Lighthouses of Morocco: Mediterranean Coast
Morocco occupies the northwestern corner of Africa, across the
Strait of Gibralter from Spain. During most of the nineteenth century,
France, Spain, and other European countries maneuvered to gain control
of the country. In 1912 it was finally divided; France assumed a protectorate
over most of the country but Spain controlled the northern coast and
portions of the south. In 1923 Tanger (Tangier) was removed from the
Spanish sector to become an international zone. Morocco resumed its
independence in 1956, but Spain continues to control the northern
cities of Ceuta and Melilla and several small islands off the northern coast.
For lighthouse fans, the implication of this history is that Morocco's
lighthouse heritage is partly Spanish and partly French. The French zone
of influence extends from Mehdia to Agadir, with Spanish influence to
the north and south. However, the design of lighthouses in all parts of
the country shows a strong native Moroccan style.
This page includes lighthouses of Morocco's north coast, facing the
Mediterranean Sea. There is a separate page for the Atlantic
Coast, and there is also a separate page for
the Spanish Coast of Morocco, including Ceuta and Melilla.
The Arabic word for a lighthouse is mnarh or manara (منارة). Lighthouses in Morocco are operated by the Ministère
de l'Équipement and du Transport (MTP).
ARLHS numbers are from the ARLHS
World List of Lights. Admiralty numbers are from volumes D and
E of the Admiralty List of Lights & Fog Signals. U.S. NGA List
numbers are from Publication 113.
- General Sources
- Online List of Lights - Morocco Mediterranean - Vol. D and Vol. E
- Photos by various photographers posted by Alexander Trabas.
- Lighthouses in Morocco
- Photos by various photographers available from Wikimedia.
- World of Lighthouses - Morocco
- Photos by various photographers available from Lightphotos.net.
- Phares d'Afrique
- Photos by various photographers posted by Alain Guyomard and Robert
Leuchttürme auf historischen Postkarten
- Historic postcard images posted by Klaus Huelse.
- Navigational chart information for northern Morocco.
Cap des Trois Fourches Light, July 2007
Panoramio Creative Commons photo by Playar
- Tanger-Tetouan-Al Hoceima Region: Lighthouses West of Ceuta (see also Morocco: Atlantic Coast)
- *** Cap
Spartel (Cabo Espartel, Ra's Sbartil)
- 1864. Active; focal plane 95 m (312 ft); four white flashes every
20 s. 24 m (79 ft) square masonry tower with castellated gallery,
lantern, and 1st order Fresnel lens, attached to a 2-story keeper's
house. Tower painted buff, the gallery is reddish, and the lantern
is unpainted gray metal; the keeper's house is painted white. Fog
horn (four blasts every 90 s). Saaleha Bamjee's photo is at right, Lightphotos.net has a photo,
a 2009 view of the station is available, Guyomard and Carceller have a photo
by Jean-Pierre Avenier, Wikimedia has a photo by M. Rais, Trabas has a view from the sea by Capt. Theo Hinrichs, Huelse has a historic postcard
view, and Google has a satellite view. One of Africa's (and the world's) greatest lighthouses,
this light marks the southeastern entrance to the Strait of Gibralter from
the Atlantic as well as the northwestern corner of Africa. In international
law the longitude of the Cape Spartel lighthouse (5°55'W)
is recognized as the western boundary of the Mediterranean Sea.
The lighthouse was built by Sultan Mohammed III and maintained
during the colonial period by a consortium of western powers.
Now one of Morocco's best-known tourist attractions, the light
station is on the cape about 20 km (13 mi) west of Tanger. Site
open, tower open by arrangement with the keepers. ARLHS MOR-003;
Admiralty D2510; NGA 22896.
- Tanger Outer Breakwater (2?)
- 2007 (?) . Active; focal plane 21 m (69 ft); three white flashes every
12 s. 16 m (52 ft) square skeletal tower. No photo available and
Google has only an indistinct satellite view. The skeletal tower replaced a concrete tower seen in a November 2006 photo.
Located at the end of the Tanger breakwater. Site status
unknown. ARLHS MOR-049; Admiralty D2502; NGA 22888.
- * Le Charf (Monte Direccíon)
- Date unknown. Active; focal plane 88 m (289 ft); white, red, or green light,
depending on direction, occulting three times every 12 s. 7 m (23 ft) "metal cupola on brown building," according to NGA. No photo available but Google has a satellite view. Located on the east side of the city of
Tanger (Tangier). Site status unknown. ARLHS MOR-024; Admiralty D2500; NGA
- * Malabata
- Date unknown. Active; focal plane 76 m (249 ft); white flash every 5 s.
18 m (59 ft) square cylindrical tower with lantern and gallery, rising from
a 2-story keeper's house. Building painted white; lantern roof is weathered
gray. Guyomard and Carceller have a good photo by
Jean Besnard, Trabas has a view from
the sea by Capt. Peter Mosselberger, Omar Fahd has a closeup street view, Youssef Moutawalli has a more distant street view, and Google has a satellite view. Located on a headland about 10 km (6 mi) northeast of Tanger, at
the eastern entrance to the Baie de Tanger from the Strait of Gibraltar.
Site open, tower closed. ARLHS MOR-032; Admiralty D2498; NGA 22872.
Cap Spartel Light, Tanger, July 2011
Flickr Creative Commons photo by Saaleha Bamjee
- Ilôt du Nord (2)
- Date unknown. Active; focal plane about 20 m (66 ft); three white flashes every 10 s. Approx. 15 m (49 ft) square skeletal tower. Trabas has Rainer Arndt's photo, but the tower is hard to spot in Google's satellite view. The original light had a focal plane of 11 m (36 ft). Located on a rocky islet off Ras Ciress (Punta Cires). Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty D2495.
- * Ras Ciress (Punta Cires, Pointe Cirès)
- Date unknown. Active; focal plane 44 m (144 ft); white light occulting three
times every 12 s. 8 m (26 ft) round cylindrical white concrete tower. No lantern;
the light is displayed from a short mast. Trabas has a photo
taken from the sea by Capt. Theo Hinrichs, Anass Loulidi has a distant street view from the nearby Dalya Beach, and Google has a satellite view. Punta Cires is at the narrowest point of the Strait of Gibraltar,
and swimmers trying to swim the strait aim for this point from Tarifa, Spain.
Located near Dalia about 50 km (30 mi) northeast of Tanger. Site status unknown.
ARLHS MOR-051; Admiralty D2493; NGA 22864.
Tanger-Tetouan-Al Hoceima Region: Lighthouses East of Ceuta
- * Marina Smir
- Date unknown. Active (privately maintained?); focal plane 11 m (36 ft); green light, 2 s on, 2 s off. Approx. 7 m (23 ft) round strongly conical stone tower; the upper 3/4 of the tower is painted green. Adnan Al Deibani has a distant view across the harbor and Google has an indistinct satellite view. Located at the end of the breakwater at Marina Smir, a resort harbor about 16 km (10 mi) south of Ceuta. Accessible by walking the pier. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty E6830; NGA
- * Ra's El Aswad (Ra's
Tarf, Cabo Negro)
- Date unknown. Active; focal plane 135 m (443 ft); white light occulting
once every 4 s. 13 m (43 ft) octagonal cylindrical tower
with gallery and a small lantern. Upper 2/3 of the tower is gray, lower 1/3 white. Younes Rahali has a fuzzy street view and Google has a satellite view. This lighthouse is in
an area developed intensively for tourism. The lighthouse is listed as an attraction and
is known for commanding a spectacular view of the Mediterranean Sea and the Rif
Mountains, but photos are very difficult to find. Located on a cape near Mdiq, about 8 km (5 mi) north of Martíl. Site
open, tower closed. ARLHS MOR-017; Admiralty E6824; NGA
- Oued Laou (Ra's Menkal)
- Date unknown. Active; focal plane 150 m (492 ft); white light occulting
twice every 6 s. Described by NGA only as a "white round tower."
No photo available but Google has an indistinct satellite view. Located atop a sharp promontory about 4 km (2.5 mi) north of
Oued Laou. Site status unknown. ARLHS MOR-026; Admiralty E6789.5; NGA 22822.
- El Jebha (Jabha, Pointe des Pêcheurs)
- Date unknown. Active; focal plane 38 m (125 ft); two white flashes every
10 s. 4 m (13 ft) light mounted on or in a 1-story square equipment room. Building
painted white; the small lantern is black. Mohamed Ali Assidah has a street view. The station is at the far right of Oussama Zibate's very distant view and Google has a satellite view. Located on a bluff at El Jebha, about 100 km (60
mi) west of Al Hoceïma and a similar distance southeast of Martíl.
Site status unknown. ARLHS MOR-023; Admiralty E6789; NGA 22820.
- * Sidi
Abed (Ra's el Jadid, Sidi Abid, Morro Nuevo, Punta de los Frailes) (2?)
- Date unknown. Active; focal plane 151 m (495 ft); two white flashes every
10 s. 16 m (52 ft) square tower with lantern and gallery; the lower portion of the tower is pyramidal and the upper portion is cylindrical. Lighthouse
is white; lantern painted black. Miguel Ruiz has the photo at right, and Bing has a satellite view. 200 m (1/8 mi) southwest is a tall control
tower with communications gear and a radar antenna. Located on a cape
at the western entrance to the Bay of Al Hoceïma. Accessible by road.
Site open, tower closed. ARLHS MOR-008; Admiralty E6786; NGA 22788.
- * Al Hoceïma (Alhucemas) East Breakwater
- Date unknown. Active (?); focal plane 14 m (46 ft); green light, 2 s on, 2 s off. 7 m (23 ft) round strongly conical white concrete tower on a square base. Mohammed al Arabi has a distant view, and Google has a satellite view of the breakwater. Located at the original end of the east breakwater at Al Hoceïma. The breakwater has been extended, and the light has probably been moved to a post at the end of the extension. Probably accessible by walking the breakwater. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty E6785.2; NGA 22808.
Sidi Abed Light, Al Hoceïma, October 2011
ex-Panoramio photo copyright Miguel Ruiz; used by permission
Oriental Region: Lighthouses West of Melilla
- * Cap
Quilates (Ra's Tarf, Punta Barbazun)
- Date unknown. Active; focal plane 62 m (203 ft); three white flashes every
12 s. 32 m (105 ft) octagonal 3-stage concrete tower with castellated gallery
and a small lantern, attached to the seaward side of a 2-story concrete keeper's
house. The building is unpainted gray concrete. Miguel Ruiz contributed the 2004 photo at right, Elarbi Amakri has a 2017 closeup photo, Daniel Brieba has another photo, and Bing has an excellent satellite
view. Located on the cape about 40 km (25 mi) east of Al Hoceïma.
Site open, tower closed. ARLHS MOR-004; Admiralty E6784; NGA 22784.
- * Anse
Tramontana (Ra's Barakat, Cala Tramontana)
- Date unknown. Active; focal plane 49 m (161 ft); white light occulting
three times, in a 2+1 pattern, every 12 s. 4 m (13 ft) round cylindrical
concrete tower with a small lantern. Lighthouse is unpainted; lantern
is green. No photo available but Google has a satellite view. Located on a bluff on the west side of the Trois Fourches
peninsula about 15 km (9 mi) northwest of Melilla. Site open, tower
closed. ARLHS MOR-013; Admiralty E6780; NGA 22776.
des Trois Fourches (Ra's Tleta Madari, Cabo Tres Forcas)
- 1909. Active; focal plane 112 m (367 ft); four white flashes, in
a 3+1 pattern, every 20 s. 18 m (59 ft) square cylindrical stone tower
with lantern and gallery, rising from a 2-story stone keeper's house.
A 1st order Fresnel lens is mounted in the lantern, although the light
may have been moved to a post at the seaward end of the building.
The house is dark stone with white trim; lantern painted red with
a green dome. A photo is at the top of this page, Hamid Kaouass has a closeup photo, Abdelbari Talbi has a street view, and Google has a satellite view. In all languages this is the Cape of Three Forks. It lies
at the end of a rocky peninsula projecting about 30 km (19 mi) into
the Mediterranean, making this one of the most critically important
lights on the Moroccan coast. Located on the cape, about 20 km (13
mi) north of Melilla. Accessible by road, although 4WD may be needed.
Site open, tower closed. ARLHS MOR-002; Admiralty E6778; NGA 22772.
- 1928. Active; focal plane 21 m (69 ft); white light occulting
once every 4 s. 5 m (16 ft) round cylindrical masonry tower; lantern
removed. Lighthouse painted with gray and white horizontal bands.
Juan Pascual has a view from the sea, and Google has a satellite view. Located atop a small rocky island off the east side of Ra's
Tleda Madari (Cap des Trois Fourches), about 15 km (9 mi) north of
Melilla. Accessible only by boat. Site and tower closed. ARLHS MOR-025;
Admiralty E6776; NGA 22768.
Cap Quilates Light, August 2004
photo copyright Miguel Ruiz; used by permission
Oriental Region: Lighthouses East of Melilla
- Ra's el Ma (Ra's Kebdana, Cap de l'Eau) (2)
- Date unknown. Active; focal plane 42 m (138 ft); two white flashes
every 6 s. 8 m (26 ft) light tower centered on an octagonal stone
keeper's house. Next to the historic lighthouse is a square cylindrical
concrete tower about 25 m (82 ft) tall carrying a large round control
room. The top of the taller tower has communications gear and a radar
antennas. Lahouari Boulayoun has a distant street view and Google has a good satellite
view. Located on the cape near Ra's Kebdana, just northwest
of the harbor. Site status unknown. ARLHS MOR-018; Admiralty E6757;
- * Ra's Kebdana North Breakwater
- Date unknown. Active; focal plane 12 m (39 ft); green light, 3 s on, 3 s
off. 7 m (23 ft) square cylindrical concrete tower, painted white. This light is on the left in a Lightphotos.net photo of the two lights, Lahouari Boulayoun has a street view along the pier, and Google has a satellite
view. Ra's Kebdana is a modern fishing port at the tip of the Ra's el Ma
peninsula. Located at the end of the north breakwater. Accessible by walking
the pier. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS MOR-035; Admiralty E6757.2; NGA 22721.
- * Ra's Kebdana East Breakwater
- Date unknown. Active; focal plane 13 m (43 ft); red light, 3 s on, 3 s off.
7 m (23 ft) square cylindrical concrete tower, painted white. This light is on the right in a Lightphotos.net photo of the two lights, Lahouari Boulayoun has a street view across the harbor, and Google has a satellite
view. Located at the end of the east breakwater. Accessible by walking
the pier. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS MOR-034; Admiralty E6757.25; NGA
Information available on lost lighthouses:
- Tanger (1883-?). This lighthouse has been demolished. ARLHS MOR-047.
Notable faux lighthouses:
Adjoining pages: Enclaves: Spanish Morocco | East: Western Algeria | West: Morocco Atlantic
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Posted August 18, 2005. Checked and revised April 18, 2019.
Lighthouses: 19. Site copyright 2019 Russ Rowlett and the University of North
Carolina at Chapel Hill.