25 May 2016


On 10 May 2016 we visited the first of the hoped for 45 lighthouses. Having overnighted at Paternoster, we were only 5 km from the Cape Columbine lighthouse. The LH is in the CC Nature Reserve, where a small entrance fee is payable. The structure is square in cross section with fluted corners.


A foggy morning meant a late start to the day. We were welcomed by Wayne Brown (pictured in conversation with me), having phoned (022 752 2705) beforehand to advise of our intended visit.


He explained the operation of the LH, both historical and current. Various light sources had been used over the years, but currently a 400 watt metal halide lamp is in operation. The earlier fog signalling system was a pair of foghorns (diaphones) operated by 100 psi compressed air. I guess this was effectively a wind instrument, like a bugle, but not as musical. The compressor, 3 large air reservoirs and the final air tank (pictured below) have been preserved. The one diaphone (darker grey) is visible behind me in the picture. It protrudes through the wall.


Wayne escorted us through the lower buildings and tower. The visitors’ book on the first floor of the tower was duly signed. The lantern house was fascinating. The lens system is much larger and more complex than expected and the lamp appears to be very small. The rotational gearing system is driven by a surprisingly small electric motor. 


The tour ended with a question and answer session which elicited some interesting information. The pedestal (lens and its supports) floats in a bath of mercury, hence very low friction and the small motor. The lens system directs the light by both reflection and refraction. Wayne used the term catadioptric for this.

Wayne explained that the fog signalling system had been re-sited when the technology changed from compressed air to an electrical nautophone.


As there was still some fog at sea, the fog detector (at the top of the above structure) was still in positive mode. We certainly experienced the sound at close hand, in fact for 2.5 seconds at one minute intervals.

Drafted       23 May 2016

23 May 2016

Contact Details

Joe Viljoen - joeviljoen@gmail.com
Alf Stevens - alfstevens@icon.co.za

21 May 2016

The first adventure was successfully completed at the Port Nolloth lighthouse (pictured) on 13 May 2016.

The itinerary covered 4 days of lighthouse locating and viewing and 2 of travel.                                                                                         Day 2 : Cape Columbine, Stompneusbaai and St 
                        Martins (Shelley Point).                                                   Day 3 : Doringbaai.                                                                     Day 4 : Groenriviermond and Hondeklipbaai.                              Day 5 : Port Nolloth.  
More detailed posts will follow for each, but here are some preliminary comments.
·              The lighthouse personnel are very friendly and helpful.
·              The winter months are not the right time to undertake this particular trip due to fog, mist and rain which hinder lighthouse location and photography.
·             There are some non-lighthouse points of interest to view en-route.
·             The northerly roads were badly corrugated.

Thank you John, for an interesting trip.

Drafted 15 May 2016

08 May 2016



 Alf Stevens                                      John McGahey

We are two Old Bulls who have added to our bucket list, the adventure of visiting and photographing all the lighthouses (45) on the South African coast. Proof of the visit would be a photograph with one or both of us in the picture.

The proposed timing could be as much as 5 years. Since we are both retired, we have the time to plan and execute this project, subject to the absence of unforeseen circumstances. It may be tempting fate to commit this early to the task, but a goal has to be set.

Our first trip is up the West Coast starting on 9 May 2016.

Drafted : 25 April 2016

18 March 2012

(New) Cape Point Lighthouse

The old lighthouse was commissioned on 1st May 1860 and was replaced on 11 March 1919 by this then new 9 meter masonry tower situated lower down the mountain. The old one was too high and mist and cloud obscured the light.

11 March 2012

Hondeklip Lighthouse

Hondeklip (Dog Rock) Lighthouse gets its name from a dog shaped rock nearby. The first light was installed in 1936 but has had some changes. The temporary light that was solar powered has a permanent light at last. The white building has been used at other venues (Port Durnford and South Sand Bluff Lighthouses in KZN) I believe the plans come from army watch towers. Copper from O’Keip mine was exported from this area. (photo by: Yolandi Visser)

16 August 2010

Mouille Point Lighthouse

Mouille point Lighthouse was commissioned in 1842 and has been inactive since 1908.
It was the second Lighthouse in South Africa.
It was demolished in 1912.
What remaines is a 3m rebuilt structure.
This Lighthouse is often confused with the Green Point Lighthouse a short distance away.

24 February 2009

Bird Island Lighthouse

Posted by Picasa

This is the only Lighthouse in South Africa that does not appear elsewhere in this blog. It is situated about 7km off the Port Elizabeth coast.

02 January 2009

Roman Rock Lighthouse

Roman Rock Lighthouse (1861) is built on a rock in False Bay near Simonstown. It stands 17meters above the high water mark. The structure attached to the tower is a helipad. Rough seas and surrounding rocks make for difficult boat access. It is powered by electricity from an undersea cable from the mainland.

Slangkop Lighthouse

Slangkop Lighthouse near Kommetjie is the tallest cast iron Lighthouse in South Africa (33 meters) It has five levels. The Lighthouse was due for completion in 1914 as the brass sign above the door indicates but due to the First world war it only went into operation 1n 1919. Russell Solomons showed me around the Lighthouse.

01 January 2009

Green Point (Cape) Lighthouse

Green Point Lighthouse (Cape) is the oldest solid structured Lighthouse in South Africa dating back to 1824. Many a Lighthouse Keeper learnt their trade there. It is a 16 meter square masonry building and is often incorrectly referred to as Mouille Point. This is the penultimate Lighthouse that I have photographed and had the pleasure of meeting James Collocott - Manager Lighthouse services there.

Robben Island Lighthouse

Robben Island Lighthouse was commissioned in 1865 on the highest point of the island. Jan Van Riebeeck’s diary mentions an open flame that was lit there when ships were expected in 1656. The Lighthouse is an 18 meter masonry tower and is the only lighthouse in South Africa with alight that does not rotate. (It Flashes)
Robben Island has a long history of housing mental patients, lepers and prisoners including Nelson Mandela who was kept there for 18 years.

Milnerton Lighthouse

Milnerton Lighthouse is in the suburb of Milnerton surrounded by pubs and clubs. The lighthouse was erected in 1960 and is a 21 meter concrete tower.

31 December 2008

Dassen Island Lighthouse

Dassen Island Lighthouse was commissioned in 1893. It is a 28 meter circular iron tower on an Island of about 200 acres - 9 km offshore. It is protected by Cape Nature Conservation with Southern Right whales and plenty of crayfish in the area. It is home to African Penguins, White Flamingos and plenty of rabbits and seagulls. Many a ship went aground here including the first Windsor Castle. It is accessed by boat or helicopter.

South Head Lighthouse

South Head Lighthouse is situated on the Southern side of Suldanha Bay at a little known spot called Donkergat. The area is controlled by the National Defence Force and is behind locked gates. To get to it one must drive through the Langebaan National Park. I was escorted by three Recce personnel while taking photos. It went into operation in 1969.

North Head Lighthouse

North Head Lighthouse was installed in 1939 and the first light was powered by acetylene gas. It is situated in the property of the Suldanha Naval Base on the Northern side of Suldanha Bay. The Lighthouse is now automated and is on a nature trial path.

30 December 2008

Cape Columbine Lighthouse

Cape Columbine Lighthouse (1936) is a 15 meter square masonry tower near Paternoster. Rachelle Greef from Pretoria who saw this site told me she grew up with a Lighthouse Keeper father. It was a pleasure to meet Japie Greef and his other daughter. The Lighthouse has excellent serviced accommodation including a Honeymoon Suite. At a small fee Japie gives a guided tour of the lighthouse. There are good photos of other Lighthouses on the premises.

Cape St. Martins Lighthouse

Cape St. Martin Lighthouse is a 10 meter lattice tower with an inverted Triangular day marker. It was installed in 1977. It is on the Southern side of St Helena Bay. St Martin was a Roman soldier who was babtised as an adult. During a snow storm he tore his cloak in half to give to a beggar to keep him warm. That night he dreamt that Jesus was wearing the other half.

Stompneusbaai Lighthouse

Stompneusbaai (Blunt Nose Bay) is not a Lighthouse but a Lead Light. The area was bought to establish Shelly Point Estate and the owner who was a Lighthouse enthusiast built this structure. A seal was on the rocks near the “Lighthouse.”

Doringbaai Lighthouse

Doringbaai Lighthouse was installed in 1963. It is situated 20km south of the Olifants River in a fishing community. Robert Oldale showed me the remains of the previous lattice lighthouse that was destroyed in a storm in 1991.

Groenriviermond Lighthouse

Groenriviermond Lighthouse is a 17.2 meter concrete structure. It is used as a navigational aid along the West Coast. The lighthouse is accessed by a gravel road. It is rather deserted with some farming in the area and is a holiday destination for those who want to escape from society.

29 December 2008

Hondeklipbaai Lighthouse

Hondeklip (Dog Rock) Lighthouse gets its name from a dog shaped rock. The first light was installed in 1936 but has had some changes. There is a temporary light that is solar powered while the new structure is being built. The white building that will house the light has been used at other venues (Port Durnford and South Sand Bluff Lighthouses in KZN) I believe the plans come from army watch towers. Copper from O’Keip mine was exported from this area.

27 December 2008

Port Nolloth Lighthouse

Port Nolloth Lighthouse is the most Northern Lighthouse on the Western side of South Africa. I met the Man who looks after the light a Mr Gawie Brandt who has 32 years service in the lighthouse business. He used to go out by boat to change the gas cylinders at a beacon. It is now solo powered. The Lighthouse was started in 1909 in this Diamond and Copper mining area. There are plenty of crayfish here. There is a wreck on the beach close to the Lighthouse.

14 April 2008

Green Point Lighthouse

When I first saw this Lighthouse it was being prepared for a coat of paint. The rust was being sanded off and it didn't look good.
A few months later the tower looked great but the scaffolding around the dome was still there.
Well the scaffolds have been removed and the dome is still rusted. The rust has washed down onto the the newly painted tower and it is already starting to look shabby.

12 April 2008

Cape Hermes Revisited

Cape Hermes Lighthouse situated at Port St Johns on the East Coast of South Africa. One of the few Lighthouses that still has a Keeper.

11 March 2008

Port Elizabeth Revisited

There are three lighthouses in Port Elizabeth which have been been blogged previously. Someone shot the lens at Cape Recife lighthouse a few years back and the lens is unobtainable.
So instead of the usual 8 flashes it now has only six flashes.

The lattice Deal Light replaced The Hill Lighthouse as the growing city lights made it un identifiable from the sea.

30 December 2007

Cape Vidal Lighthouse

I visited this Lighthouse on Christmas day. This time I found a road to it instead of the long hike along the beach. The premises look neglected and uncared for. It has deteriated since my last visit.

Tugela Lighthouse

This Lighthouse has now been completed. I posted a previous entry with the stucture of this lighthouse but without the light.

24 August 2007

Gerrit Penning

I had the pleasure of meeting Gerrit at his home in Bloemfontein this week. We share info on lighthouses from time to time. He is also a keen Astronomer and set up his telescope and gave me some interesting info about the stars and moon.

14 May 2007

Green Point Lighthouse - Natal

I first visited this lighthouse last year and it looked rather shabby. (See previous photos) It looks much better now but seems to be taking ages to get the job finished. Well its only the dome left to paint now.

19 March 2007

Roman Rock Lighthouse

Photo's of Roman Rock Lighthouse situated in False Bay. The previous one posted by me was taken at a distance and cannot be seen clearly.

Photos sent to me by Heather Vallance from The Pen and The Spindle and Nicolette Booyens

05 January 2007

The top two photos are of the Bluff lighthouse - the first on the Natal Coast and commissioned on 23rd January 1867. It was encased in concrete in 1933.
The third photo is that of Mouille Lighthouse which was the 2nd lighthouse in South Africa. ( 01 - 07 - 1842 ) It was demolished in the 1920's. It is in close proximity and often confused with Green Point Lighthouse.
The last photo is of Castle Point - East London. This lighthouse was commissioned on 25th August 1860 and was used until 3rd June 1895. It was finally demolished in 1929.

Replaced Lighthouses

The first photo is of the Old Cape Point Lighthouse which was used from 1st May 1860 to 11th March 1919. It was replaced by the lighthouse directly below it as it was too high and was sometimes obscured by mist and cloud.
The second photo is of The Hill Lighthouse in Port Elizabeth which was replaced by Deal Light (below it) because the city lights and high rise buildings obscured the light and made it difficult to distinguish.

Bluff Tower

An imposing sight at the entrance to Durban Harbour. Built for the millennium. It is a tower and not a lighthouse and does not fall under the National Ports Authority but is used as a landmark by ships.

04 January 2007

Unidentified Lighthouse

Can anyone tell me more about this old photo??? I came across it in a museum.

02 January 2007

South African Lighthouses

I started this blog a few months ago and the first entry was a collage of myself and the seven lighthouses that I had seen at that stage. I made this collage of the lighthouses that I have seen to date. To see all the lighthouses in South Africa I would have to cover the area from Cape Town and the west Coast. Anyone keen on doing it with me!!!!

28 December 2006

Slangkop Lighthouse

This lighthouse is situated at Kommetjie and is the tallest cast iron lighthouse on the South African Coast. It was commissioned on 4th March 1919. There are 5 Floors each 6.1 meters above the other.

Cape Point Lighthouse

The old lighthouse was commissioned on 1st May 1860 and was replaced on 11 March 1919 by this then new 9 meter masonry tower situated lower down the mountain. The old one was too high and mist and cloud obscured the light.

Roman Rock Lighthouse

This lighthouse was commissioned on 16 September 1861 and is situated in False bay near Simonstown. It is the only rock lighthouse in South Africa. It can only be reached by sea or air. I took this photo with a 4 mega pixel digital camera and then cropped the lighthouse and enlarged it.