Things To Do in SaldanhaSouth Head Lighthouse
Where? Saldanha Bay, Cape West Coast, Western Cape
How much? Price on request
By the very nature of its name, South Head lighthouse implies that it is the partner of a North Head lighthouse, which it is. Situated in the Langebaan National Park on the promient headland near the southern entrance of Saldanha Bay is today's concrete tower lighthouse, the top half painted a deep red, leaving the bottom white.
Like the North Head lighthouse, the South Head also began as a twenty three metre aluminium lattice tower, upon which rested a Stone-Chance lantern with a lamp that exhibited four white flashes every thirty seconds. Today's lighthouse is in a spot called Donkergat, controlled by the National Defence Force, and hence the lighthouse stands behind locked gates. It rather obviously is not open to the public.
The North and South Heads stand at either edge of the entrance to Saldanha, necessary to warn boats and ships of the treacherous rocks here. The sand floor of the ocean bears testament to the fact, where a number of ships lie. The twins, as they are also known because originally they looked exactly the same, began operating in December 1969.
Today the lighthouses are similar only in shape. They are painted in completely different colours – probably wise as it makes a keen distinction between north and south. North Head is painted in black and white diagonals in contrast to the white and red of South Head.
They serve an important function other than to guide ships between the two rocky promontories that form the edges of the bay. The straight imaginary line connecting the two lighthouses acts as an 'arrival' line. Once a ship has crossed this, it has 'arrived' in the bay.