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Boasting the longest beach at 14km in length, the charming coastal village of Struisbaai lies near the tip of Africa. It’s along this coastline where the Indian and Atlantic oceans meet and where over the years, many a ship has come to grief, the last being the Meisho Maru Japanese fishing trawler that wrecked in 1982, still visible from shore.
The dazzling white beaches attract beachgoers while the historic lime-coated fishermen cottages and vast birdlife add to the appeal of Struisbaai.
The origin of the name Struisbaai is not clear; it was either named for the ostriches that once roamed here (the Dutch word for ostrich is struisvogel) or the fact that the fishermen built their homes using mud and straw (struis in Afrikaans). Irrespective, Struisbaai is a lovely holiday destination for families, fishermen, hikers, birders, surfing road trippers and those who enjoy water sports.
Top 6 reasons to visit Struisbaai
1. Rise early to walk down to the harbour and watch the fishing boats return with their catch. Fish can be purchased directly from the fishermen who will gladly descale and prepare your selection for a delightful meal later in the day. The presence of fish offcuts lures short-tailed sting rays into the harbour, 2 of which are so regular that they have been named by the locals!
2. Take a hike through the Agulhas National Park along the Rasperpunt hiking trail. The trail begins at the Meisho Maru shipwreck along the coast and returns via Suiderstrand beach. Some sections of the hike cross boardwalks to protect the natural terrain.
3. Kite surfing and traditional surfing are popular pastimes in Struisbaai and there are a number of local schools offering lessons to get you going on the water.
4. The Two Oceans Marlin Tournament is a massive event that takes place annually during February and draws fishermen from all over the world to catch striped marlin that could easily weigh over 100kg.
5. Another big event on the Struisbaai calendar is the Cape Agulhas MTB Classic 72km mountain bike race. The course passes through pristine fynbos, scenic farmland, vineyards and welcoming small towns. Shorter race distances of 46km, 35km and 10km are available to less ambitious riders.
6. The village has a number of restaurants and coffee bars to enjoy a meal or beverage overlooking the ocean.
Struisbaai is 200km away from Cape Town International Airport. Car rental agencies are based in the nearby towns of Hermanus and Swellendam, and at the airports to hire a vehicle, or you could order a rental online. Cape Town shuttle service operators transport visitors between the airport and Struisbaai, however, it’s more practical to hire a vehicle.
Did you know?
The National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) has a base in Struisbaai which is manned by volunteers. Aside from sea rescue, they are often called to assist in other issues such as road accidents and searching for missing hikers and mountain climbers.
The meeting of the warm Agulhas and the cold Benguela currents bring turbulent seas, thus the reason for the more than 30 wrecks that have occurred in and around Struisbaai. It’s also an area where sailors see a change in magnetic forces that seem to affect a compass’ true north bearings.