One of the best known landmarks in Plettenberg Bay on the Garden Route is the Beacon Isle Hotel. Beacon Island is at the mouth of the Piesang River and has a history that goes back to 1771. In that year the first navigational beacon was erected on the island. The original was a square block of stinkwood, inscribed with the latitude and longitude of Plettenberg Bay, and erected to enable mariners to check their location and chronometers. It also gave Beacon Island its name.
The shape of the memorial, consisting of three wings that cross over one another, is intended to symbolise flight. The wings each cover separate rooms that house a chapel, a caretakers office and a machine room. The hall between the wings houses a cenotaph as the centrepiece of the memorial and the rolls of honour.