Wednesday, 8 December 2010

LIGHTHOUSE POSTCARD FROM SOUTH AFRICA

Cape Point is a promontory at the southeast corner of the Cape Peninsula, which is a mountainous and scenic landform at the extreme southwestern tip of the African continent in the Republic of South Africa. 'The Point' has not been called the 'Cape of Storms' for nothing, and has been treated with respect by sailors since it was first sighted by Bartholomeu Dias in 1488.
The first lighthouse at Cape Point was built in 1857 at the top of Cape Maclear. The 8 m (27 ft) round cylindrical cast iron tower was prefabricated in England and shone from 1860 until 1919. It is situated 248 meters (816 ft) above the high water mark which made it ineffective by fog and mist with its light often blocked by low clouds. On 18 April 1911, the Portuguese liner Lusitania was wrecked just south of Cape Point prompting the relocation of the lighthouse. The new tower was established lower at the cliff (at 87 meters – 286 ft).

Cape Point Lighthouse is located about 60 km (40 mi) south of Cape Town beyond the end of Cape Point Road and a funicular railway (The Flying Dutchman Funicular) provide access to this upper lighthouse.
On August 3rd, 2009 South African Post Office issued a set of five stamps presenting sea and coastal birds endemic in South Africa. On the postcard we see the Blackbacked seagull (Larus dominicanus), bird found all along the Southern African coast, from Namibia right through to Mozambique. The birds scavenge along coasts individually or in small groups, especially in harbours. They are rarely found inland. Thank you, Bruce.

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