There is nothing quite like the beam of light slowly panning the dark ocean or the moody hoot of a fog horn to remind you that you are camping next to the ocean. For many people there is something special about a Lighthouse. Is it perhaps the old world nautical charm, the romantic stories of sailors and their yearning loved ones or a light that guides you safely home after a long journey?
Within sight and easy walking distance of Sea Shack, Tietiesbaai is the lovely Cape Columbine Lighthouse. We recently took a mid-morning walk there departing from Bekbaai beach on the far end of Paternoster. There are two ways to go from this starting point – the main gravel road into the Cape Columbine Nature Reserve or an infinitely more interesting meander along the Atlantic ocean coastline. We chose the latter and it was a delight exploring all the small bays between huge granite boulders which are home to many seabirds including the Arctic tern.
These interesting seabirds are best known for having the longest annual migration route in the animal kingdom and travel from the Arctic to the Antarctic twice a year to enjoy two summers of breeding. Fortunately for us they stop on their long journey to regroup and re-fuel on the abundant Southern tip of Africa. If you get your timing right you might be lucky to spot these long distance champions – we did! But back to Light houses…
It was a leisurely walk between the small hidden coves and there is a clear foot path which offers generous rewards to avid bird watchers, nature loving trundlers and photographers. From Bekbaai beach it is an hours leisurely walk and if you leave from Sea Shack directly it is approximately 20 mins to the Cape Columbine Lighthouse. There is a slight uphill as you head up the Castle Rock outcrop on which the lighthouse is built. It is very manageable for most levels of fitness and of course, if you should prefer, you can drive by car or take a bicycle.
The Cape Columbine Lighthouse was built in 1936 and is the last manned lighthouse built in South Africa. It is said to emit the first light seen by ships sailing from South America and Europe. There were many shipwrecks along this treacherous coastline before the lighthouse was built.
It is very accessible, visitor friendly and well-run by the national port authority, Transnet. This 80 year old building has old world charm and is beautifully maintained. All the brass fittings, glass and wood shine with a well-cared for luster. There are three short ladders up to the top where the giant light is encased in a 360 degree glass tower. It is well worth going up to see the view across Paternoster to the North and Tietiesbaai to the South.
There are many lovely spots along the walk in the nature reserve that offer the perfect setting for a picnic. So make a morning or afternoon of it and go visit a nearby legend, the Cape Columbine Lighthouse. Say “Hi” to Jaapie, the lighthouse keeper for us!
Need to know: Open from Monday to Friday (excluding public holidays), from 10h00 to 15h00.
You can contact the lighthouse on 021 449 2400 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information visit the Website