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17 June 2016


This lighthouse was the next destination. Heading further north from Hondeklipbaai Lighthouse we encountered a cloudburst. The heavy rain turned the gravel road into a skidpan and a nerve wracking, uncontrollable, 4 wheel drift skid resulted. John handled it superbly. It is a pity we could not photograph the skid tracks as the heavy rain could have damaged the camera.
At one point there is a superb tar road thanks to De Beers. On arrival in Port Nolloth the first stop was for fuel. This is something to watch as there are limited fuel stations in this northern section.
The Lighthouse is located on “Beach Road” and viewing it (in the rain, unfortunately) was the culmination of our trip. The congratulatory handshake photo has been shown previously.

It was on this site that we met Gawie Brandt (orange overall) who is the resident Lighthouse official in Port Nolloth.  He explained the history and mentioned that the Lighthouse, currently on the town side of “Beach Road” will probably be repositioned to the sea side. In fact, it may be sited on the concrete base of the first Lighthouse. The base is visible to the right of, and behind John. In the foreground is the electrical fog signal emitter.
Gawie also explained a signalling system previously operated by the Lighthouse keeper. A basket (with yellow band) would be hoisted to the top of a wooden mast to advise vessels to remain at sea in the event of heavy swells making entry into the harbour dangerous.
A “must” when in Port Nolloth is a visit to the PN museum. It is between the Lighthouse and the harbour on “Beach Road”.

Here one will meet George, a retired diamond diver. He would explain the history of PN, the copper mining era (when copper ore was exported from PN) and the diamond mining (diving) era. The history of the various Lighthouses at PN can be seen on the door behind George.

With time in hand we decided to start the trip back to CT, sleeping at Springbok. Between PN and Steinkopf, this melanistic springbok was sighted.

Somewhere along the trip we did enjoy a celebratory dinner.   

The drive back was uneventful and we arrived timeously at the CT airport for my flight back to Johannesburg and John proceeded on to Hout Bay. Thank you to the LH personnel (Wayne, Samuel and Gawie), to Joe for his advice, and to John for the use of his vehicle and all his driving. We look forward to further exploration and adventures.

Drafted : 16 June 2016.

16 June 2016


It was with considerable relief that we left the corrugated sand road through the Southern end of Namaqua National Park and approached Hondeklipbaai on a much better road. For safety, we immediately took our “proof” photograph.
With time in hand we explored the town and located the actual rock after which the town is named. It is a rock type referred to as gneiss (pronounced “nice”). My view that this is a “dropstone” i.e., carried from afar by glacial ice millions of years ago and dropped when the ice melted.

In earlier years the town was an export harbour for copper ore mined inland. Today, the town survives on crayfishing and tourism. That is the wreck of the Jahleel in the background.

We overnighted in the Hondhokkies. Just as well we did our photography the day before because ……………, but this was just forefront.

Drafted  : 14 June 2016

12 June 2016


This lighthouse was planned to be a brief stop on the way to Hondeklipbaai on12 May. On the N7 there is a large green sign indicating the Groenriviermond turnoff. This gravel road soon reaches a T junction signposted Garies and Springbok to the right. We turned left and then the adventure started….Lost in Namaqualand !!  Would we still reach Hondeklipbaai tonight, as planned? (One should turn toward Garies and then left to GRM.) Arriving at Kotzesrus, we found a back road to GRM, via private farms.

As we neared the coast weather worsened, but after the long drive, the first view of the GRM LH was welcomed. It is some way beyond the river mouth itself.

By now it was spitting with rain with a cold wind blowing, so we didn’t stay long.
The plan was to drive through a portion of the Namaqua National Park. This turned out to be a 3 hour drive on a badly corrugated sand road, with thick sand in places. This road is strictly only for 4 X 4’s and tyre deflation is necessary. The entrance gate is about 5 km back from the river mouth.
A point of interest en route is the Spoeg River caves. Sheep bones dated at 2000 years ago were excavated from the cave floor. This provides evidence that the Khoekhoen herders were inhabiting the area even then.       

A further 17 km allowed us to access the Hondeklipbaai “main“ road.

Drafted :  11 June 2016



10 June 2016


The lighthouse at Doringbaai was the next destination so an early start from Paternoster on 11 May 2016 found us heading northward. We had heard from our hostess’ neighbour of a “vuurtoring” and San Cave in the cliffs at Elandsbaai. Passing the crayfish factories in Elandsbaai South and proceeding round the corner of Baboon Point (aka Cape Deseada), we encountered the Provincial Heritage site, accessible by vehicle to within 50 or 60 metres. This transpired to be well worth the slight detour and recommended for anyone following this lighthouse route.


As can be seen, the ladders accessing the top platform of the vuurtoring have been removed. A fire would have been lit there and this would have constituted a rudimentary lighthouse or vuurtoring, like the one that was first erected on Robben Island. PS : A note on the list of Heritage Sites refers to a WW II radar station at this site, so the buildings and "vuurtoring" might be related to that.

The San cave was also of interest and can be found immediately behind the "vuurtoring".


The rock art in the cave appears to show an ostrich, an elephant and a headless antelope, extreme right. The latter’s head was painted in white, which “paint” has not endured. The handprint could be the artist’s signature.


Proceeding further north toward Doringbaai, a worthwhile stop, in summer when the birds are more plentiful, is the gannet colony alongside the breakwater of Lamberts Bay harbour. The photo from a previous trip shows the seal colony in the background as well.        


Approaching Doringbaai, the LH is visible in the distance and the entrance to the town is colourful.


The LH is situated within the secured harbour area. However access through the security gate is easy, as there are commercial and retail operations within the area.


Then finally the objective of the day was achieved.

Having time in hand we proceeded inland and overnighted at Vredendal, planning to travel on the N7 the next day.

Drafted : 7 June 2016

07 June 2016


With the fog closing in we left Shelley Point Estate and turned right on the road leading to Golden Mile and Cape St Martin. Travelling for 4.1km from this T junction one arrives at Cape St Martin Private Nature Reserve. Driving right through, one arrives at the abalone factory and a dead end. Here the two gates are daunting. 

One can step over the picket fence alongside the right hand gate. After proceeding along the sand road for 500m the LH loomed out of the fog, faintly at first and then more clearly as we neared. This experience was quite eerie with the only sound being that of waves breaking in the distance. Without directions from a helpful local, it is unlikely that we would have located this LH.

One loses one’s sense of direction in the fog, but it appeared that the daymark (triangle) is facing in the direction of Britannia Bay.

The walk back along the high water marked “crackled” as one walks on thousands of black mussel shells. Then the drive back to Paternoster with a sense of satisfaction having visited 3 LH’s on our first day.

Drafted :  1 June 2016. 

06 June 2016

Seal Point Lighthouse

Seal Point Lighthouse is situated at Cape St Francis. (30km from Humansdorp)
Tallest masonry tower in S Africa. It was commissioned on 4 July 1878 and is a National Monument.
Thanks for the pic Lucy Kelly.

04 June 2016


This LH is situated at the south western end of St Helena Bay and replaced an earlier wooden structure. It is referred to as a lead light by our mentor, Joe Viljoen, and a minor light by another source. It also does not appear amongst the 45 LH’s listed by Transnet on their site; / Business units / Lighthouse Services. Nevertheless it is a magnificent structure.

After the Cape Columbine morning visit on 10 May we drove to Stompneusbaai. En route we could see the fog moving in and some urgency developed. It was necessary to elicit directions from a helpful local fellow. One has to enter the Shelley Point Estate to access this LH. However, the beach front houses obstruct one’s view so that the LH is difficult to locate. Walkthroughs to the beach between houses enabled us to eventually locate the target. From house number 75 on 17th Street one can walk about 400m along the beach to the lighthouse.

 For safety, valuables were not left in the vehicle. One does not often see a computer bag on the beach.
 John was tempted to enter.
We understand that this property was originally owned by Transnet and when the developer of Shelley Point Estate purchased the land, a condition was that a LH be built at the developer’s cost. This came to pass and today the LH is maintained (and presumably owned) by Transnet.
Drafted: 26 May 2016.

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. A large pipe (about 300mm in diameter) extends vertically all the way up the tower but is now redundant. Its purpose was to house cables and weights which had to be hoisted manually every 3 hours to drive the rotating mechanism.


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

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.