delightful and delicious seafood experience before returning home to Eastbury Cottage!  

See our blog on a day trip to Gansbaai

Author: Danica Kreusch

Edited: Jenny Bowes Meyer 

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