Lighthouses of Gabon

The nation of Gabon straddles the Equator on the west coast of Africa, with about 800 km (500 mi) of coastline facing on the Atlantic. The country was organized as a French colony around 1885 and from 1910 to 1959 it was part of the consolidated colony known as French Equatorial Africa. Gabon became independent in 1960.

South of Cape Lopez the coast of Gabon faces southwest on the open Atlantic Ocean; north of the cape the coast faces northwest on the Gulf of Guinea. In the north of the country the Gabon Estuary, formed by the Komo and Ebe Rivers, provides a sheltered harbor for the capital, Libreville. Port Gentil, in the lee of Cape Lopez, is the country's second international port.

Aids to navigation in Gabon are maintained by the national port authority, the Office des Ports et Rades du Gabon (OPRAG). Libreville, Owendo, and Port-Gentil are the major ports.

French is the official language of Gabon. In French, the word for a lighthouse is phare; cap is a cape and île is an island.

ARLHS numbers are from the ARLHS World List of Lights. Admiralty numbers are from volume D of the Admiralty List of Lights & Fog Signals. U.S. NGA List numbers are from Publication 113.

General Sources
Phares d'Afrique
Photos posted by Alain Guyomard and Robert Carceller as part of their Phares du Monde web site.
World of Lighthouses - Gabon
Photos by various photographers available from
Online List of Lights - Gabon
Photos by various photographers posted by Alexander Trabas.
Afrikanische Leuchttürme auf historischen Postkarten
Historic postcard images from the collection of Klaus Huelse.

Phare de Cap Lopez
Cap Lopez Light, Port Gentil, November 2005
Panoramio photo copyright Stefan Schmidt; used by permission

Ogooué-Maritime Province Lighthouse
** Cap Lopez (2)
1911 (station established 1897). Inactive for many years. 30 m (98 ft) cast iron tower with lantern and double gallery. Stefan Schmidt's photo appears at the top of this page, has a 2012 photo, Huelse has a historic postcard view, and Google has a satellite view. Cap Lopez is the westernmost point, not only of Gabon but of all of equatorial Africa. Historically the lighthouse was the landfall light for Port Gentil, which is sheltered in a broad bay behind the cape. Today the lighthouse is critically endangered by beach erosion and could collapse at any time. Nonetheless, it is one of the best known tourist attractions in the country. A July 2010 photo shows the base of the lighthouse in the water. In 2012 a new light on a tall skeletal mast (next entry) was installed at Cap Lopez. Located about 2 km (1.25 mi) south of the point of the cape and about 20 km (13 mi) northwest of Port Gentil. The area is accessible by paved road. Site open, tower open but, in the words of one tourist site, très dangereux. ARLHS GAB-005.
Cap Lopez (3)
2012. Active; focal plane about 35 m (115 ft); white flash every 5 s. 30 m (98 ft) triangular skeletal mast. Patrice Penven contributed the photo at the bottom of this page; it shows the lighthouse being installed in June 2012. Google has a satellite view. Located about 500 m (0.3 mi) northeast of the historic lighthouse, adjacent to the Cap Lopez petroleum tank farm. Site status unknown. Admiralty D4290.1; NGA 25373.
* Port Gentil
1920s (?). Inactive. Approx. 16 m (52 ft) hexagonal cast iron skeletal tower with lantern and gallery. Lighthouse painted black, lantern white with a green dome. The tower also carries a white trapezoidal daymark panel. A February 2005 photo of the abandoned lighthouse (no longer available), showed it to be in very poor condition at that time. Before June 2007 the lighthouse was restored to its appearance in Sam Hedouin's photo at right. Huelse has a historic postcard view and Google has a satellite view of the site (the tower and its accompanying service building are on the west (left) side of the street intersection in the center of the image). Port Gentil is Gabon's second largest city and a center for the oil industry. Located on the waterfront of Port Gentil, one block southwest of the main quay. Site open; tower closed. ARLHS GAB-006.
Phare de Port Gentil
Port Gentil Light, Port Gentil, June 2007
Panoramio photo copyright Sam Hedouin; used by permission

Estuaire Province Lighthouses
* Pointe Gombé (Ngombé, Pointe Denis)
1891. Active; focal plane 57 m (187 ft); white flash every 10 s. 12 m (39 ft) octagonal cylindrical tower with lantern and gallery, rising through the center of a resort building. Lighthouse painted blue with a white rectangular grid, as seen in Ralph Wigzell's 2010 photo at right. Bing has a satellite view. This is the landfall light for Libreville, the national capital. The lighthouse has been restored in recent years, and the station has been converted into a resort called Phare de Gombé Beach, which opened in 2012. The station is within the Parc National de Pongara. Located on the western point of the peninsula sheltering the Estuaire du Gabon. Accessible by road. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS GAB-002; Admiralty D4276; NGA 25316.
Pointe Owendo (Ovendo)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 46 m (151 ft); two white flashes every 6 s. 10 m (33 ft) square skeletal tower with lantern and gallery. Tower painted white, lantern red. No photo available and the tower has not been located in Bing's satellite view. Located on a promontory on the north side of the Estuaire du Gabon, one of the largest sheltered embayments on the western coast of Africa, at the entrance to the harbor of Owendo, about 20 km (13 mi) southeast of Libreville. Site status unknown. ARLHS GAB-004; Admiralty D4286; NGA 25356.
Cap Santa Clara
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 30 m (98 ft); white flash every 10 s. 18 m (59 ft) "white pylon." No photo available but Bing has an indistinct satellite view. Located on a south-pointing cape at the northern entrance to the Estuaire du Gabon, about 18 km (11 mi) northwest of Libreville. May be accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. Admiralty D4274; NGA 25314.
Phare de Pointe Gombé
Pointe Gombé Light, Libreville, January 2010
Flickr photo copyright Ralph Wigzell; used by permission
* Cap Estérias
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 18 m (59 ft); two white flashes, in a 2+1 pattern, every 12 s. Approx. 16 m (52 ft) square pyramidal masonry or concrete tower supporting a square skeletal tower. A 2011 closeup and a 2008 photo are available, and Google has a satellite view. Huelse has a historic postcard view that shows the tower before the skeletal extension was added. This may be an old daybeacon converted later to a lighted aid. The building next to the lighthouse is a vessel traffic control station; we don't know if this station is active. Located on a prominent point of land about 3 km (2 mi) north of Sahoué and 23 km (14 mi) northwest of Libreville; the area has a number of beach resorts. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS GAB-001; Admiralty D4272; NGA 25312.
* Pointe N'Dombo (1 and 2)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 7 m (23 ft); white flash every 4 s. 7 m (26 ft) white square tower. No photo available but Bing has a satellite view. The satellite view shows two towers at this station; probably a masonry tower (on the left) has been replaced by a square white skeletal tower. Located on the beach at Pointe N'Dombo, about 10 km (6 mi) south of Cocobeach in the northwestern corner of the country. Site status unknown; the beach seems to be accessible from the main coastal highway. ARLHS GAB-003; Admiralty D4260; NGA 25304.

New Cap Lopez Light
New Cap Lopez Light, Port Gentil, June 2012
photo copyright Patrice Penven; used by permission

Information available on lost lighthouses:

Notable faux lighthouses:

Adjoining pages: North: Equatorial Guinea | South: Republic of the Congo | West: São Tomé and Principe

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Posted September 15, 2005. Checked and revised October 4, 2018. Lighthouses: 9. Site copyright 2018 Russ Rowlett and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.