Africa’s ‘Longest’ Boardwalk Enhances Cape Point Tourism

Africa’s ‘Longest’ Boardwalk Enhances Cape Point Tourism

South African National Parks has opened what it claims is the longest boardwalk in Africa – a 1-kilometer-long path at Cape Point, one of Africa’s most visited sites, according to a report in AllAfrica.

The boardwalk links the Cape Agulhas lighthouse with the southernmost tip of Africa where the Indian and Atlantic oceans meet. The trail will take visitors past the Agulhas village, ancient tidal fish traps, the lighthouse precinct, the peninsula’s southernmost point, and a shipwreck along the coastline.

“Underpinning all of these developments will be to conserve the indigenous fauna and flora that makes Agulhas National Park so unique,” said Gerald Swan, parks conservation and tourism committee chairman.

The $225,000 pathway is the first phase of a project to create a Cape Agulhas lighthouse precinct consisting of a lighthouse museum, heritage center, restaurant, vendor stalls and information services. Cape Agulhas is about two-and-a-half hours from Cape Town.

The boardwalk will protect the sensitive environment around Africa’s southernmost tip from damage by walkers while making the Agulhas National Park more accessible to visitors, the report said.

“We will be unlocking and celebrating the superb views with appropriate viewing decks with minimal blockage, and we will be paying attention to the significant space between the lighthouse and the point,” said Swan.

A further $5 million has been earmarked for planning and design; construction of  “a southern tip iconic structure;” and restoration of the historic Ratelrivier Homestead that embodies the history of the area. Construction is expected to begin in late 2014.

“Tourism plays a vital role in the economy of South Africa,” Swan said. “In order to unlock the precinct’s full tourism potential, as well as focusing attention on the sensitive natural environment, we have to improve the area to international standards.”