Things To Do in Hondeklip BayHondeklipbaai Lighthouse
Where? Hondeklipbaai, Namakwa Region, Northern Cape
When? Viewing best during daylight hours.
How much? Price on request
Described by some as a 'rickety lighthouse on stilts', Hondeklipbaai lighthouse, like quite a few of the more remote lighthouses in South Africa, does not look quite like a lighthouse should look. One expects a concrete tower, not an eight-metre high steel lattice tower.
But then the point of a lighthouse is not so much that it be aesthetically pleasing (although for many this is one of the reasons they visit) but that it fulfill its major function - to send a lit warning and a fog signal to any ships passing south of Port Nolloth on the West Coast that there is imminent danger. The rickety lighthouse that nonetheless stood on the small inlet that is Hondeklipbaai since 1956, is no longer there. In 2006 an interim post light replaced it, driven by solar until the new structure arrives. The white tower due to house the new light is similar to that used at Port Durnford and South Sand Bluff lighthouses, believed to derive its form from army watch towers.
Initially, when the lighthouse came into being, ships left the bay carrying copper from the O'kiep mines, for export around the world. A lighthouse continued being necessary when this wave of activity was followed by the opening of a crayfish cannery in the fishing village of Hondeklipbaai.
Back in the late 1970s the fog signal was the responsibility of factory staff, who would have to use it to assist any of their vessels when at sea – a rather unreliable and casual approach to safety.
Today the village exists as a resort community, a place far enough from the madding crowd, an attraction to those who want to get away from it all.