Lighting up the way for 100 years

SOUTH AFRICA - Cape Town - 01 March 2019 - Slangkop Lighthouse in Kommetjie, photographed at sunset. The circular lighthouse is made of cast iron and is 33 meters in height. It is painted white to stand out against the green backdrop of the mountain. The focal plane of the light is 41 meters above high water so as to be visible below dense mist, flashing four times per 30 seconds. - Tracey Adams/African News Agency/ANA

The Slangkoppunt Lighthouse in Kommetjie celebrates its centenary this year.

It will be open to visitors free of charge on Monday July 1 and Tuesday July 2, in celebration of World Marine Aids to Navigation Day.

Visitors will be welcomed between 10am and 3pm on both days, to climb the tower and learn more about the rich history and continued importance of this lighthouse.

According to David Gordon, executive manager of Lighthouse and Navigational Systems, Transnet National Ports Authority, Slangkoppunt Lighthouse is the tallest cast-iron tower on the South African coast.

It was commissioned on March 4 1919 and is one of 45 active lighthouses operated and managed by Lighthouse and Navigational Systems, a business unit of Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA).

The lighthouse is protected under the National Heritage Resources Act 25 of 1999.

The lighthouse has a range of light for 30 nautical miles and its original cost was £14 358.91.

Although it was intended to commission the lighthouse in 1914, this was delayed for five years until after the end of World War I. The fog signal, for reasons unknown, was never installed.

The Slangkoppunt Lighthouse was established as a result of a commission appointed on September 29, 1906, by Sir Francis Hely-Hutchinson, Governor of the Cape of Good Hope, to enquire into proposals for the improvement of the existing safeguards against shipwreck on the Cape’s southern coast.

The Slangkoppunt Lighthouse tower is constructed out of 17 huge cast-iron tiers.

The tower has a 139 steps and five floors, each 6.1 metres above the other, surmounted by a lantern house 4.25m in diameter and 6.75m high.

The lantern house has three tiers constructed out of 14 cast-iron
segments, one of which accommodates the door, and is glazed with 42 glass panes of the same size.

Several vessels have come to grief in the area: the Kakapo, which ran aground on Noordhoek beach in 1900 during a north-westerly gale, the Clan Munroe, which wrecked to the north of the lighthouse in
1905 and the Maori, a passenger and cargo vessel that wrecked in dense fog in 1909.