At the tip of the Southern point of Africa… (1)

I’ve tried to write a post on New Years day 2021… but the internet here at the southern tip of Africa was so slow, that it was a hopeless case. Now, a few days later, it looks better. Most of the tourists have returned home, and now we can watch movies, and write blog posts…

We are so fortunate to have a house in Suiderstrand, close to Cape Agulhas. The most southern point of Africa is literally between our house and the quaint town of Agulhas…

I am fascinated by the history of the area, the Strandveld in particular. But also the shipwrecks, the farms and their owners’ stories of a long bygone era…

Pietie’s house

One of the stories I read about the area was about Pietie se huisie (Pietie’s house) at the blue lagoon. The blue lagoon is a big pool next to a sandy beach (most beaches in the area consist of pebbles…). It’s a great place to swim, even with low tide, so we often go there, although it is a bit of a walk from our house. The water is always cold on that side, I guess because of the closeness of the atlantic ocean. Just around the corner, closer to Suiderstrand the water is usually a few degrees warmer. I don’t really understand this… but back to Pietie’s house…

On 1 January 2019 a piece was written by Peter Albertyn, about his grandfather and the history of the area in 2Oceans News, the local newsletter. I was fascinated by the story of a place which we visit very often. Peter’s grandfather Pieter Albertyn used to take his family to the point at Agulhas from his farm Zeekoevallei, by horsecart. The men would enjoy fishing in the area and his grandmother, Muriel, will walk as far as the point where the cottage is at the moment. In 1898 Pieter baught a piece of land from Mike van Breda, who owned basically the whole area that is now Agulhas and Struisbaai, which was part of the farm Zoetendalsvallei. The piece of land was Pieter’s birtday gift to Muriel. The area reminded Muriel of the book she had read, the Blue Lagoon and that is why this pool is still called the blue lagoon… A cottage was built soon afterwards. Peter the grandson recalls:

“The annual holiday at the Lagoon was always an adventure. It began with a seven hour mule wagon trip from Zeekoevlei over the dunes. With no refrigeration, the load included live sheep, a few chickens and even a sucking pig for the Christmas table. Fish and shellfish were always plentiful. Many a galjoen was caught, while casting from a wagon parked there. Perlemoen and allikruk were collected at random without getting feet wet.”

He ends off the article with the wish that the Lagoon will always remain paradise and that it will be cherished by many. I just would like to say that this is our paradise as well. When we are there on our own, it feels like our own secluded island and we cherish each moment that we may spend there. It is now part of the Agulhas National Park, and Pietie’s house (the updated version of the one built in the late 1800’s) is rented out. During the current lockdown where we may not visit beaches, it is really difficult for us to not being able to visit the blue lagoon. Hopefully soon again!

The next “episode” in this series will most probably be about birding. I love the birds in this region, especially the terns … and because it is quite challenging to get good photographs of them, I might have 1000’s…

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