The Umhlanga Lighthouse’s red and white structure shows off beautifully against the blue of the sea and sky. It is one of the most recognisable landmarks on the KwaZulu-Natal coast.
It was completed in 1954 to replace the Bluff lighthouse. It is fully automated and its light has a range of 24 sea miles. When the lighthouse’s fixed red light can be seen by sailors, it means that their ship is too close to shore. There are 95 steps up to the top of the lighthouse.
The lighthouse has never had a keeper, the official caretaker is the Oyster Box Hotel and the controls are in the hotel from where it sends regular reports to Transnet’s Lighthouse Services. The Oyster Box was built in 1869 and was the first beach cottage in the area.
A good book is a lighthouse, a wise man is a lighthouse; conscience is a lighthouse; compassion is a ighthouse; science is a lighthouse!
They all show us the true path! Keep them in your life to remain safe ………….
Mehmet Murat Ildan
The Umhlanga Rocks Lighthouse..
The original Bluff Lighthouse, constructed in 1867, was the first lighthouse built on the East Coast of Africa. It was demolished in 1941 making way for the erection of two lighthouses to serve the area. Cooper Lighthouse was erected at Brighton Beach and Umhlanga Rocks Lighthouse at Umhlanga. Cooper Lighthouse was ready for use in 1953.
Cooper Lighthouse flashes its light every 10 seconds and has a range of over 40 kms. Fortunately there is shielding on the inland side of the light, so the neighbours are able to get a good night’s sleep.
Cooper Lighthouse and Umhlanga Rocks Lighthouse are almost identical except for the colour of the towers and their distinctive lights.
The height of a lighthouse is determined by the curvature of the earth – taller lighthouses are built on low lying land and shorter lighthouses on cliffs. Cooper Lighthouse is 26 metres tall.
The lighthouse was named after Harry Claude Cooper, lighthouse engineer, who designed and built most of the KZN lighthouses. It is unusual to name a lighthouse after a person as they are generally named after geographical points.
“Inside my empty bottle I was constructing a lighthouse
while all the others were making ships.”
Green Point Lighthouse, R102, Clansthal, South Coast, KwaZulu-Natal
Green Point Lighthouse at Clansthal is situated between Scottburgh and Umkomaas. It is made of cast iron and is painted in red and white striped bands.
The lighthouse was built in 1905 and is a National Monument. In 1961 it was fully automated which means there is no need for a lighthouse keeper.
Green Point Lighthouse warns ships of the Aliwal Shoal which is 5 kms away. The Shoal was named after the the ship Aliwal which sunk in the area.
“Lighthouses don’t fire cannons to call attention to their shining – they just shine.”
Dwight L. Moody
Green Point Lighthouse at Clansthal
Ifafa Lighthouse, situated at Ifafa on the Lower South Coast of KwaZulu-Natal.
The first time I heard of the Ifafa Lighthouse was during a recent internet search for the Green Point Lighthouse at Clansthal.
Ifafa Lighthouse is one of three lighthouses which warn ships of the Aliwal Shoal which is about 5 kms off the coast of KwaZulu-Natal. The other lighthouses are Port Shepstone Lighthouse and Green Point Lighthouse.
Ifafa Lighthouse was constructed in 1980 and is a triangular skeletal tower 23 metres high and has a radio beacon.
The structure is not as picturesque as conventional lighthouses but it serves its purpose and helps keep ships safe from the dangers of the night.
Port Edward Lighthouse situated at 130 Milford Road, Port Edward on the Lower South Coast of KwaZulu-Natal
We visited the Port Edward Lighthouse on a beautiful summer’s day. It’s not on the beach, as I had imagined, but is built amongst the houses in a residential area. It is fully operational so my first thought was for the neighbours. I wondered how they slept at night as the lighthouse has two beams, is powered by half a million candlewatts and is visible for 40 kms!
It’s official name is “North Sand Bluff Lighthouse”. Here are some interesting facts:
- It is 24 metres tall;
- Was originally built in 1968;
- And rebuilt in 1999;
- It is about 5 storeys high;
- And has a spiral staircase;
- The lighthouse is owned and operated by the Transnet National Port Authority.
“Sometimes amidst all of the wars,
all you need is to become the lighthouse,
not the sword”
Port Shepstone Lighthouse
Although I lived in Port Shepstone for a long time, I never took much notice of the lighthouse. I rectified this on a recent trip down to the South Coast when we stopped off to take some photographs of this attractive building.
The lighthouse is situated near the mouth of the Umzimkulu River and is about 8 metres high. It is made of cast iron and was shipped from the UK to South Africa in the 1890’s. On its arrival on South African shores, it was erected at Scottburgh where it was used to indicate part of the reef of the Aliwal Shoal. It was moved from Scottburgh to Port Shepstone in about 1906 where it has stood for over a century.
The lighthouse is a National Monument and is well maintained. It is painted in black and white checkerboard style which looks beautiful and distinctive. The lighthouse’s revolving electrical light flashes once in every 6 seconds and it has a light range of 26 sea miles.
Apart from it being essential to the safety of seagoing vessels, it is also a perfect landmark which says “Welcome to Port Shepstone”.
Black and White, checkerboard style