Waenhuiskrans, Western Cape, South Africa




This lovely coastal town goes by two names. Waenhuiskrans is short for Waenhuiskransgrot, which means wagon-house cave, and refers to a deeply eroded sea-cave which is big enough to house an ox wagon. The cave faces the sea and is easily reached at low tide but is cut off at high, so one needs to be aware when visiting it.

The other name, Arniston, refers to the ship of that name which was wrecked in 1815, with the loss of 372 lives - only 6 hardy souls managing to struggle ashore. But, despite this rather sad association, it is a pretty town, best known for its wonderfully preserved, and oft-photographed, white-washed, thatched cottages, picturesquely arranged around the bay and across the dunes.

The active fishing community brings in a good selection of fresh fish and the oysters of the region are legendary. The town is not far from Cape Agulhas - the most southerly tip of Africa and the official meeting point of the Indian and Atlantic Oceans. The town is best reached by turning off the N2 at Caledon and following the R316 through Bredasdorp for about 100km. The nearest airport is at Cape Town, which is about 220km away.