Friday, January 16, 2009


It has now been done! A "dream" and now all the working lighthouses along the coast of South Africa.

Friday, January 02, 2009


Roman Rock Lighthouse is built on an island rock at the entrance to the Naval harbour of Simonstown in False Bay. This is the only South African Lighthouse to be erected on a rock which is only exposed at low tide. The lighthouse took 4 years to build, the weather conditions were difficult and there were engineering problems when the expansion of the concrete caused cracks in the ground tier of plates. A granite wall was built around the base, the concrete removed and replaced with rubble masonry of granite in Portland cement. The tower is still in operation today.

Roman Rock lighthouse consists of a 17 metre circular cast iron tower and is painted white.

Originally two lighthouse keepers were employed here with a relief crew ashore, the living conditions were cramped and primitive. Sea conditions needed to be calm in order to safely land at the lighthouse.

When acetylene gas flashing apparatus was installed at Roman Rock in 1919 the lighthouse became automatic and no longer required a lighthouse keeper. Nowadays access to the lighthouse has become even more innovative with the construction of an aluminium helipad.


Thursday, January 01, 2009




Milnerton Lighthouse is situated in the suburb of Milnerton on the shores of Table Bay.
The lighthouse consists of a 21 metre cylindrical white reinforced concrete tower. It supports a revolving white light and a subsidiary 25 degree red sector covering Robben Island.

Milnerton light along with it's red sector functions in conjunction with Robben Island and Greenpoint lighthouses to assure identification as the city lights here merge with harbour navigational lights and could be confusing.

Wednesday, December 31, 2008


Nowadays a two day journey along lovely roads can bring you from Durban to Port Nolloth 1690 km away. Port Nolloth Lighthouse consists of an 11 metre aluminium lattice tower with a triangular black and white striped day marker. The lighthouse is well maintained and stands majestically in the garden of a house in Beach Road; the view from the top is exhilarating. The original site of the first lighthouse is on the opposite side of the road. The fog signal is now electronic.

In 1854 Commander M.S. Nolloth surveyed the west coast of South Africa to find suitable bays to be used as harbors for the copper mining industry. Port Nolloth was subsequently named after him. The town was originally called Robbe Bay.

Navigational aid became a necessity because of the increase in shipping activity here. In 1909 an explosive fog signal, and a cast iron lighthouse with a dioptric revolving lens, were introduced. These navigational aids were progressively upgraded as the port became more important. The port was used for mining supplies; passengers and fishing, as fishing factories were also established.

After World War 1 the copper mines closed down, (to be reopened in 1937 with American Investments.) This had a devastating effect on the town. Luckily diamonds were discovered along the West coast of Alexander Bay and Oranjemund, and the port of Port Nolloth once again thrived.

In the past Port Nolloth Lighthouse was never popular with staff, the roads at that time were poor, and Cape Town was an uncomfortable two day journey, hence the town was considered desolate. An AF Telemetry system was installed in 1989 linking Port Nolloth Lighthouse to Cape Point and enabling this lighthouse to become automated.


When I saw this lighthouse, the light had not yet been fitted and was mounted along-side the fence. I recently obtained this photo courtesy of Joe Viljoen. It is always good to see a lighthouse completed.


The lighthouse consists of a 17.2 metre concrete tower, painted yellow with a black band and can be found on the Namaqualand coast between Doringbaai and Hondeklipbaai.

The lighthouse supports a Stone Chance lantern which was previously in use at Cape Agulhas Lighthouse.
Groenriviermond Lighthouse is linked to Cape Point Lighthouse for monitoring and control by means of a H.F. Telemetry system.


Doringbaai is a small fishing harbour in Namaqualand 20kilometres south of the Olifants River mouth.

The lighthouse is a black and white cylindrical concrete tower. The original light was an aluminium lattice tower which was destroyed during a gale in 1991.



Cape St. Martin Lighthouse is situated on the southern side of St. Helena Bay. It is a 10 metre aluminium lattice structure with a triangular daymarker. The lighthouse has a red sector which covers the Britannia Reef.


Cape Columbine Lighthouse is a 15 metre square masonry tower which is painted white. The lighthouse is built on the rising ground at Castle Rock near Paternoster. It became necessary to construct a lighthouse here, because the sea is hazardous with submerged rocks including the Britannia Reef and Soldiers Reef and there have been numerous shipwrecks in the past. This is usually the first lighthouse sighted by ships coming from Europe. The lighthouse is also equipped with a Chance Brothers twin diaphone fog signal and a radio beacon. Cape Columbine is known to be the last manned lighthouse to be erected on the South African Coast.


Dassen Island Lighthouse consists of 28 metre, circular, red and white striped cast iron tower. The powerful light has a range of 24 sea miles, on a clear night it can be seen from Signal Hill in Cape Town 55 kilometers away. The lighthouse is built on the highest side of the island, the South Western side, on a rocky outcrop.

Originally two lighthouse keepers, and later three, were employed on the island which was considered a lonely outpost. Supplies were received once a month by an uncomfortable 5 hour sea journey. The lighthouse is now unmanned and easily serviced by helicopter.

A large 27 000 litre stone reservoir was built to store oil for the original light. After the installation of electricity on the island, the reservoir was used as the base of the electric fog signal. This was destroyed in a gale in 1918 and has been replaced by a guyed aluminium mast which is insulated from the ground. The reservoir still stands.

Dassen Island is now a Nature Reserve and strictly controlled by the Western Cape Nature Conservation Board. A 15 minute trip from Yzerfontein will take you to this beautiful sandy island. Though a permit is required to visit the island, the waters surrounding it have become very popular for crayfishing. The island is a breeding site for White Pelicans (one of two in South Africa) and the African Penguin. It is also populated by numerous other sea birds, Kelp Gull, African Black Oyster Catcher as well as Crowned, Cape and Bank Cormorants. There are also numerous rabbits and tortoises on the island.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008


A striking picture of Cape Vidal lighthouse taken on a perfect Christmas Day.


This picture, taken on 25th November 2006, shows the lighthouse with the railings fitted, but still a temporary light on the side.

The first pictures, taken in 2005, show the lighthouse newly painted but without the top railings or light.

The railings can be seen on the ground, ready to be installed.

Sunday, August 12, 2007


Bass Rock Lighthouse
Light Established
David A Stevenson
Latitude 56° 04.6’N
Longitude 02° 38.3’W
An island lying 3 miles NE from North Berwick
Flashing (3) White every 20 Secs
46 metres
Nominal Range
10 miles
White tower 20 metres high. There are 48 steps to the top of tower
In July 1897 the Commissioners decided that two lighthouses should be erected
on the Haddingtonshire coast - on the Bass Rock and on a suitable place near
Dunbar - as the unlighted condition of the area was causing concern.
The Bass Rock is a massive crag rising out of the sea to a height of 350 feet and
it is about a mile in circumference. Through the Rock, from the East to West,
runs a natural tunnel, but this is not accessible except at low tide.
Halfway up the Rock stands the ruins of a Pre-Reformation Chapel which was
dedicated to Saint Baldfred, and was consecrated in the year 1542. Saint
Baldfred was said to have his cell on the Bass Rock, dying there about the year
606. The Bass has a long and varied history. It is mentioned in writings dating
back to the region of Malcolm Canmore and the first recorded owner was Sir
Robert Lauder, who was granted a character for it around 1316. This family
(Lauder of Bass) retained ownership of the rock for hundreds of years and must
have been connected with the erection of a Pre-Reformation Chapel which must
be dedicated to St Balfred in 1542, as well as being responsible for the building
of the fortress.
Earlier, in 1671, Charles I claimed the Bass as Royal Property and it was sold to
the crown for the sum of £4,000 sterling by the then owner, Sir Alexander
Ramsay of Abbotshall, Provost of Edinburgh. The bloody pages of the Bass
Rock's history now unfold when, under another Lauder (dale) known as the
Captain of the Bass, the fortress was turned into a prison for Presbyterian
ministers. Between 1672 and 1688 some 40 political/religious prisoners died in
the dungeons of the rock.
In 1706, the Bass was sold to Sir Hugh Dalrymple,
whose descendants still own it
The Light was automated in 1988 and is now remotely monitored from the
Board’s headquarters in Edinburgh.

Monday, May 14, 2007



The third picture was taken by Joe Viljoen in Jan 2005 before the start of renovations, the second was taken in October 2006 showing all of the scaffolding with painting well on the way, the first, taken in May 2007, shows the new finish beautifully restored with only the top to go!

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Green Point Lighthouse - Natal

The renovation to this light is taking forever. I took this photo yesterday.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007


The alignment of the Sun, Earth and the Moon, a cyclone up the coast of Madagascar and gale-force on-shore winds have caused unnaturally high tides. This photo of Umhlanga lighthouse was taken by Stuart Noble and published on the internet. As the lighthouse is usually high and dry this is a rare occurance and a great picture

Monday, February 26, 2007


As I am missing persuing lighthouses, I decided to publish this collage of 36 lights, most of which I have been to. The next trip will be the Western Cape and therefore I will have to wait for my leave in order to have the time to get there... roll on leave...

Thursday, January 04, 2007

SLANGKOP - Cape point

SLANGKOP – Cape Point

Slangkop is the tallest cast iron tower on the South African coast, 33 metres high, circular and painted white. There are 5 floors each 6.1 metres above one another and gracefully tapering towards the sky. The tower supports a 6.75 metre high lantern with a range of 25 nautical miles. This lighthouse is almost exactly midway between Robben Island and Cape Point. This lower site near the waters edge was chosen as less likely to be enveloped by fog. The lighthouse was competed in 1914 but only commissioned in March 1919 due to a 5 year delay caused by the 1st World War. The lighthouse is open to the public and situated at the coastal village of Kommetjie. A lovely one to visit

CAPE POINT - Cape Point

CAPE POINT – Cape point

Situated in the Cape of Good Hope nature reserve and a popular tourist attraction. The base of the original lighthouse, commissioned in May 1860, still exists and can be visited on foot or by means of a funicular cable car which runs at regular intervals. The new lighthouse was erected at a lower level i.e.; 286 ft above sea level and commissioned on 11 March 1919, as the original light which was 816 ft above sea level, was often obscured by mist and cloud. The new lighthouse was constructed in spite of numerous difficulties and challenges. Dias point, the site chosen by Cooper was broadened with the aid of dynamite. A tram track was constructed and a crane installed. Sand was carried up from cave at the bottom of the cliff along a footpath which zigzagged 250 ft up the cliff. Stone was taken from the quarry, heaved up 150 ft then run down in trucks to the crane and lowered down to the construction site. Water was carried up by trolley and then sent down a pipe. A large quantity of material such as rope blocks, chains and timber was carried out by boat and dragged up to the site. The revolving electric light is supported by a 9 metre high masonry tower and has a range of 34 nautical miles. The lighthouse is also fitted with a subsidiary red sector light and has a radio beacon and diesel alternator.

ROMAN ROCK - Simon's Town

ROMAN ROCK – Simon’s town

Roman Rock is the only lighthouse on the South African coast to be constructed on a rock which is continuously awash at high tide. This lighthouse is situated on an isolated rock at the entrance to the naval harbour at Simon’s town in False Bay. It consists of a circular cast iron tower which is painted white. The light has a range of 13 nautical miles. Roman Rock has been in operation since September 1861. In the early days, the lighthouse had to be operated manually and two men were employed as live in keepers. When acetylene gas apparatus was installed in 1919 personnel were no longer required to live at the lighthouse. This photo was taken from a lookout point above the harbour at Simon’s town.



This lighthouse is situated at the entrance to False Bay about 1 km from the base of Hangklip Berg, which derives its name from its hanging shape. It consists of a 23 metre concrete tower painted white with a black band near the top. This was the first fully automatic electrically operated lighthouse with its own automatic diesel-generating plant. The light has a range of 25 nautical miles. The lighthouse is not open to the public, but can be reached by a footpath from the beach nearby, where boats are launched.

DANGER POINT - Eastern Cape

DANGER POINT – Eastern Cape

This lighthouse was established 43 years after HMS Birkenhead was wrecked on an uncharted reef nearby. A commemorative plaque of this tragedy has been set into the lighthouse tower.
The lighthouse consists of an 18.3 metre octagonal concrete tower which is painted white, and a circular dome, painted red, atop a rectangular frame which houses the light. Adjacent the lighthouse, mounted on its own frame, is an automatic electric fog signal. Danger Point is situated at Gansbaai which is an hour’s drive from Hermanus. It is open to the public and well worth a visit.

QUOIN POINT - Eastern Cape

QUOIN POINT – Eastern Cape

A dangerous promontory between Danger Point and Cape Agulhas, where many ships have been wrecked, including the City of Lincoln in 1946. This lighthouse was installed on the 2 March 1955. It consists of a 21 metre steel tower with a diamond shaped daymark. If you don’t own a 4X4, the lighthouse can be reached by foot along the beach from Buffeljagsbaai and takes about 1hr and 10 mins. The tower was used as temporary light at Cape Agulhas while that lighthouse was being restored, then decommissioned and removed to replace the steel tower of Quoin Point in 1990.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

CAPE AGULHAS - Eastern Cape

CAPE AGULHAS – Eastern Cape

This lighthouse has been in operation since 1 March 1849 and has a range of 30 nautical miles. Originally made of limestone, it was declared unsafe in 1968 because of limestone decomposition. The light was then transferred to a lattice tower. Restoration of the original tower began in 1983. The original lighthouse was recommissioned on 25 March 1988. The lighthouse museum opened in 1994. Cape Agulhas is the most southerly cape on the African continent. The name means “Cape of the Needle” named so by Bartholomeu Dias and refers to the compass needle which swung in various directions when rounding the cape. The lighthouse consists of a 27 metre white round tower painted in red bands. The lighthouse is now a national monument and opens to the public.

Quoted at the opening ceremony:- Job22:28 'The light shall shine upon thy ways.'

CAPE INFANTA - Eastern Cape

CAPE INFANTA – Eastern Cape

Situated within the San Sebastian private nature reserve south of the Breede River mouth, and only accessible by prior arrangement. The gravel road leading to the lighthouse traverses through miles of Protea shrubs of numerous different species which is a pleasing sight. The lighthouse consists of a 15 metre aluminium tower and the light has a range of 24 nautical miles. This lighthouse was established in 1979 as the result of a collision between two large tankers the Venpet and the Venoil off the Eastern Cape coast.



This lighthouse is situated near the mouth of the Gouritz River between Mossel Bay and Cape Agulhas. Originally a 21 metre aluminium tower, now a concrete structure of the same height and painted in striking candy stripes of red and white. This lighthouse is not open to the public but visible from the road within the Reins Nature Reserve. The tower supports a fully automatic electric light system with a range of 24 nautical miles. At the time of this photograph the aluminium tower was still there, though the light apparatus had been transferred to the new tower.



Situated at Mossel Bay, Cape St Blaize lighthouse is a 20.5 metre square concrete tower which is painted white. The lighthouse has been a working navigational aid since 1864 and is a popular tourist venue with a tea-room on the grounds. The spectacular views from the top extend over the peninsular, across the bay, towards the Outeniqua Mountains and out to the Indian Ocean. Bartholemue Dias sailed into Mossel Bay on 3 Feb 1488 which was the festival day of Sao Bras and he named the bay “Aguado de Sao Bras”which means, watering place of St Blaize, because of the spring of fresh water located near the shore.

CAPE SEAL - Plettenberg Bay

CAPE SEAL – Plettenberg Bay

This lighthouse is situated within the Robberg Reserve near Plettenberg Bay and only accessible along a 5km rocky foot path, with beautiful sea views and sights and sounds of the seals down below. It consists of an unattractive 6 metre lattice tower, built on a peninsular 145 metres above sea level, making it the highest light on the South African coast. The lighthouse is serviced by helicopter; the light runs on solar power and is visible for 16 sea miles. After completing the hike and bundu bashing to get to the lighthouse, I fully appreciate the difficulties that must have been experienced during the construction of this lighthouse.