The Cape Agulhas lighthouse began operating on 1 March 1849.
The lighthouse was based on the design of the ancient lighthouse of Pharos of Alexandria, one of the Seven Ancient Wonders of the world and it was built from limestone.
Today, the Agulhas lighthouse is the second oldest working lighthouse in South Africa (the oldest being the Greenpoint lighthouse) and was declared a national monument in 1973.
The Cape Agulhas lighthouse is 27 metres tall, and its beam can be seen up to 31 nautical miles away. It is used in combination with a radio transmitter to warn ships not to come too close to shore.
Agulhas is Portuguese for ‘needle’, the name is said to have been given to the cape because the compass-needle was seen to point due north, that is, with no magnetic deviation.