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Dassen Island:

South African Lighthouse No. 9


Meet the most isolated, yet manned, lighthouse in South Africa


Hoberman Photo

This lighthouse sits in quiet solitude off the coast of Yzerfontein, on Dassen* Island - the peak of an underwater mountain so notorious for its shipwrecks that rabbits and tortoises were released on it to ensure that survivors won't starve to death before they could be rescued. Today, the rabbits tend to overrun the island if not carefully controlled.

It was commissioned on 15 April 1893, and was closed to the public until 2002. The only human soul living there (I couldn't find anything noted regarding a family staying with him), is the lighthouse keeper. There are accommodations for him, but he has to wait on helicopters to bring him provisions, or to airlift him out for a holiday once in a while.

Such remoteness might breed loneliness, I guess, but wouldn't it be wonderful to breathe in the silence and natural air every day? Away from the madness we call everyday city life...

*Named after the many 'dassies' (rock hyraxes) living there.

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