Things To Do in Plettenberg BayVisit the Cape Seal Lighthouse
Where? Robberg Nature Reserve, Plettenberg Bay, Garden Route
When? Open daily from 07h00 to 17h00
How? Call +27 (0)44 533-2125 / 85
How much? Price on request
Built in 1950, Cape Seal lighthouse lies within the Robberg Nature and Marine Reserve on the seaward tip of what is known as Cape Seal. It forms the southern arm of Plettenberg Bay, halfway between Mossel Bay and Cape St Francis, on a coastline that is littered with shipwrecks.
Cape Seal lighthouse lies 146 metres above the sea, regarded as the highest light on the South African coast, but nonetheless nothing spectacular to look at. In fact, the lighthouse can be a bit of a disappointment to those expecting a concrete column of some stature. Instead it is a rather unattractive lattice tower. Admittedly once there, for the lighthouse is accessible only along a five kilometre foot path, the views from the top are pretty spectacular, and because the lighthouse is not obviously accessible, the sights and sounds of seals and the sea well worth the effort of getting there.
If it is difficult to reach the lighthouse today then think of the implications for construction when it was finally built in 1950. This stretch of coastline is particularly dangerous – it is rugged and precipitous. But it took until 1926 before any plans for erecting a light somewhere on the coast between Cape St Francis and Cape St Blaize came into being. Cape Seal was chosen in 1937 but WWII slowed the process.
In 1986 the light was adapted to run on solar power and the character of the light was changed to two white flashes every thirty seconds. It is serviced today by helicopter, which is just as well, given that hikers passing this remote site cannot contemplate how difficult it must have been to drag all the cement, bricks and other material to the Robberg.