Back in the days of fully manned lighthouses, 1 of the sweetest postings you could have in South Africa was to be assigned the duty of the Cape St Blaize light-keeper – because is stands right next to the bustling seaside town of Mossel Bay, between the Garden Route and the southern Cape.

Did you know?

St Blaize is the patron saint of people who suffer from sore throats.

Cape St Blaize is a rocky promontory that juts out to sea and is part of the Mossel Bay town structure.

There’s a huge cave at Cape St Blaize that was once occupied by Khoikhoi hunter-gatherers, who probably had the finest ocean-view residence in Africa at the time.

Looming above the cave is the still-working Cape St Blaize lighthouse, which was always a favoured posting among the South African light-keeper community.

Often light-keepers and their families were sent to far-flung coastal places, where they lived in isolation and where schooling and supplies were a constant logistical headache.

This particular lighthouse stands in one of the most active, booming towns along the Western Cape coastline. There have always been good shops and schools and a welcoming community available to the ocean guardians sent there.

The building of the Cape St Blaize lighthouse was completed in March 1864. The tower has a spectacular placement on a cliff overlooking both Mossel Bay and the passing ocean lanes.

In his landmark book called Southern Lights – Lighthouses of South Africa, author Harold Williams says that in 1880 a public works official complained of the lighthouse that: ‘Quarters and light satisfactory, but goats must not be kept in the quarters.’

Williams comments: ‘It must be assumed that he had in fact discovered goats or evidence of them in the living quarters – strange bedfellows?’

The lighthouse is fully automated these days, but still manned by light-keepers who maintain radio watch and do meteorological studies.

Up until the late 1970s, however, the lens turned on a clockwork system, which meant that a light-keeper had to ascend the tower and wind it up at three-hour intervals.

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