Photo Caption: Who knows where these steps lead to? No visit to Cape Town is quite complete without a visit here.
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Photo by @kaibernstein
Cape Point is in the Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve within the Table Mountain National Park, forming part of the World Heritage Site, the Cape Floral Region.
There are two lighthouses at Cape Point, but only one is still in operation. In the late 1850’s, the old lighthouse was built on the highest section of the Cape Point Peak, standing 238 meters above sea level. The equipment to build the lighthouse was shipped from England. It comprised of sixteen metallic reflectors that flashed a white light at 2000 candlepower which lasted twelve seconds every minute.
The lighthouse served as a nautical guide to many ships from 1859 to 1919. But because of its high position, fog and clouds often obscured the lighthouse, making it invisible to ships at a certain angle. The sinking of the Portuguese ocean liner, the Lusitania, on Bellows Rock just south of Cape Point on April 18, 1911, prompted the decommissioning of the first lighthouse and the building of another. The old lighthouse is now an outlook point and central monitoring point for all South African Lighthouses.
A Lighthouse for the Cape of Storms
The new lighthouse, which took 6 years to finish is just a series of steps down from the old one. It stands 87 meters above sea level and offers the brightest and most powerful lighthouse light in the country, at 10 million candelas in each flash. It is visible up to 63 kilometers out at sea.
There are paths to both the old and new lighthouses at Cape Point. You can ascend the short but steep walk to the old lighthouse. Or you can try the three-minute ride in the wheelchair-accessible Flying Dutchman funicular that transfers visitors from the lower station to the upper station. There are two funicular cars which travel from the parking lot to the view site.
A visit to the lighthouse surely is one of the highlights of any visit to Cape Point. Visit capepoint.co.za for more information.