Sometimes a small break from your everyday ritual is just as good as a holiday. Struisbaai & L’Agulhas has way more to offer a visitor than just the normal tourist attractions & fresh fish, renowned for good yellowtail catches during the Summer months.
For the runner looking for something more technical, the short 4km Spookdraai hiking trail will be a whole lot of fun. Starting in the Spookdraai as one drives into L’Agulhas from Struisbaai, you run on the shoulder of the main road, following the clearly marked little white painted ghost signs. A tricky little rocky beach section, followed by gravel and a short dash across the main road leads you to the start of a 2.6km single track section up and over the mountain. The quad buster to the top of the ridge is rewarded with stunning views of the coastline, but make sure you look where you step, as the trail is tricky with lots of roots, eroded sandstone rock banks or the odd slithering critter. After ascending and descending a couple of small valleys, you finally drop down again to the main road below the mountain. It is possible to do the route both ways, so for a nice challenge turn around when you reach the end, and do it all over again in the opposite direction.
There are endless opportunities for longer runs though, but one route offers all you need. You start at the iconic Agulhas Lighthouse, the 2nd oldest lighthouse in South Africa build in 1848. From here you have a couple of options and possible routes to follow to the top of the ridge overlooking Agulhas. Once on top, follow the last section of tar road in a westerly direction before reaching a sandy jeep track that runs along the ridge all the way to Suiderstrand, a little village about 7 km west of Agulhas. This sandy path through fynbos offers some incredible views, including where the Atlantic and Indian oceans meet.
Having reached the Suiderstrand reservoir, the road becomes gravel as you turn south towards the village & the ocean. A quick run through the village leads to the main pebble strewn beach and single track along the coastline most of the way back towards the lighthouse. This stretch of coastline forms part of the circular 5.5km Rasperbank hiking trail and offers not only single track, but also stretches of sandy and pebble beach, rocky jeep track, and some boardwalk running past the southern tip monument all the way back to the lighthouse. Other interesting sights and views along the way is the wreck of the Meisho Maru 38, a Japanese fishing trawler which ran aground in 1982, and the ancient fish traps near the Rasperbanks.
This trail could easily be made longer with a few turns left or right here and there, including the climb onto the ridge that forms part of the Rasperbank Trail, but it’s a nice run, challenging at times, and the Southern Most trail you’ll ever run on the African continent. Except for the little bit of tar road to reach the ridge line, the rest of the trail is set in the Agulhas National Park. There is no entry fee to the park, unless you want to do the overnight hiking trails. Afterwards relax at the coffee shop, or get a panoramic view of Agulhas from the top of the lighthouse.
If you enjoy a whole lot of sand and beach running, the 17km Struisbaai plaat, the longest beach in South Africa, will be right up your ally.
Quick Trail Info
Safe parking : Yes
Access fee : No
Safe trail to run alone : Yes
Technical/Challenging/Knee-breaker : The pebble beach section can be tricky at high tide or when rocks are wet.
Steep Uphills/Climbs and Descents : Short steep climbs
Going to get wet : No, unless you go running in the rain.
Beginner friendly : Relatively
Great View : Stunning views of Indian & Atlantic Oceans, the lighthouse, shipwrecks & coastal fynbos.
Trail distance : 4km – 20km
Suggested coffee shop/retaurant nearby : The Lighthouse Restaurant