Things To Do in Cape PointCape Point Lighthouse
Where? Cape Point Nature Reserve, Cape Town
When? October to March from 06h00 to 18h00; September to April from 07h00 to 17h00.
How? Call +27 (0)21 780-9010 or +27 (0)21 780-9011
How much? Falls into price group R1 to R100 per person. Confirm with the provider.
'Any Person caught rolling down the cliff will be prosecuted by order Lighthouse Engineer'. - So read the original sign nailed to the wooden boundary gate of the Cape Point lighthouse. A hardly hospitable hand-painted notice that never quite challenged the 'Welcome' doormat in warmth or popularity.
Of course had one actually rolled down the Cape Point cliff face in the early twentieth century one would imagine a cup of tea and the offering of some level of first-aid would be in order by the lighthouse management, even if this priority was shortly followed by justified legal action.
Even novice pharoligists (also endearingly referred to as lighthouse nuts) would have had to ponder the effectiveness of the science of pharology at this Cape Point location taking into account that from a certain angle ships at sea could not see the warning light of this Old Cape Point Lighthouse. Of course this particular nautical angle invisible to warning was in range of much danger.
The Old Cape Point Lighthouse was put to rest in peace when the Portuguese liner, the Lusitania, crashed under its guidance to rest in many pieces on the ocean floor. Thus the Old Cape Point Lighthouse was replaced with the new, improved and ocean fresh beacon of light imaginatively named the New Cape Point Lighthouse. No longer fronting an unfriendly sign, but regretfully still no tea or basic nursing facilities volunteered in the event of an illegal tumble.
Standing on the highest section of the peak the original lighthouse stands 87 meters above its replacement. Now used as an outlook point and central monitoring point for all South African Lighthouses. This iron tower was built in 1857 and shone from its perch on Cape Maclear from 1860 until 1919 when it passed its candle onto the new lighthouse. The original lighthouse comprised of sixteen metallic reflectors which flashed a white light (2000 candle power) lasting twelve seconds every minute. In contrast the new Cape Point Lighthouse is the most powerful light on the South African coastline visible from a distance of thirty four nautical sea miles it emits a revolving light power of 10 000 000 Candelas.
The height of the focal plane is 87 metres above the high water mark with a group flashing light character (3 flashes every 30 seconds). This masonry tower (nine square meters) took six years to build along the steepest sea cliffs of the Cape of Storms. Stand at the site of history and wave forward to the present protector down below.