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LighthouseOur Light House

History has it that a Portuguese explorer, Manuel de Perestrelo who was given the task of mapping the coast in 1575, mentioned in his description of the coast and Bay, with a reference to Cape Serras (now Cape St Francis), “On the eastern side of the cape is a bay to which I gave the name Saint Francis.”

Many years later, in 1954, the land around this bay was bought by Leighton Hulett who moved from Zululand with his wife and children. Initially it was set up as a fishing camp where he and his family and friends enjoyed bathing and fishing in this isolated paradise. A small township of 51 plots was laid out in 1956 and at that stage it was still going to be called Cape St Francis. This name was first changed to Sea Vista in 1960. After the establishment of the first approved township Hulett developed the marina glades, the town grew and after a public referendum in 1979 the village name was officially changed to St Francis Bay.

In the mean time a number of fishing shacks/houses were built some distance further on, around the lighthouse point on John Booysen’s farm and that smaller village became known as Cape St Francis.

The lighthouse, called Cape St Francis Lighthouse or Seal Point Light house, was built in 1878 at this cape point to warn ships of the dangerous reefs that stretch more than a kilometer out to the sea. It is the tallest masonry tower on the South African coast standing at a height of 27.75 m. Although it is no longer in full operation it is open to the public and guided tours of this historic lighthouse are available.

Many of the streets in Cape St Francis are named after ship wrecks, e.g. The Hope 1840, Queen of the West 1850, The Spy 1851, Osprey 1853, Lady Heal 1859, Niagara 1870 , Lingenfjord 1938, Pres Reitz 1947.

Cape St Francis has its own unique atmosphere and characteristics. Goodwill rules amongst its residents and fishermen, surfers, bathers and all who love to explore the beautiful walk ways feel at home. One often used is on the Irma Booysen Nature Reserve. In the dunes are still a few middens where shells and remains of primitive implements could be found.

During the calamari/chokka season one can almost read your paper by the light of the many boats going for their catch during the night time. It is a fisherman’s paradise for old and young. The endangered Oyster Catchers can be seen on the beach and rocks and even a whale or two come to visit from time to time. Abalone (Perlemoen) poachers have become a hazard lately but their is an abundance of interesting sea life and one can still enjoy our coastline the way nature intended.