Coast KZN

19 Jan 2021

Durban’s iconic lighthouse undergoes repairs after storm damage

Se-Anne Rall (Daily News: IOL) Picture: The lighthouse at uMhlanga Rocks stands like a sentinel at the edge of the Oyster Box pool.

Durban – Repairs are under way at Durban’s iconic lighthouse in the Umhlanga area after it sustained minor damage during a storm on Friday afternoon. According to the Umhlanga Rocks Urban Improvement Precinct (UIP), the area around the lighthouse has been cordoned off for repairs and the Ports Authority will investigate if any further damage was done. Residents are warned to avoid the area while the repairs are under way.

Last year, the lighthouse was revamped.

In February last year, the lighthouse underwent routine maintenance. The Northglen News reported that the work was undertaken by Lighthouse and Navigational Systems (LNS), a business unit of Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA).  At the time, Siva Moodley of LNS said the maintenance project included the painting of the Umhlanga Rocks Lighthouse tower, interior and exterior, and the lantern house.

“It is difficult to provide an exact end date for the project, since much of the work is weather dependent. The painting of the tower and lantern house is part of the asset’s maintenance schedule and is done every five to seven years,” he said.

The lighthouse was commissioned in November 1954 and was completed in four days and 19 hours.

The lighthouse is also fully automatic and has a red light that enables ships waiting to anchor in the outer anchorage to track its position. If the red light can be seen from the ship, it often means that the anchors have dragged, and that the ship is too close to shore.

According to, the lighthouse has also never had a keeper. The lighthouse controls used to be inside the hotel office, but were removed during The Oyster Box’s 2007 renovation. Today, the hotel is responsible for advising the Portnets Lighthouse Service if the lighthouse’s light is not working. Luckily for The Oyster Box’s staff, it is not responsible for changing the light bulb! This job is fully reserved as the responsibility of Transnet and the Port Authorities.