Lighthouses have been a prominent feature along South Africa’s coastline for many years, with the first recorded lighthouse being built in 1673. These beacons of light have played an important role in guiding ships and preventing maritime accidents, particularly during the days before electronic navigation aids. Today, there are around 30 lighthouses still standing in South Africa, with 13 of these having been declared National Heritage Sites.
The most famous lighthouse in South Africa is probably the one located at Cape Point, which was built in 1859 and stands at a height of 61 metres (200 feet). This striking structure is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the country, offering stunning views over False Bay and the surrounding area. Other notable lighthouses include those at Danger Point (built in 1895), Stony Point (1896) and Robben Island (1961).
One interesting fact about lighthouses in South Africa is that they were often used as a form of punishment for wayward prisoners. For example, those incarcerated on Robben Island would often be made to work on maintaining the island’s lighthouse – a task that was both physically demanding and mentally gruelling.
If you’re ever visiting any of South Africa’s coastal towns or cities, make sure to seek out these fascinating pieces of history – you won’t be disappointed!