He became Astronomer Royal in Cape Colony in 1879 and retained that post till 1902.
In 1892 he was elected to the Dominion Parliament, but in 1899 he interrupted his political career to serve in the South African War, where he commanded a mixed force of English and colonial scouts in western Cape Colony.
In Africa Egypt opened her first line (between Alexandria and Cairo) in 1856, and Cape Colony followed in 1860.
Algoa Bay was the first landing-place of the British emigrants to the eastern province of Cape Colony in 1820.
One of Philip's ideals was the curbing of colonial "aggression" by the creation of a belt of native states around Cape Colony.