Portuguese seafarers named Africa's southern-most tip, "Needle Cape" because here, their compass needle pointed straight to the north with no deviation. An alternative opinion says that the name stems from the ragged and pointed reefs offshore.
As the southernmost tip of the continent, Cape Agulhas is also officially the point where the Atlantic and Indian Ocean meet. The waters near the coast are quite shallow and known as the best fishing grounds in South Africa. They are called the "Agulhas Bank" and it is less than 100 metres deep. Only after 250 kilometres seawards, does it go steeply down.
Cape Agulhas is rough and storm-beaten. The many shipwrecks here bear witness to the mighty storms in this region. At low tide the wreck of the Meisho Maru looms from the water.
The massive lighthouse, built in 1848, is worth a visit. The lighthouse is still today, despite the satellite navigation systems of modern vessels, fully operational. The mighty lights have a range of almost 60 kilometres. The tower can be visited.
Because the coastal Fynbos vegetation is extraordinarily rich and diverse, the Agulhas Plain was recently declared a National Park . More than 2000 different plants grow there, 100 of them are exclusive to this area.
Neighbouring Struisbaai is an old fishing village, founded in the middle of the 19th century. Its harbour is still active. The pretty white-washed fishermens houses, the "Hotagterklip Cottages", have been well restored. They are under monument protection like the little thatched Anglican chapel, too.
Struisbaai's main attraction is the 14 kilometre long sandy beach, which has, in the last few years, attracted many holidaymakers, mainly Afrikaans speakers from Cape Town. The result is a number of holiday settlements.