Port Elizabeth

About Donkin Lighthouse

If you’ve ever booked overnight accommodation in Port Elizabeth, you’ll probably understand why it’s called the 1) Friendly City and 2) Windy City. But, you will also get the sense of its rich and varied history and character; the things that set it apart as a unique (if a little quirky) destination. One of the more intriguing peeks into its essence and background is The Donkin and its lighthouse.

This lighthouse, as well as the stone pyramid below it, date back to around 1861. While the lighthouse is not particularly high (55 feet or 16.8 metres from the base to the vane), the whole of The Donkin is perched on a hill, just a few hundred metres from the ocean waters in the harbour, as the crow flies. So, from the top of the lighthouse, the views of the bustling city, harbour and sea are spectacular.

The Donkin was proclaimed to be a public open space by Sir Rufane Donkin, who founded the city of Port Elizabeth and named it after his late wife. There is even a beautiful message inscription on a plaque on the pyramid, from Sir Rufane Donkin to his deceased wife. It reads, “To the memory of one of the most perfect of human beings, who has given her name to the town below.”

The paved walkways on The Donkin are flanked by palm trees, the ground is blanketed in contemporary mosaic art, there are sculptures (including an extensive one that honours the late Nelson Mandela), and a number of benches scattered around the lighthouse.

The Donkin Lighthouse, pyramid and art pieces are all part of the much larger Donkin Heritage Trail. The best swimming beaches are only 10 or 15 minutes from The Donkin, as is the airport. The world-renowned Addo Elephant National Park is about an hour away.

The Lighthouse also houses the Tourist Information Office. Also see the Donkin Heritage Trail for additional information.

Need to Know

WhereDonkin Reserve, between City Hall and St Georges Park, Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape, South Africa

WhenBest during daylight hours.

How muchFree

OvernightStay nearby in St Georges Park, in Eastern Cape

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