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Western Cape Coast: Slangkoppunt

Latitude: 34° 08’ 54,59” S
Longitude: 18° 19’ 11,89” E

 

Date commissioned:  4 March 1919

Architect/builder:  Chance Brothers
Primary structure material of construction:  Circular cast-iron tower tapering to the top, painted white, with white lantern house.
Height of tower:  33 metres
Character of light:  Group flashing 4 every 30 seconds
Heritage status:  Being older than 60 years, the lighthouse is protected under the National Heritage Resources Act 25 of 1999.
Inhabited/manned:  Yes
Open to public:  Yes
 
Slangkoppunt Lighthouse is the tallest cast iron lighthouse on the South African coast.  Its name is derived from the Slangkop (“Snake Head”) hill directly behind the lighthouse.
 
This coastline has many reefs and headlands that stretch far out into the ocean, resulting in hug waves that have wrecked many a fine vessel.  The more famous vessels that have come to grief in this area include the SS Kakapo, which ran ashore on the southern end of Chapman’s Bay in 1900 during a north-west gale; the SS Clan Munroe, which wrecked to the north of the lighthouse in 1905; the Oakburn, which wrecked on Duiker Point in 1906 in thick fog; and the SS Maori, which wrecked in thick fog in 1909 resulting in the loss of thirty-two lives.
 

 

Three graves, believed to be those of sailors from the SS Maori wreck, are within walking distance of the lighthouse.
 
Slangkoppunt Lighthouse offers:
·         Tours of the lighthouse
·         Curios and memorabilia on sale
·         The large premises make it ideal for special events such as weddings, with plenty of space for marquee tents.
 
Slangkoppunt Lighthouse is open from Monday to Friday (excluding public holidays), from 10h00 to 15h00. 
 
Please contact 021 449 2400 or lighthouse.tourism@transnet.net for more information.
 
 
 
Glossary
 
Aid to navigation:  A device or system, such as a lighthouse, buoy, beacon or electronic system that is designed and operated to enhance the safe and efficient navigation of vessels and/or vessel traffic.
 
Character of light:  The distinctive colour or periodic (regular) rhythm of a navigation light, enabling it to be identified. 
 
Composite group flash:  A light similar to a group flashing light, except that successive groups in a period have different numbers of flashes.
 
Daymark:  A daytime marker of specific visual characteristics, such as shape and colour, serving as an aid to navigation.
 
Group flashing:  A combined group of flashes, each including the same number of flashes, which are repeated at regular intervals.
 
Manned:  All lighthouses are automated.  “Manned” implies that we have a presence at the lighthouse, either to accommodate visitors or to optimise maintenance and travelling.
 
Nautical mile:  Unit of linear measure mainly used at sea (one nautical mile is equal to 1 852 metres).
 
Occulting light:  A light in which the total duration of light in each period is clearly longer than the total duration of darkness and in which the intervals of darkness are all of equal duration