Back to the Lighthouse (again)

Slangkop Lighthouse is like a colossal magnet the way it keeps pulling me back to try and capture the perfect shot.  I should have waited until there were dramatic clouds and a blazing autumn sky to photograph, but this iconic landscape still gives me something different every time I drive there at sunset.


Slangkop Lighthouse revisited

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Sunday morning on the Kom

Kommetjie’s Slangkop Lighthouse is one of those iconic Cape Town landmarks that is photographed to death, but I still return time and again hoping for something exceptional.  This time it was a spectacular autumn sunrise I had in mind.  Instead, a low bank of mist and muggy skies over the ocean greeted me.  As consolation though, I saw formations of migrating birds and my very first pied kingfisher ever, who kindly hung around the Kom just long enough for me to stop my car in a cul-de-sac and grab my camera.  Such is life 🙂

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Finding beauty in disaster

We thought it was all over.  The skies had cleared, we could breathe properly again and the ash that whirled around like snowflakes seemed to have settled after some gentle, welcome rain.  Then Hell’s furnace erupted again.

Barely a day after firefighters stopped the blazes that ran rampant across the Southern Peninsula for four days, more fire broke out, this time at Cape Point, Cape Town’s southernmost extremity.  As if on cue, the wind picked up reaching galeforce by evening and fanned the blaze across more precious hectares of fynbos and nature reserve.  Weary firefighters and volunteers were pulled back into the fray. Out at sea behind Kommetjie lighthouse, a long trail of smoke blowing from Cape Point resembled a low cloud bank, which looked like an angry bruise as the sun set over the ocean.  It was strangely beautiful, despite the tragic circumstances. 03-IMG_7298 05-IMG_7307Behind me, as the fire rescue choppers returned to base before nightfall marred their visibility, Noordhoek and Hout Bay recovered from four days of flames that saw properties damaged and families temporarily evacuated. 19-IMG_7387


Kommetjie Life

Stills from a typical day on The Kom.

The Kom, ‘the small ‘bowl’ from which Kommetjie got its name, is a sheltered bay on the western coastline of the Cape Peninsula, popular with surfers and small fishermen.










Maintaining Slangkop Lighthouse

I wouldn’t want the job of erecting the scaffolding to paint Kommetjie’s landmark 33 metre tall lighthouse for any amount of money.  But even with the metal embellishment, the tallest cast-iron tower on the South African coast is a striking sentinel watching over the sleepy village.






Visiting Flamingos

After a storm that battered the Peninsula for almost a week and a day of on/off rain yesterday, the sun finally reappeared today, allowing me to get out and see a large pink and white cloud of feathers – visiting Greater Flamingos that settled in the old Kom tidal pool in Kommetjie a week ago.  Apparently it’s been about 50 years since flamingos have visited this part of the world.

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St Norbert’s Priory

St Norbert’s Catholic Church on Slangkop Hill overlooking Kommetjie village offers a  magnificent view of Long Beach and Hout Bay.  Note the interesting tiled entrance to the church grounds, including a mosaic inlay.

Dating back to long before the Norbertine Fathers came to Kommetjie to establish a Priory for their Order in 1967, the Church began as a small chapel – the Chapel of St. Joseph – built in 1948 in memory of a wealthy Italian immigrant, Joseph Rubbi who settled in the Cape in the late 19th century.

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The Kom

Kommetjie is an unspoilt fishing village on the Atlantic side of the Cape Peninsula about 35km from Cape Town.  The Kom, within easy walking distance of the village, consists of a sheltered bay which is virtually fully enclosed by a ridge of boulders that were once part of a Stone Age fish trap.  In good weather conditions, the Kom is one of the best sites on land to view seabirds from, including several migratory species.  A caution — the pungent aroma of rotting kelp can take your breath away at times!

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I was really surprised to see a couple of Sacred Ibis among the variety of gulls.IMG_2347

Kommetjie Lighthouse towers in the background.IMG_2348IMG_2353

Sadly some Capetonians need a lot of reminding!! 🙂IMG_2249IMG_2242

Wild grasses adorn the road along the coast to Scarborough. The drive provides a stunning elevated vantage point of the coastline and the lighthouse.IMG_2224