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Umhlanga Rocks Lighthouse

South African Lighthouse No. 23

The Replacement

The Umhlanga* Lighthouse was built in 1954 to replace the 1869 Bluff Lighthouse, which had to be abandoned due to its rapid deterioration.

Photo by Dennis Guichard

In addition to the standard automated light, rotating to warn off seafarers, it also has a fixed red light to help ships monitor their position - if the light can be seen, it means their anchors probably dragged and that they've come too close to the shore.

There has never been a lighthouse keeper here. The Oyster Box Hotel, also the first beach cottage in the area, serves as the official warden. Its staff monitor the lighthouse's controls (in the hotel office) and then send regular status reports to Transnet Port Authority's Lighthouse Service.

*Zulu for 'Place of Reeds'

As I wrap up this, the last of the South African Lighthouse posts, I'm painfully aware of the fact that I have never been lucky enough to visit one in real life (we've always resided inland, and rarely get to go to the sea). Have you ever explored a lighthouse? What's it like?


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