The Dias Cross

Landmarks / Memorials in or near Cannon Rocks, Sunshine Coast in the Eastern Cape, South Africa.

Eastern Cape Tourist AttractionsThe Dias Cross

Where? The Dias Cross, Boknes, Alexandria, Sunshine Coast

Overnight? Stay in Cannon Rocks, in Eastern Cape

There is a Dias Cross on the headland known as Kwaaihoek, close to the Boknes lagoon on the Sunshine Coast. It is one of three crosses erected by the Portuguese explorer on his sea journey to Africa.

In 1487 Bartholomew Dias was his return journey to the African coast. It was his destiny to blow off course and sail around the southernmost tip of Africa to land in Mossel Bay, opening a sea route between Europe and Asia.

He then ventured further east turning back, historians believe, when he reached the mouth of the Great Fish River in the Eastern Cape. On the way back he was to place three stone crosses on the southern African coastline – the first of these at Kwaaihoek, on the 12 March 1488 (the other two are at Cape Point and Namibia).

Today the cross is a provincial heritage site. But the cross you will see is not the original. That was held in place by only a few boulders and was ultimately buried under sand and broken by storms, so that it disappeared leaving no obvious trace of its existence.

If it weren't for the work of a Professor Axelson, who spent two years exploring Lisbon archives and libraries in search of anything relating to the fifteenth century Portuguese explorers, the remains of this particular limestone cross would have remained in obscurity.

After systematic searching revealed one a bit of the cross a metre beneath the surface of the sand, and another large chunk was found in a pool over the edge of the cliff where it must have fallen, the work that eventually unearthed the entire cross, albeit in bits, would never have happened. Its reconstruction is today at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg.

The cross at Kwaaihoek, known by Dias as a padrão (large stone cross inscribed with Portugal's coast of arms) was erected as a sign that he had been there; as proof of his claims of discovery.

To reach it is a 3 km walk across the beach from Boknes lagoon, or a 6 km beach walk from Bushman's River mouth (provided the tide is out).

Why not overnight? Find Accommodation in Sunshine Coast

Dolphin Dance Guest House

Guest House in Bluewater Bay

Dolphin Dance Guest House

Dolphin Dance Guest House offers bed and breakfast accommodation in Bluewater Bay. The guesthouse has a lovely veranda ... more

Madiba Bay Guesthouse

Guest House in South End

Madiba Bay Guesthouse

Madiba Bay Guesthouse is situated in the historic suburb of South End, Port Elizabeth. It is ideal for corporate ... more

African Sands Guesthouse

Bed & Breakfast / Self Catering in Humewood

African Sands Guesthouse

African Sands Bed and Breakfast offers upmarket B&B accommodation in Humewood, Port Elizabeth, and the option of self ... more

Feedback?

Please let us know if anything on this page is outdated or contains inaccuracies. Click here to send us feedback if this is your attraction.

©Unauthorised use of the
photos is strictly prohibited.

SA-Venues.com has been assisting travellers with their South Africa travel plans since 1999, and is the largest online travel guide for South Africa available in both English and German.

SA-Venues.com © 1999-2017. All Rights Reserved. Find and book hotels and accommodation in South Africa. Sitemap