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Posted on: Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Stanley’s Light Shines Bright In Ladismith

Posted to: Attractions
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Stanley de Wit was an avid hiker who spent a lot of time exploring the Elandsberg Mountain. On one of his excursions he noticed a continuously flowing stream that ran over a vertical rock face and this gave him a brilliant idea. He thought about mounting a light that would be on constantly and could be seen from the town. Although this was going to be a lot of work, he was fixated on the idea and began drawing up plans for Stanley’s Light.

 

Stanleys Light
Photograph courtesy of Ladismith Tourism ©

 

Elandsberg hike is a steep climb that would take Stanley around four or five hours to hike. With this genius idea in place he was now faced with the challenge of installing the light and carting up the materials. On 31 May 1963, he carried up 22 meters of plastic piping, cement, sand and electrical cables. He used the water from the stream to make this light work. The water would flow through the pipes, down onto a wheel which was hooked up to a bicycle dynamo which would then in turn run at high speed. Using electrical cables, Stanley attached a bicycle light to the dynamo and fixed it to a rock.

If the water supply is continuous then the light remains on during the day and night. For 30 years after, Stanley would make regular trips up the mountain to ensure everything was working properly and to replace any parts that were wearing down. Eventually this trip became too much for Stanley and a group of volunteers took over the maintenance role. Eventually the bicycle light was replaced by a car light and a solar panel was installed to cover those periods of drought.

Stanley’s Light burns brightly, is a popular landmark and is the guiding light for the people of Ladismith.

 

Stanleys Light by Philip Radyn

Photograph of Stanleys Light in the distance by and © Philip Radyn via Panoramia.com

 

Contact Ladismith Tourism

Address: Off Waterkloof Road, Ladismith, Karoo
Telephone: +27 (0)28 551-1378
Stay: Ladismith Guest Houses
Or: Find accommodation in the Karoo
See: Other popular attractions in Ladismith

Michelle Rawlinson

About 

Michelle has a huge love for all things aquatic, particularly marine life. Her main passion lies with Great White Sharks, although she is interested in all marine species and their well-being. She volunteers at the Two Oceans Aquarium in her spare time and would spend all her time by the sea or surrounded by nature if possible. After spending 7 years in the United Kingdom, she has returned back home to Cape Town to be nearer to her family and to her ‘favourite place in the world’. She enjoys camping, fishing, watching rugby and going out with her friends and family to try out new restaurants and bars.

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