Things To Do in PaternosterCape Columbine Lighthouse
Where? Approximately 5km from the town of Paternoster, Cape West Coast.
When? Daily from 10h00 to 15h00.
How? Call +27 (0)21 449-2400
How much? Price on request
As far as lighthouses go, Cape Columbine is young. Built only in 1936, it was the last manned lighthouse constructed, and it rests on a windswept coastline within the Columbine Nature Reserve, just five kilometres outside of the fishing village of Paternoster - so popular with Capetonians as a weekend retreat.
The spiral staircase within the lighthouse takes one high enough for incredible views out over the Britannia reef and the Atlantic. It so obviously belongs in this barren landscape that one wonders why it took so long for the construction of the lighthouse. Despite the acknowledgement of the need, it was passed over in favour of more pressing projects, like the lighthouse at Dassen Island and Pelican Point.
Cape Columbine stands on a massive outcrop of rock known as Castle Rock. The lighthouse is also somewhat different from the anticipated cylindrical design of most lighthouses. It is a slightly tapered square tower and the outer faces of the walls are recessed, forming buttresses on all four corners.
The lighthouse that is named after the barque Columbine, wrecked just north of here in 1829, is interestingly the first sighted by ships sailing the seas from South America and Europe. It is also the first to have light, fog signal and a radio beacon all installed as one unit. Even though other lighthouses have all three, they will have received theirs as individual units. The lighthouse is also one of very few to remain manned by lightkeepers.
Former lightkeepers' homes have been converted into guesthouse accommodation, supplying three cottages close to the lighthouse, and one of few places in South Africa where one can stay at a lighthouse. Columbine lighthouse is surrounded by the Columbine Nature Reserve. On the southern end, away from Paternoster, lies Tieties Bay. There are also a couple of campsites within the reserve.