Things To Do in Green PointGreen Point Lighthouse
Where? Green Point Lighthouse, Beachfront, Border of Mouille Point and Green Point, Atlantic Seaboard, Cape Town
When? Daylight hours.
How much? Free
Green Point Lighthouse is the square, candy red and white striped beacon that is often erroneously called Mouille Point Lighthouse because of where it stands on the edge of Mouille Point. It is said to be the very first 'solid' lighthouse on the South African coast and was first lit in 1824.
The bright colours were so that the lighhouse was distinguishable from the surrounding cottages in 1950 when the tower was first painted in contrasting colours. Back then the lantern and dome were yellow and the top of the tower incorporated two horizontal black bands separated by a broad yellow band. In 1956 the lighthouse was painted the colours it blazons today, give or take a yellow dome.
Whilst the original lights have been replaced by a single revolving beam, the tower is still very much in its original form, built by the German, Herman Schutte, who emigrated to the Cape in 1789 and settled in Cape Town.
The lighthouse project was initiated by Sir Rufane Shawe Donkin, Acting Governor of the Cape between 1820 and 1821. History seems to suggest that this was done without first seeking the consent of the British government, usually the final authority in such building programmes.
The lighthouse, which today is used as the Head Office of the Lighthouse Services (they own and maintain 45 lighthouses on the South African coastline), also used to sound a foghorn, installed in 1925 that sounded a 3 second blast every 30 seconds that one could apparently hear up to a kilometre away from the lighthouse.
This was replaced by an electrical version on the sea wall in 1986, a few metres north of the lighthouse that apparently still sounds, but because of considerable residential development produces only a marginal noise.