Virtual trip to South Africa's lighthouses and beyond

Virtual Trip around SA lighthouses

Last week, Keri Miller had to choose between Kakamas and Sannieshof... so she chose Kakamas, not knowing where it is. To help, Kim Breytenbach has taken us on a virtual tour of South Africa - using lighthouses.

Donkin b
Kim Breytenbach: Donkin B

On our first trip, we headed from PMB with the goal to get to Morgans Bay. Halfway through the trip, I blew a fuse in my Mazda bakkie. Nothing was seriously affected other than no radio and no cigarette lighter. While we are non-smokers, we could not charge cellphones or tablets.

Port St Johns is home to my favourite lighthouse, called Cape Hermes. There is a story: “Even lighthouses have a dream of having their own sea-pride patch of grass on the perfect hillside bordered by a little wooden picket fence…” 

This is what Cape Hermes lighthouse looks like:

Cape Hermes
Kim Breytenbach: Cape Hermes

We left Coffee Bay to head to Mbashe. With cellphone maps, we headed into the extreme unknown with terrible sand roads. Problems started when our phones started to die. With no form of communication, no digital maps, and having no way to find the elusive Mbashe, we headed back to the main road. We decided it was better to be safe and come back another day.

We called the trip off for that year and headed to Kokstad for the night. When we arrived at the B&B, a sign on the gate read:  “Phone for attention”. Phone? With what and how? No phone!

The Owner arrived and we drove in. Luckily for us, Simon had just returned from town after buying himself some dinner.  He was shocked to see us drive behind him, but understood when we said we had no form of communication.

The next morning when we left Kokstad, we drove past this beautiful church. I just had to take some photos of it. We then headed home.

Kokstad church
Kim Breytenbach: Kokstad Church

On our last trip, we were going to travel from PMB to Mossel Bay in the hope of getting to Cape Agulhas -but this did not happen due to five days of rain. During our first trip, I was told to visit the Red Desert. My mom and I searched for this desert for over an hour and we left believing that it did not exist. So on this trip, we decided we had to find out if it was real. Happy to report, we found it. What an amazing place! I highly recommend this place for a visit. It is so amazing.  

Red Desert
Kim Breytenbach: Red Desert

During this trip we found Mbashe in the Eastern Cape. The next morning at sunrise, mom and I rushed to the beach where we experienced the most amazing sunrise with the lighthouse flashing in the distance on the hill.

Mbshe Lighthouse
Kim Breytenbach: Mbshe Lighthouse

The next photography spot was going to be East London and the Hood Point lighthouse. Hood Point lighthouse was established because of the large number of shipwrecks. Many lives had been lost and this lighthouse was built to save lives and vessels.

This lighthouse replaced the Castle Point lighthouse, which I still need to find. All I know is that it was near to one of the Harbour Markers.

The hood light house
Kim Breytenbach: The Hood Light house

The next striking lighthouse we visited was Great Fish Point. Its colour and shape are extraordinary. Well worth a visit.  You look over some amazing beaches and very interesting windblown sand dunes.

great fish point
Kim Breytenbach: Great Fish Point

We took a detour to Bathurst to see the biggest pineapple in the world, which is 16.7m tall.  It has a ground floor with a shop, 1st floor is the pineapple story, and 2nd floor is an observation deck. A very interesting place to visit.  At the observation deck, you can look out over the pineapple farm. The smell of pineapple lingers on the breeze.

Kim Breytenbach: Bathurst

We arrived in Port Elizabeth. Here we have three lighthouses to photograph. The Hill lighthouse has been decommissioned because there is too much city light and the lighthouse light was not being seen out at sea. At this space there is a Pyramid monument to Elizabeth Frances Lady Donkin.

Kim Breytenbach: Hill & Donkin
Kim Breytenbach: Donkin Plaque

The city of PE has created a mosaic tapestry on the ground which can be seen from the top of the Hill lighthouse with a tribute to Nelson Mandela and the 1994 elections.

Donkin b
Kim Breytenbach: Donkin B
Kim Breytenbach

While we were at Cape Recife, we felt a tickling of a slight breeze. Little did we realise that this breeze was going to turn into a full-blown sand storm. Within seconds we were trying to protect cameras under shirts, hold onto our sunglasses to protect eyes, chasing after our shoes because we were walking in the sea and holding onto each other for stability so that we didn’t plant our faces in the sand. We managed to get to my van having been sand blasted from all angles. What an experience!

cape reife
Kim Breytenbach: Cape Recife

We went to Cape St Francis to photograph Seal Point. What a beautiful lighthouse. That night there was heavy mist and the foghorn howled all night. What an eerie and mournful sound.

seal point
Kim Breytenbach: Seal Point
seal point
Kim Breytenbach: Seal Point

So why do I want to live and explore South Africa?

Because of the beauty that my mom and I have experienced. We have seen some very funny things like:

A Solar powered rondawel
Kim Breytenbach: A Solar powered rondawel

Some funny signs that make people wonder if we have wild animals roaming our garden. These signs explain why they think this:

sign 1
Kim Breytenbach
sign 2
Kim Breytenbach
sign 3
Kim Breytenbach

My next trip is going to be (hopefully) from PMB to Cape Town to Sutherland to tick off a lifelong dream of seeing the largest telescope in the Southern Hemisphere, back to Cape Town and up to Port Nolloth if time allows.

Thanks for sharing this with us, Kim!

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