Lighthouses of Eastern South Africa

The Republic of South Africa occupies the southern end of the African continent, including the famous capes of Good Hope and Agulhas. During the colonial era, Dutch and British colonists struggled to control the country for many years, but by the mid 1800s the entire coastline was under British control. As a result, South Africa's lighthouse heritage is chiefly British.

This page describes lighthouses of the eastern half of the country, including the provinces of KwaZulu-Natal and Eastern Cape. This coast faces southeast on the Indian Ocean; principal ports include Richards Bay, Durban, East London, and Port Elizabeth. Lighthouses of Western Cape and Northern Cape provinces are on the Western South Africa page.

Lighthouses in South Africa are operated by the Lighthouses and Navigational Systems division of the Transnet National Ports Authority (NPA). Some are still staffed. Many of the more accessible light stations are being developed for tourism by a Transnet subsidiary called Salato (South African Lighthouse Adventure Tour Operations). Thanks to Salato, about a dozen lighthouses are now open to the public, and more may be opened in future years.

In Afrikaans, the word for a lighthouse is vuurtoring; kaap is a cape and eiland is an island.

ARLHS numbers are from the ARLHS World List of Lights. Admiralty numbers are from volume D of the Admiralty List of Lights & Fog Signals. U.S. NGA List numbers are from Publication 112.

General Sources
Lighthouses of South Africa
An outstanding site, posted by Simon Baillie-Cooper, with extensive data, historical information, and photos. The site is frame-based, so links to individual lighthouses are not provided.
Lighthouses of South Africa
A blog by Joe Viljoen; this very valuable site has photos and information on nearly all South African lights.
Lighthouses of South Africa
Excellent photos posted on Trekearth.com by Joe Viljoen.
Charmaine Blackburn - Lighthouses
Photos posted on Flickr.com by Ms. Blackburn. Her blog has additional photos.
Online List of Lights - South Africa
Photos by various photographers posted by Alexander Trabas. Many of the photos for this area are by Don Brotherston, a Johannesburg photographer.
Leuchttürme in Südafrika
Photos posted by Bernd Claußen.
Lighthouses in South Africa
Photos by various photographers available from Wikimedia.
World of Lighthouses - South Africa
Photos by various photographers available from Lightphotos.net.
Afrikanische Leuchttürme auf historischen Postkarten
Postcards from the collection of Klaus Huelse.

Port Elizabeth Light
The Hill Lighthouse, Port Elizabeth, September 2005
Wikimedia Creative Commons photo by Andrew Higgs

KwaZulu Natal Lighthouses

North Coast (Umkhanyakude District) Lighthouses
* Jesser Point (Sodwana)
1986. Active; focal plane 61 m (200 ft); four white flashes, separated by 4 s, every 40 s. 11 m (36 ft) round cylindrical concrete tower with lantern and gallery, painted white; lantern painted red. Viljoen has a closeup photo, Trabas has Brotherston's photo, and Google has a good satellite view. The Sodwana Bay area, near the lighthouse, is very popular with scuba divers; it has the southernmost coral reefs of Africa's east coast. Located on a promontory at the south end of Sodwana Bay. Accessible by road. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS SAF-051; Admiralty D6486; NGA 31932.
Cape Vidal
1985. Active; focal plane 65 m (213 ft); white flash every 10 s. 23 m (75 ft) round cylindrical concrete tower with lantern and gallery, painted yellow; lantern painted red. Keeper's house nearby. Peet van Heerden's photo is at right, Blackburn has a photo, Trabas has Brotherston's photo, the Baillie-Cooper site has three photos, and Google has a good satellite view. The unusual yellow color of this lighthouse was chosen to provide good contrast with the green forest behind the tower. The Cape Vidal area is popular with wildlife enthusiasts and scuba divers. Located about 35 km (22 mi) north northeast of St. Lucia. Viljoen reached the light by a long drive through a wildlife reserve followed by a 3 km (2 mi) hike on the beach. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS SAF-041; Admiralty D6485; NGA 31936.

Richards Bay (uThungulu District) Lighthouses
Cape St. Lucia (2)
1892 (relocated here in 1915). Station established 1906. Active; focal plane 113 m (371 ft); two white flashes every 10 s. 8 m (26 ft) round cast iron tower with lantern and gallery, adjacent to 1-story keeper's house. Lighthouse painted with black and white horizontal stripes. The lighthouse is adjacent to a large 1-story building. The Baillie-Cooper site has two photos, Trabas has Brotherston's photo, Viljoen has a closeup photo, and Google has a satellite view. This lighthouse is a sibling of the Port Shepstone Light. Both lights were relocated from the Aliwal Shoal area near Scottburgh; this one was originally on the north side of the mouth of the Mahlongwana River, just south of Umkomaas. The original lantern has been replaced by a lantern of modern design. Located atop a forested sand dune about 20 km (13 mi) south of St. Lucia. Accessible by car over a sand road (4WD required). ARLHS SAF-040; Admiralty D6484; NGA 31940.
* Richards Bay
1979. Active; focal plane 72 m (236 ft); three white flashes every 15 s. 11 m (36 ft) square cylindrical white concrete tower with a circular "watch room," lantern and gallery. Trabas has a Brotherston's photo, and Google has a satellite view. Richards Bay is a relatively new port, developed in the 1970s to provide port facilities with easier access to Johannesburg. Located atop a bluff about 3 km (2 mi) northeast of Richards Bay. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS SAF-057; Admiralty D6483; NGA 31944.
Cape Vidal Light
Cape Vidal Light, St. Lucia, August 2006
Panoramio photo copyright Peet van Heerden; used by permission
Durnford Point (2)
Date unknown (station established 1916). Active; focal plane 49 m (161 ft); four white flashes, in a 3+1 pattern, every 40 s. 12 m (39 ft) round cylindrical white concrete tower with gallery, attached to a 1-story concrete equipment building. Trabas has Brotherston's photo, Viljoen has a closeup photo, and Google has a satellite view. This lighthouse has replaced a skeletal tower. According to Viljoen, the station is staffed at all times to prevent vandalism. Located on the coast about 25 km (15 mi) southwest of Richards Bay. Site status unknown. ARLHS SAF-045; Admiralty D6482; NGA 31964.

Tugela Area (iLembe District) Lighthouse
* Tugela Bluff (2)
2007 (station established 1972). Active; focal plane 35 m (115 ft); four white flashes every 30 s. 21 m (69 ft) round cylindrical concrete tower with lantern and gallery. Tower painted white with narrow black horizontal bands, lantern painted red. Hannes Steyn has a 2008 photo, Craig Nattrass has a 2012 closeup, Trabas has Brotherston's photo, and Google has a satellite view and a distant street view. Blackburn has photos of the installation of the lantern. This lighthouse replaced a skeletal tower. Located on the north side of the mouth of the Tugela River, about 100 km (60 mi) northeast of Durban and 10 km (6 mi) southeast of Tugela. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS SAF-062; Admiralty D6481; NGA 31972.

Durban (eThekwini Municipality) Lighthouses
* Umhlanga Rocks
1954. Active; focal plane 24 m (79 ft); three white flashes every 20 s. 21 m (69 ft) round cylindrical concrete tower with lantern and gallery. The upper 1/4 of the lighthouse, including the lantern and gallery, is painted red; the lower 3/4 is painted white. A photo is at right, Adam Ross has a good photo, Trabas has Brotherston's photo, the Baillie-Cooper site has many photos, Rory MacKay has a 2008 photo, Wikimedia has a photo, and a Google satellite view is available. Blackburn has a photo of a storm tide sweeping around the lighthouse in March 2007. This lighthouse and the Cooper Light together replace the old Bluff Light as the lights guiding ships into Durban's harbor. The lighthouse is located on the beach in front of the InterContinental Hotel. Located about 15 km (9 mi) north northeast of downtown Durban. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS SAF-027; Admiralty D6480; NGA 31968.
* Holiday Inn Durban
Date unknown. Active (privately maintained); focal plane 109 m (358 ft); continuous white light. Light mounted atop a high rise hotel on Durban's North Beach waterfront. Dave Letterman (sic) has a photo of the hotel, and Google has an aerial view. Located on the beachfront at Somtseu Road. Site open. Admiralty D6461.5; NGA 31975.
* Anglo-American Building
1986. Active (privately maintained); focal plane 144 m (472 ft); white flash every 7 s. Light mounted on a tall mast atop a 26-story glass and steel office building on the Durban waterfront. Trabas has a photo of the light tower by Capt. Peter Mosselberger, and Google has a good satellite view. The building is now called 88 on Field; the light lists call it the Anglo-American Building after its original owner, Anglo-American Properties Services. Located at 88 Field Street, Durban. Site open. Admiralty D6461; NGA 31974.
[Durban South Breakwater (3?)]
2009 (station established 1895). Active; focal plane 13 m (43 ft); two white flashes every 5 s. 8 m (26 ft) steel post, painted red. Trabas has Douglas Cameron's photo, and Google has a satellite view. This light replaced a 10 m (33 ft) square skeletal tower with gallery centered on a round 1-story concrete equipment room; the older light is seen in a 2008 photo. The original light was listed as a "purple tower." Located at the end of the south breakwater at the mouth of the Umgeni River. Accessible only by boat. Site and tower closed. ARLHS SAF-061; Admiralty D6464; NGA 31978.
* Durban Harbor Control (Precision Entry Light)
2006(?). Active; focal plane 44 m (144 ft); continuous light, white, red or green depending on direction. 41 m (135 ft) round harbor control building elevated on four robust concrete piles and carrying a large framework structure and a tall signal mast. Pieter Dekker has a photo of this remarkable structure, and Google has a street view and a satellite view. Located on a ridge above the harbor entrance. Site and tower closed, but the building can be seen from nearby. Admiralty D6473; NGA 31989.
Umhlanga Rocks Light
Umhlanga Rocks Light, Durban, May 2007
Flickr Creative Commons photo
by jossthorp
Durban Channel Range Front
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 21 m (69 ft); red light, 1 s on, 1 s off. Approx. 17 m (56 ft) square skeletal tower carrying a triangular slatted daymark pointed up. Daymark painted yellow. Trabas has Capt. Peter Mosselberger's distant photo, and Google has an indistinct satellite view. Located near the east end of the Durban docks. Site and tower closed. Admiralty D6472; NGA 31984.
Durban Channel Range Rear
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 43 m (141 ft); white light occulting once every 4 s. Approx. 17 m (56 ft) square skeletal tower carrying a large triangular slatted daymark pointed down. Daymark painted yellow. Trabas has Capt. Peter Mosselberger's photo, and Google has an indistinct satellite view. Located on a steep slope on the south edge of the dockyard. Site and tower closed. Admiralty D6472.1; NGA 31988.
Island View Channel Range Front
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 22 m (72 ft); white flash every 3 s. Approx. 20 m (66 ft) square skeletal tower, painted black and carrying a yellow triangular daymark, point up. Google has a distant street view, and Google has an indistinct satellite view. Located in an oil terminal in Durban harbor. Site and tower closed. Admiralty D6475; NGA 31992.
Island View Channel Range Rear
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 25 m (82 ft); red light occulting once every 4 s. Approx. 24 m (79 ft) square skeletal tower, painted black and carrying a yellow triangular daymark, point down. Google has a distant street view, and Google has an indistinct satellite view. Located 84 m (275 ft) southwest of the front light. Site and tower closed. Admiralty D6475.1; NGA 31996.
* Cooper (Coopers, Durban Bluff)
1953. Active; focal plane 133 m (436 ft); white flash every 10 s. 21 m (69 ft) round cylindrical concrete tower, painted red with a white horizontal band. A photo by Craig Nattrass is at right, Viljoen has a photo, Trabas has Brotherston's closeup, and Google has a street view and a satellite view. Named in honor of South Africa's longtime lighthouse engineer H.C. Cooper, this lighthouse is built on the Durban Bluff, a long seaside ridge on the south side of the city. It replaced the historic Durban Bluff lighthouse, built in 1867 and demolished in 1942. The modern lighthouse is about 5 km (3 mi) southwest of the original light station, in the 600 block of Marine Drive in Brighton Beach. It is easily accessible, but for some reason photos of it are quite scarce on the Internet. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS SAF-011; Admiralty D6458; NGA 32020.
Cooper Light
Cooper Light, Durban, March 2012
Panoramio photo
copyright Craig Nattrass
permission requested

Hibiscus Coast (Ugu District) Lighthouses
* Green Point (Greenpoint, Clansthal)
1905. Active; focal plane 85 m (279 ft); two white flashes every 15 s; a continuous red light is shown over the Aliwal Shoal to the east southeast. 21 m (69 ft) round cast iron tower with lantern and gallery, painted with red and white horizontal stripes; Fresnel lens in use. Viljoen has a closeup photo, Trabas has Brotherston's photo, Huelse has a historic postcard view, and Google has a satellite view and a distant street view from the coastal road. The Aliwal Shoal is one of the most notorious reefs of South Africa's Indian Ocean coast. In 1892 two cast iron towers were installed to warn of the shoal; one was at Scottburgh and the other on the north side of the Mahlongwana River just south of Umkomaas. These towers proved inadequate, so this taller lighthouse was built at a location between the two older towers. The Scottburgh Light was relocated to Port Shepstone (see below) and the Mahlongwana Light was reinstalled at Cape St. Lucia (see above). Note: there is another, better known Green Point Light in Cape Town (see Western South Africa). The lighthouse was restored in a major project in 2007; Blackburn has photos. Located on a bluff above the R102 coastal highway near Clansthal, a small settlement between Scottburgh and Umkomaas, about 60 km (37.5 mi) southwest of Durban. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS SAF-014; Admiralty D6454; NGA 32032.
* Ifafa (Ifafa Beach)
1980. Active; focal plane 35 m (115 ft); three white flashes every 30 s. 23 m (75 ft) triangular skeletal tower with gallery. The tower also carries a triangular slatted daymark. Trabas has Brotherston's photo, and Google has a street view and a satellite view. Located on a bluff at Ifafa Beach, a coastal resort about 100 km (60 mi) southwest of Durban. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS SAF-016; Admiralty D6452; NGA 32040.
**** Port Shepstone (2)
1892 (relocated here in 1906). Station established 1895. Active; focal plane 24 m (79 ft); white flash every 6 s. 11 m (36 ft) round cast iron tower with lantern and gallery, painted in a black and white checkerboard pattern; lantern painted white. A photo is at right, Denis Meyer has a nice photo, Viljoen has a closeup, Trabas has a great photo, a good 2007 photo is available, and Google has a street view and a satellite view. This lighthouse was relocated from Scottburgh, about 65 km (40 mi) to the north; it replaced a light on a mast. Salato has developed the station with a gift shop and tea room, and accommodations are planned for the future. The Hibiscus Coast Tourism Information Office is also part of the station. Located on a headland on the southern side of the mouth of the Mzimkulu River in Port Shepstone. Site open, tower open daily to guided tours (entry fee). ARLHS SAF-021; Admiralty D6450; NGA 32044.
Port Shepstone Light
Port Shepstone Light, April 2007
Wikimedia Creative Commons photo by Ossewa
*** North Sand Bluff (Port Edward) (2)
1999 (station established 1968). Active; focal plane 38 m (125 ft); two white flashes, separated by 3 s, every 10 s. 22 m (72 ft) round cylindrical concrete tower with lantern and gallery, painted white; lantern painted red. Two modern cottages provide overnight accommodations. Trabas has an excellent photo by station manager Dave Watson, Hugh Glen has a good 2008 photo, Viljoen has a photo, and Google has a street view and a satellite view. Salato has developed the station; in addition to the cottages there is a small maritime museum, a gift shop, a coffee shop, swimming pool, and playground. Located on a bluff among seaside cottages north of the Mtamvuna River in Port Edward, the southernmost point of KwaZulu Natal. Site open, tower open on weekdays to guided tours. Site manager: North Sand Bluff Lighthouse Complex. ARLHS SAF-019; Admiralty D6448; NGA 32048.

Eastern Cape Lighthouses

Wild Coast (O.R. Tambo District) Lighthouses
South Sand Bluff (2)
2006 (station established 1931). Active; focal plane 75 m (246 ft); white flash every 10 s. 10 m (33 ft) round cylindrical white concrete tower with gallery, adjacent to a 1-story brick equipment building. Trabas has Brotherston's photo, and Google has a satellite view. This lighthouse replaced a skeletal tower, and Viljoen has a photo showing both towers. Located in a remote area not far south of the KwaZulu Natal border. Probably accessible by 4WD. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS SAF-059; Admiralty D6446; NGA 32052.
* Cape Hermes
1904. Active; focal plane 55 m (180 ft); white flash every 3 s. 13 m (43 ft) octagonal stone tower with lantern and gallery, painted black with white trim; lantern and gallery painted white. 1-story keeper's house and other station buildings. Baillie-Cooper's site has several photos, Trabas has Brotherston's closeup, Charmaine Blackburn has a 2008 photo, there's a photo of the view from the lighthouse, Huelse has a historic postcard view, and Google has a satellite view. This appears to be a staffed light station. This lighthouse and the next two are the only major lights on South Africa's Wild Coast, a rugged coastline between East London and the KwaZulu Natal border. Located on a headland just south of Port St. John's. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS SAF-035; Admiralty D6442; NGA 32056.
M'bashee (M'bashe) Point (2)
Date unknown (station established 1892). Active; focal plane 46 m (151 ft); three white flashes every 38 s (in an unusual pattern, the flashes are separated by 5 s, 16 s, and 16 s). 14 m (46 ft) square skeletal tower with lantern and gallery. Lighthouse painted white, lantern dome red. Viljoen has another photo, an article has the history of the station, and Google has a satellite view. This is a staffed station; the keeper's houses are 250 m (820 ft) to the north. Viljoen was shown the site of the original lighthouse, but we don't know anything about its appearance. It was demolished in 1944. Located in a remote area on the east side of the mouth of the M'Bashee River. Accessible by 4WD over a gravel (or mud) road about 60 km (38 mi) long. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS SAF-053; Admiralty D6438; NGA 32060.
* Cape Morgan
1964. Active; focal plane 60 m (197 ft); two white flashes every 10 s. 12 m (39 ft) square skeletal tower with lantern and gallery. The tower is unpainted metal; lantern painted red. Sue Martin's photo is at right, and Google has a satellite view. Located on a promontory about 5 km (3 mi) east of Morgan's Bay. Accessible by a paved road. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS SAF-037; Admiralty D6434; NGA 32064.
Cape Morgan Lighthouse
Cape Morgan Light, Morgan's Bay
photo copyright Sue Martin, courtesy of Josh Whyte
used by permission

East London (Amatole District) Lighthouses
* Nahoon Point
1956. Date unknown. Active; focal plane 68 m (223 ft); white flash every 3 s. Light mounted atop a 2-story concrete building. Building painted white with one red horizontal band. Bing has a satellite view. The station is inside the Nahoon Point Nature Reserve. Located on heights above a promontory about 5 km (3 mi) northeast of East London. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS SAF-054; Admiralty D6432; NGA 32068.
East London East Breakwater (2?)
Date unknown (station established 1902). Active; focal plane 10 m (33 ft); quick-flashing green light. 8 m (26 ft) round strongly conical white concrete tower. A distant view is available, Shailen Drakamal has a 2011 view of the lighthouse being repainted, and Google has a satellite view. A "white iron column" was listed originally for the north side of the harbor entrance. Located at the end of the east (really north) breakwater of East London. Site status unknown. Admiralty D6426; NGA 32072.
East London South Breakwater
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 16 m (52 ft); red flash every 2 s. Approx. 13 m (43 ft) round strongly conical white concrete tower mounted on a large square white concrete base. Kirsty Harebottle has a hazy photo, there's a distant view from across the harbor and Google has a satellite view. Located at the end of the main breakwater of East London. Site status unknown. Admiralty D6424; NGA 32076.
Castle Point Range Rear
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 60 m (197 ft); white light occulting once every 3 s. 47 m (154 ft) square pyramidal skeletal tower, painted with red and white horizontal bands and a carrying a white triangular daymark, point down. Google has a satellite view. Located near the base of the south breakwater. Site and tower closed. Admiralty D6428.1; NGA 32088.
*** Hood Point (East London)
1895. Active; focal plane 55 m (180 ft); four white flashes, separated by 4.2 s, every 40 s. 14 m (46 ft) round cylindrical brick tower with lantern and gallery, painted white; lantern dome painted red. 1-story keeper's house and other buildings. Rod Bally's photo is at right, Viljoen has a closeup photo, Danie van der Merwe has a photo, Sue Hoppe has a closeup, Trabas has Brotherston's closeup, and Google has a satellite view and a distant street view. Huelse as a historic postcard view in which the tower is painted in a black-and-white checkerboard pattern. This is the landfall light for the port of East London. Salato has partially developed the site with a visitor center and gift shop, plus a facility for meetings and weddings. Located on a headland about 5 km (3 mi) south of downtown East London. Site open; visitor center and tower open daily October through April and on weekdays the rest of the year. ARLHS SAF-050; Admiralty D6420; NGA 32092.

Eastern Cacadu District Lighthouses
**** Great Fish Point (Great Fish River)
1898. Active; focal plane 85 m (279 ft); white flash every 10 s. 9 m (30 ft) octagonal cylindrical concrete tower with lantern and gallery. the vertical faces of the tower are painted alternately black and white; lantern painted white with a red dome. Original 2nd order clamshell Fresnel lens. Trabas has Brotherston's closeup, Viljoen has a closeup photo, Leonora Parker has a 2007 photo, Sue Hoppe has a closeup, and Google has a satellite view. The lighthouse was built to warn ships away from a series of dangerous reefs offshore. Salato has developed the site with a visitor center and gift shop, two cottages for overnight accommodations, a swimming pool, and a meeting hall popular for weddings. Located on a headland at the mouth of the Great Fish River, off the R72 highway 25 km (15 mi) northeast of Port Alfred. Site open, tower open to guided tours daily October through April and on weekdays the rest of the year. ARLHS SAF-046; Admiralty D6416; NGA 32096.
Bird Islands
1852. Active; focal plane 29 m (95 ft); two white flashes every 20 s. 26 m (85 ft) square cylindrical stone tower with lantern and gallery, rising from the center of a 1-story keeper's house. Lighthouse painted red with a white horizontal band at the top of the tower and a large white cross on the front face. Trabas has an excellent calendar photo, Huelse has a historic postcard view, and Google has a satellite view. The Bird Islands were declared a marine protected area in 2004, and there is a proposal to include them in a Greater Addo National Park, an expansion of the existing Addo Elephant National Park. Located on the largest of four small islands in Algoa Bay 62 km (39 mi) east of Port Elizabeth. Accessible only by boat; the island is closed to visitors now but may be opened to guided ecotours in the future. Site and tower closed. ARLHS SAF-002; Admiralty D6412; NGA 112-32104.
Hood Point Light
Hood Point Light, East London, November 2006
Panoramio photo copyright Rod Bally; permission requested

Port Elizabeth (Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality) Lighthouses
* Deal
1973 (?). Active; focal plane 27 m (89 ft); white flash every 10 s. 22 m (72 ft) triangular skeletal tower with lantern and gallery. Lantern painted red. Viljoen has another photo, Trabas has Brotherston's closeup, and Google has a street view and a satellite view. Easier to see than to visit, this lighthouse stands on the shore next to the southbound exit ramp from the N2 expressway at the Burman Road interchange on the north side of Port Elizabeth. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS SAF-043; Admiralty D6400; NGA 32108.
* Port Elizabeth Range Front
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 36 m (118 ft); quick-flashing red light. 31 m (102 ft) square pyramidal skeletal tower, painted with red and white horizontal bands. Google has a street view and an excellent aerial view. The rear light is on a 5 m (17 ft) post. Located on the waterfront near the Albany Street interchange on the M4 expressway. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS SAF-071; Admiralty D6403; NGA 32124.
Port Elizabeth Breakwater
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 16 m (52 ft); two very quick red flashes every 6 s. Approx. 14 m (46 ft) round cylindrical white concrete tower with gallery, attached to a small equipment cabinet. No closeup photo available. Graham Hobbs has a distant view along the breakwater, a distant view from the sea is available, and Google has an excellent aerial view. The lighthouse was being repainted in a 2008 aerial photo. Located at the end of the main breakwater of Port Elizabeth. Site probably closed. ARLHS SAF-056; Admiralty D6404; NGA 32116.
Port Elizabeth Leading
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 37 m (121 ft); continuous or quick-flashing light, white, red or green depending on direction. 31 m (102 ft) square cylindrical skeletal tower with a large square platform. No photo available, but Google has an aerial view. This directional light guides vessels into the harbor. Located on a pier near the base of the breakwater. Site and tower closed. Admiralty D6405; NGA 32120.
*** Port Elizabeth (The Hill, Donkin Reserve)
1861 (rebuilt in 1930). Inactive since 1973. 26 m (86 ft) octagonal tower with lantern, gallery, and four ribs, rising from a 1-story keeper's house. Lighthouse painted white, lantern dome red. Near the lighthouse is a sandstone pyramid built as a memorial to the wife of Sir Rufane Donkin, the city's founder; the city is named for her. A photo by Andrew Higgs is at the top of this page, Wikimedia has a 2012 photo, Nick Boalch has a photo, a good photo and a 2008 photo are available, the Baillie-Cooper site has excellent photos, Viljoen has a photo, and Google has a street view and an aerial view. The original lighthouse had a height of 17 m (55 ft); Klaus Huelse has a postcard showing the tower's early appearance. In or about 1930 the lighthouse was raised to its present height and substantially rebuilt; the buttresses were added at that time, giving the tower an Art Deco design. Huelse also has a postcard view from shortly after this renovation. Built high on a hill behind the harbor, the light was replaced in 1973 by the Deal Light (see above). The keeper's house now houses the city's tourist information center. A September 2009 photo shows the lighthouse being repainted. Located in the Donkin Reserve, a historic park near the center of Port Elizabeth. Site open, tower open for climbing. Site manager: Nelson Mandela Metropole. ARLHS SAF-013.
*** Cape Recife
1851. Active; focal plane 28 m (92 ft); continuous white light, intensified by three long (2.8 s) white flashes, separated by 27 s, every 117 s; a red sector is shown over the very dangerous Thunderbolt Reef to the south southeast. 24 m (79 ft) octagonal brick tower with lantern and gallery, attached to 1-story keeper's house. 1st order Fresnel lens in use. Fog horn (Morse code "B," long blast followed by three short blasts, every 30 s) in 3-story square cylindrical fog signal tower attached to the other end of the keeper's house. Two additional 2-story keeper's houses. Lighthouse painted with black and white horizontal bands; lantern dome painted red. Raz Barnea's photo is at right, Trabas has an excellent calendar photo, a closeup of the lantern is available, Huelse has a historic postcard view, and Google has a satellite view. South Africa's third oldest lighthouse guards one of the most dangerous points along the South African coast at the southern entrance to Nelson Mandela Bay (Algoa Bay). The light station is adjacent to the Cape Recife Nature Reserve and is surrounded by a very broad sandy beach. Salato offers tours of the lighthouse and operates a gift shop. Located off Marine Drive about 20 km (12 mi) southeast of Port Elizabeth. Site open, tower open to guided tours Monday through Friday. ARLHS SAF-009; Admiralty D6390; NGA 32144.
Cape Recife Light
Cape Recife Light, Port Elizabeth, January 2005
Flickr Creative Commons photo by Raz Barnea

Western Cacadu District Lighthouse
*** Cape St. Francis (Seal Point)
1878 (Joseph Flack and W.B. Hays). Active; focal plane 36 m (118 ft); white flash every 5 s. 28 m (92 ft) brick tower with lantern and gallery, rising from a 1-story keeper's house; original 2nd order Fresnel lens in use. Entire lighthouse painted white. Fog horn (Morse code "C," short-long-short-long, every 30 s). A photo is at right, Hannes Steyn has a good photo, Viljoen has a photo, Trabas has Brotherston's closeup, Wikimedia has photos, Clau├čen has a page for the lighthouse, and Google has a street view and a good satellite view. South Africa's tallest masonry lighthouse still has one resident keeper. Salato is developing the site; a gift shop and tea room are open, and overnight accommodations are planned. A marine and land wildlife rescue center operated by Ajubatus Marine and Wildlife Rescue is also located at the light station. Located at the end of the R330 highway about 30 km (20 mi) south of Humansdorp. Site open, tower open for guided tours Monday through Friday. Site manager: Salato and Ajubatus Marine and Wildlife Rescue. ARLHS SAF-039; Admiralty D6386; NGA 32148.

Information available on lost lighthouses:

  • Durban Bluff (Port Natal, Natal Bluff) (1867-1942). Huelse has a postcard view of the original Bluff lighthouse, built in 1867 at the north end of the bluff above the harbor entrance. The lighthouse was encased in concrete in 1932, converting it into a buttressed tower similar to the Hill lighthouse at Port Elizabeth. Sadly, the lighthouse was demolished in 1942 because it stood in the line of fire of coastal defense artillery. An additional postcard view is available. ARLHS SAF-070.

Notable faux lighthouses:

  •  
Seal Point Light
Cape St. Francis (Seal Point) Light, Humansdorp, July 2006
Wikimedia Creative Commons photo by NJR ZA

Adjoining pages: North: Mozambique | West: Western South Africa

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Posted June 2, 2005. Checked and revised October 5, 2014. Lighthouses: 37. Site copyright 2014 Russ Rowlett and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.