Cape Agulhas Lighthouse

Situated on the most southerly point of the continent of Africa is the Cape Aghulhas Lighthouse.

Candlepower 7 500 000 C.D.
Character of Light One flash every 5 seconds
Installation Date 01 March 1849
Range 30 sea miles
Structure 27 metre white round tower with red bands
Type of Light Revolving electric
Other features Equipped with radio beacon. The original tower erected in 1849 is still in use
and it is now a national monument.  Mains supply with one standby diesel/alternator set.

The lighthouse was named by the Portuguese as the ‘Cape of Needle’ referring to the compass needle which always behaved strangely when ships rounded the cape. Its light which beams out to sea for 30 nautical miles lights up the coast which is fringed with dangerous reefs, notorious for having wrecked more ships than any other part of the South African shoreline.


  • The lighthouse was designed by Lt Col C. C. Mitchell, Surveyor General of the Cape Colonial Government and was built by Mr William Martin at a cost of R31 742.
  • On the evening of 01 March 1849 the light first beamed over the coast with the original optic being a 1st order catadioptric lens producing a fixed 4 500 candle white light.
  • In 1915 this mechanism was replaced by a 1st order 4 panel revolving optic producing a single white flash of 470 000 candlepower every 4 seconds.
  • On 01 June 1936 the light was electrified with a 4 kW incandescent lamp producing a light beam with an intensity of 12 000 000 candelas.
  • On 10 February 1939 a radio beacon, code signal ZUY, was installed.
  • On 30 July 1939 gale force winds blew the radio beacon tower over and it was replaced by a single stay mast.
  • In 1962 the limestone from which is was constructed had seriously decoposed and the tower was declared unsafe.
  • In February 1968 a new lighthouse comprising a 12 meter aluminium and a 300 mm focal length revolving optic employing a 1,5 kW electric lamp was commissioned. This light provided a 1 069 000 candela white flash every 5 seconds which had a 26 nautical mile range.
  • On 20 December 1968 two lighkeepers were withdrawn and what was orignally a three-man station, now only has a Senior Lightkeeper.
  • On 03 February 1987 mains power was supplied and the power plant was reduced to one standby diesel/alternator set.
  • On 25 March 1988, after being restored, the old lighthouse which had been declared a national monument, was recommissioned by the Deputy Minister of Transport, Mr Myburgh Streiher. It also houses a museum. The tower was decommissioned and removed to replace the steel tower of Quoin Point Lighthouse and the optic and lantern house was installed at Groenriviermond Lighthouse.

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