Cape St Francis Lighthouse

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Description

The Cape St. Francis Lighthouse, also known as Seal Point Lighthouse, is a beautiful white building that forms the focal point of Cape St Francis in the Eastern Cape. Named after the patron saint, St. Francis, this architectural marvel was completed in 1878, and built to ward off ships from the dangerous reefs that stretch out more than a kilometre out to sea. It was engineered by Joseph Flack, a civil engineer who was employed by the Cape Colonial Government, and who also partook in the building of many of the structures on Robben Island. However, he unfortunately passed away mid-way through the completion of the lighthouse project on 14th November 1876. The project was consequently resumed by WB Hays on 29th November of the same year. The lighthouse was lit for the first time on 4th July 1878.

Standing 27.75m off the ground, it is one of the tallest lighthouses in South Africa. Its focal plane is 36m above sea level giving it a light range of 28 nautical miles. The intensity of the light has changed over the years. It started with a three wick burner with the intensity of 15,000 candles and flashed once in every 20 seconds. A number of years later, in 1906, it was changed to a petroleum vapour burner with the power of 120,000 candles and it flashed once every 5 seconds. Now the light power is of 2,750,000 candles and it flashes every 5 seconds. Although the lighthouse is no longer in full operation, it is open to the public and can be explored on a guided tour.

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