Tag Archives: cape columbine lighthouse

Trip to See The Cape Columbine Lighthouse (2016-02-06) Photo Gallery 27 MAR 2016

During our February weekend away in Jacobsbaai, while the rest of the crowd were enjoying their trips on the festival wagons, I thought it a good idea to drive out with the girls to go and have a look at the Cape Columbine Lighthouse in the Cape Columbine nature reserve next to Paternoster.

IMG_20160206_130117 driving towards the lighthouse in the cape columbine nature reserve

The drive to Paternoster through Vredenburg went smoothly enough, and amazingly I found the road to the Cape Columbine nature reserve easily enough – unfortunately for me and the Hyundai Accent though, no one had bothered to mention that it was a rutted sand road to get there!

The road was bumpy as heck, so much so that Emily was crying pretty much the whole way, and more than a few times I considered stopping to turn around and head back, but with the lighthouse teasing us on in the distance, Jessica and I opted to push on and endure both the bumpy dusty ride and Emily’s incessant crying.

After a slow and lengthy drive, we made it to the entrance of the nature reserve, where it was pointed out that one needed to pay a small entrance fee to go inside (for interest sake, Tietiesbaai, a popular fishing spot, also lies inside the park).

Problem. It turned out that my wallet was completely devoid of cash! The ranger at the gate laughed when I asked if they accept credit cards, but agreed to let me slip in after I explained to him that I just wanted to show off the lighthouse to the girls. (The crutches next to me and lack of fishing gear helped I think!)

IMG_20160206_125403 outside the gates of the cape columbine lighthouse complex

A lot more gravel and sand road travelled, we eventually reached our destination and turned into the lighthouse complex, only to be stopped by a closed gate – and a sign that very clearly pointed out that the lighthouse was only open to visitors during the week!


Needless to say, Jessica was not impressed!

IMG_20160206_130447 no lighthouse for disappointed little girl jessica

We drove around the nature reserve a little more, I took some photos, and Emily stopped caring and started snoring instead.

IMG_20160206_130503 craig lotter driving in cape columbine with a sleeping toddler emily

So we made the long sand road trek back to Paternoster, drove around a bit, and then headed back to Vredenburg where I treated the girls to some play time and pizza at the great Panarottis restaurant in the West Coast Mall.

IMG_20160206_144158 pizza and play for jessica at panarottis

They seemed to enjoy that much more than our lighthouse expedition anyway.

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Related Link: Cape Columbine Lighthouse

Things to See in South Africa: The Cape Columbine Lighthouse (near Paternoster) Travel Attractions 14 FEB 2016

In the middle of the small Columbine Nature Reserve along the West Coast of South Africa, stands the strikingly rugged Cape Columbine Lighthouse.

cape columbine lighthouse on the west coast near paternoster, south africa 1

The stretch of coastline which the lighthouse, usually the first lighthouse sighted by shipping coming from South America and Europe, now protects claimed a number of victims over the years, including the Columbine (1829), the Heleric (1932), the Haddon Hall (1913), the Lisboa (1910), the SS Saint Lawrence (1876) and the SS Columbine (1944 – death by torpedo in this instance though) – however, the lighthouse only saw the light of day in 1936, when it was finally commissioned and given to the famed, Scottish-trained, lighthouse architect Harry Claude Cooper as one of his last projects (in total, Cooper was involved in the building of more than 30 South African lighthouses).

cape columbine lighthouse on the west coast near paternoster, south africa 4

To reach the lighthouse, you need to head out to the small fishing hamlet of Paternoster, and once there, drive out a further 5 km along a dirt road to reach the Cape Columbine Nature Reserve (which also houses Tietiesbaai, a popular fishing spot for the locals).

In the middle of the nature reserve stands the lighthouse, perched on top of a boulder-strewn outcrop called Castle Rock.

cape columbine lighthouse on the west coast near paternoster, south africa 2

The lighthouse towers above a small complex of houses, some of which are now available for rent by the public as overnight accommodation. The Cape Columbine Lighthouse holds the honour of being the last manned lighthouse built on the South African coast (hence the houses).

Note, all lighthouses are automated. “Manned” implies that the ports authority have a presence at the lighthouse, either to accommodate visitors or to optimise maintenance and travelling.

cape columbine lighthouse on the west coast near paternoster, south africa 5

The lighthouse was the first South African lighthouse to be installed with three simultaneous navigational aids, namely optics (light), a fog signal, as well as a radio beacon.

It was also the first South African lighthouse lens system designed for use with a 4 kW incandescent electric lamp.

cape columbine lighthouse on the west coast near paternoster, south africa 3

The lighthouse is open to the public from Monday to Friday, and tours of the facility are on offer. The large grounds and picturesque surrounding also make it a popular picnic spot and wedding photo backdrop.

cape columbine lighthouse on the west coast near paternoster, south africa 6

cape columbine lighthouse on the west coast near paternoster, south africa 7

Related Link: Cape Columbine | Cape Columbine Lighthouse