Lighthouses of Southern Mozambique

Mozambique is located on the southeastern coast of Africa, bordering Tanzania to the north and South Africa to the south. The country was a Portuguese colony from the early sixteenth century until it achieved independence in 1975. Independence was followed by a long and bitter civil war that ended in 1992. Since then increasing stability has improved the country's economic situation and opened it to foreign visitors.

Mozambique has the longest coastline of any continental African country, more than 2500 km (1565 mi) in length, facing the island of Madagascar across the Mozambique Channel. The major ports are Pemba in the north, Quelimane and Beira in the center, and Maputo (the capital) in the far south. Mozambique is divided into 10 provinces plus the capital district. This page includes lighthouse in the southern half of the country in the provinces of Sofala, Inhambane, Gaza, and Maputo (province and city).

Portuguese continues as the language of government and trade in Mozambique. The Portuguese word for a lighthouse is farol, plural faróis; a small lightbeacon is often called a farolim. In Portuguese ilha is an island, ilhéu is an islet, cabo is a cape, ponta is a promontory or point of land, rocha is a rock, recife is a reef, baía is a bay, estreito is a strait, rio is a river, and porto is a port or harbor.

Aids to navigation in Mozambique are the responsibility of the National Institute of Hydrography and Navigation (INAHINA).

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 112.

General Sources
Lighthouse Development in Mozambique, 1908-1931
The late Michel Forand contributed this outstanding resource. It includes a translation of a 1931 account of the development of coastal lights in Mozambique, with maps and photos of the lighthouses, plus additional images from Mr. Forand's collection.
Online List of Lights - Mozambique
Photos by various photographers posted by Alexander Trabas. The photos of lights in the Maputo area are by Douglas Cameron.
INAHINA - Faróis
A map shows the locations of the lighthouses. A page has been established for each light, but as of October 2019 these pages contained no information.
Lighthouses in Mozambique
Photos by various photographers available from Wikimedia.
World of Lighthouses - Mozambique
Photos by various photographers available from Lightphotos.net.
Faróis de Moçambique
Excerpts from a book on lighthouses of Mozambique by António Sopa and Laura Chirindja.
Afrikanische Leuchttürme auf historischen Postkarten
Postcards from the collection of Klaus Huelse.
Navionics Charts
Navigational chart information for Mozambique.

Rio Macuti Light
Rio Macuti Light, Beira, 2004
photo copyright Doug Pearson; used by permission

Sofala Province Lighthouses

Beira Area Lighthouses
Beira, the capital of Sofala Province, is the largest city and largest port on the Mozambique coast north of Maputo. Founded by Portugal in 1890, it has a population of more than half a million.

Machesse
Date unknown. Active(?); focal plane 47 m (154 ft); two white flashes every 10.1 s. 40 m (131 ft) square skeletal tower, painted with red and white horizontal bands. No photo available and Bing's satellite view of the listed location does not reveal a tower. Located on the coast about 50 km (30 mi) northeast of Beira. Site status unknown. Admiralty D6563; NGA 31756.
Savane
Date unknown. Active(?); focal plane 52 m (171 ft); white light, 2 s on, 10 s off. 40 m (131 ft) square skeletal tower, painted with black and white horizontal bands. No photo available but Bing's distant satellite view probably locates the station. Located on the coast about 35 km (22 mi) northeast of Beira. Site status unknown. Admiralty D6562; NGA 31760.
* Rio Macuti (Beira)
1904. Active; focal plane 36 m (118 ft); three white flashes every 10 s. 28 m (92 ft) round tower with lantern and double gallery, rising through the center of a 2-story keeper's house. Lighthouse painted with red and white horizontal bands; lantern and galleries are red. Doug Pearson's photo is at the top of this page, Lightphotos.net has a closeup photo, Sam Seyffert has a good 2007 photo and Google has a street view. In front of the lighthouse is the wreck of the freighter Macut. Wikimedia has a photo of the wreck and lighthouse, Rajeev Koul also has a photo, and Google has a satellite view in which the shipwreck is visible. Located on the beach road at the eastern edge of Beira. This is probably Mozambique's best known and most visited lighthouse. Older photos show that it was painted with black and white bands for most of its history; see for example the historic postcard view posted by Klaus Huelse and this 1989 postage stamp. The lighthouse replaced the 1895 light at Ponta Gea (Point Jea). Located on the oceanfront in Macuti, on the eastern edge of Beira. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS MOZ-020; Admiralty D6553; NGA 31764.
Ponta Chingune (Ilha de Chiloane)
Date unknown. Active(?); focal plane 8 m (26 ft); continuous white light. 12 m (39 ft) mast on a white concrete base. No photo available but Google has a satellite view of the station. Located on the east sdie of an estuary entrance about 80 km (50 mi) south of Beira. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty D6548; NGA 31780.
Ponta Ingomaimo
1931. Inactive and abandoned but still listed with focal plane 43 m (141 ft); white flash every 6 s. 40 m (131 ft) hexagonal concrete tower, originally painted white with a black horizontal band, but nearly all the paint has gone. The lantern, now in ruins, was painted red. No photo currently available but Google has a satellite view. The lighthouse is a sibling of the Cabo Delgado lighthouse (see above) and was built in the same year. This area suffered great devastation during the floods caused by Tropical Cyclone Eline in 2000. The lighthouse is now in the surf and gravely endangered. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS MOZ-015; Admiralty D6546; NGA 31784.

Inhambane Province Lighthouses

Vilankulo Area Lighthouses
Vilankulo is a former fishing port now being redeveloped as a resort town.
* Bazaruto (2)
1913 (station established 1897, but apparently it was inactive 1900-1913). Inactive once again, since 2007 at least, but still listed with focal plane 116 m (381 ft); three white flashes every 30 s. 26 m (85 ft) round concrete tower with lantern and gallery, rising from a complex of 1- and 2-story keeper's houses. All buildings painted white; lantern dome painted red. Gravely endangered. The lighthouse was severely damaged by Tropical Cyclone Favio in February 2007 and Jeremy Fawcett has posted a photo showing the damage to the light station. F.H. Mira's August 2008 photo at right shows that no repairs had been made. Google has a satellite view. The lighthouse formerly had a hyperradiant Fresnel lens, one of the largest lighthouse lenses ever built. This priceless lens was not removed from the tower, and by now it is completely gone, the prisms stolen or smashed by vandals. Bazaruto is the largest of a group of islands strung out along the coast north of Vilankulo. The lighthouse was last "rehabilitated" in 1996. The lighthouse is located on the central ridge about 2 km (1.2 mi) south of the north end of the island; accessible by 4WD or a hiking trail from the Pestana Bazaruto Lodge. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS MOZ-002; Admiralty D6540; NGA 31788.
Ilha de Santa Carolina
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 22 m (72 ft); white flash every 5 s. 7 m (23 ft) square white concrete tower. No photo available but Google has a satellite view. Santa Carolina is a small island covered by resorts in the bay sheltered by Bazaruto. Located at the easternmost point of the island. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty D6542; NGA 31792.
* Mucoque (Vilankulo, Ponta Chue) (2?)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 17 m (56 ft); red flash every 2 s. 4 m (13 ft) square white concrete tower mounted atop a beachfront resort. Glynn Le Roux has a photo and Google has a satellite view. Located on a point of land sheltering the harbor of the town. Site open, tower closed. Site manager: Hotel Dona Ana. Admiralty D6544; NGA 31796.
Cape San Sebastian (Ponta São Sebastião)
Date unknown. Active (?); focal plane 38 m (125 ft); five white flashes every 15 s. 8 m (26 ft) round tower, painted red; keeper's house, painted white. No photo available but Google has an indistinct satellite view of the station. Located on a low headland about 35 km (22 mi) southeast of Vilankulo (Vilanculos). However, the indicated position of the lighthouse does not seem to be useful for navigation, so the tower is unlikely to be active. The lighthouse is located near the base of a long, sandy spit on the east side of a peninsula, accessible only by a long (7 km, 4 mi) walk on the beach. Site status unknown. ARLHS MOZ-017; Admiralty D6538; NGA 31800.
Bazaruto Light
Bazaruto Light, Ilha Bazaruto, August 2008
Flickr Creative Commons photo by F.H. Mira

Inhambane Area Lighthouses
Inhambane is a historic seaport and the capital of Inhambane Province. The city is located on the east side of a narrow estuary about 25 km (15 mi) south of the sea. Popular with tourists, it has a population of about 80,000.
Pomene (Ponta da Barra Falsa)
1931. Active (?); focal plane 123 m (404 ft); two white flashes every 10 s. 14 m (46 ft) square skeletal tower with lantern, painted white; lantern painted red. The lighthouse was restored in 1996 but it seemed quite dilapidated in a 2008 photo (no longer online). Google has a satellite view of the station. Ponta da Barra Falsa is a promontory enclosing a small bay at Pomene, about 65 km (40 mi) northeast of Massinga and 95 km (60 mi) south of Vilankulo. There are surf and dive camps in the area, which is under development as a resort. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS MOZ-019; Admiralty D6536; NGA 31804.
Ponta da Barra (Barra, Rio Inhambane) (3?)
1945(?) (station established 1873). Active; focal plane 25 m (82 ft); three white flashes every 10 s. 13 m (43 ft) round cylindrical tower with lantern and gallery; tower painted white, lantern red. 1-story keeper's house nearby. François Bester's photo appears at right, Trabas has a photo by Günther Hess, a fine 2011 photo is available, Wikimedia has Andrew Moir's distant view, Huelse has a historic postcard view, and Google has a good satellite view. A former Inahina page said that "there are indications" that the present tower was built in 1945, replacing the 1900 lighthouse. In any case the lighthouse was restored in 1993 and 1997. Many photos show the lighthouse with a noticeable lean. Ponta da Barra is at the end of the Barra Peninsula, which shelters the Bay of Inhambane. Located on the point of the cape about 25 km (15 mi) northeast of Inhambane; accessible by 4WD. Site open, and nothing prevents visitors from climbing the tower. ARLHS MOZ-013; Admiralty D6532; NGA 31812.
* Cabo das Correntes
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 34 m (112 ft); four white flashes every 10 s. 5 m (17 ft) white square tower. No photo available but Google has a satellite view. The lighthouse is within the Paindane Beach Resort near Inhambane. Site probably open, tower closed. Admiralty D6530; NGA 31816.
Ponta Zavora
1910. Active; focal plane 67 m (220 ft); white flash every 10 s. 16 m (53 ft) round tower with gallery, painted white, adjoining a 1-story keeper's house. Jürgen Barth has a closeup photo, Graham Jackson and friends have posted a photo and report from an October 2004 visit, and Google has a satellite view. The lantern was removed in 1995 when the lighthouse was restored and reactivated. Ponta Zavora is not a prominent cape but it marks a change in the trend of the coastline from northeast to north at the southern entrance to the Mozambique Channel. Located on a promontory just south of Zavora and about 30 km (19 mi) east of Inharrime; accessible from the nearby Zavora Lodge. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS MOZ-018; Admiralty D6528; NGA 31820.
Ponta da Barra Light
Ponta da Barra Light, Inhambane, December 2006
Flickr Creative Commons photo by François Bester

Gaza Province Lighthouses

Xai-Xai Area Lighthouses
Xai-Xai (called João Belo under Portuguese rule) is the capital of Gaza Province. Located on the east side of the Limpopo River delta, it has a population of about 120,000 but no port facilities.

**
Boa Paz (Chidenguele)
1940. Active; focal plane 74 m (243 ft); three white flashes every 10 s. 8 m (26 ft) round tower with lantern and gallery, painted white; lantern painted red. Keeper's house nearby. Wikimedia has a 2011 closeup photo and Google has a satellite view. Located on a bluff behind the beach about 5 km (3 mi) southeast of Chidenguele and 70 km (45 mi) northeast of Xai-Xai. Accessible by road or by hiking from the resort. Site open, tower reported to be open for climbing. ARLHS MOZ-001; Admiralty D6524; NGA 31828.
* Monte Belo (Limpopo River Entrance)
1914. Active; focal plane 93 m (305 ft); white flash every 4.5 s. 14 m (46 ft) round cylindrical stone tower with lantern and gallery, rising through the center of a 1-story keeper's house. Buildings painted white; lantern is red. Vaughn Davies has a good photo, Lars-Ove Westerberg has a closeup photo, and a Google satellite view is available. Davies visited on New Year's Day 2010 and reports that the lighthouse did not seem to be functioning. The lighthouse was restored and reactivated in 1995. Located atop a bluff on the west side of the entrance to the Limpopo River, one of southern Africa's greatest rivers, about 30 km (20 mi) southwest of Xai-Xai. The lighthouse is about 2 km (1.25 mi) northwest of the river's mouth, accessible by a short hike from nearby resorts. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS MOZ-010; Admiralty D6522; NGA 31832.

Maputo Province and City Lighthouses

Maputo Area Lighthouses
Maputo, the capital and largest city of Mozambique, is located at the extreme southern end of the country. Under Portuguese rule, Maputo was named Lourenço Marques after the early 16th century Portuguese captain who explored the Mozambique coast. The city proper has a population of more than 1.1 million and the metropolitan area population is approaching 3 million.

Lacerda
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 61 m (200 ft); three white flashes every 12 s. 10 m (33 ft) square cylindrical aluminum skeletal tower enlosed by white daymark panels. No photo available but Google has a satellite view. This is an approach light guiding vessels to the start of the dredged channel to Maputo. Located on a bluff called Monte Cutfield near Machubo about 55 km (35 mi) north of Maputo. Site status unknown. Admiralty D6491; NGA 31836.
Macomana
Date unknown. Probably inactive; focal plane unknown; white flash every 10 s. NGA's description is "tripod, white building." Google's satellite view reveals a tower perhaps 10 m (33 ft) tall adjacent to a ruined keeper's house. Located about 13 m (8 mi) south of the Lacerda lighthouse. Site status unknown but the station is close to a public beach called Boca Beach. Admiralty D6491.4; NGA 31840.
Baixo Ribeiro (Ribeiro Shoal) (2?)
Date unknown (station established 1914). Active; focal plane about 14 m (46 ft); white or red light, depending on direction, 2.5 s on, 2.5 s off. Approx. 14 m (46 ft) round cylindrical tower with gallery, painted white, mounted on a round pier. No photo available but Bing has a satellite view. Located on a shoal at the northern entrance to Maputo (Delagoa) Bay. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty D6500; NGA 31868.
Canal da Polana Range Front
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 14 m (46 ft); white light occulting once every 8 s. 14 m (46 ft) skeletal tower mounted on a square platform. The tower carries a rectangular daymark colored red with a yellow vertical stripe. Trabas has Cameron's photo and Bing has a satellite view. This is the approach range for Maputo. Located in Maputo (Delagoa) Bay about 3 km (1.8 mi) east of the city. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty D6503; NGA 31876.
Miradouro (Canal da Polana Range Rear)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 69 m (226 ft); white light, 3.5 s on, 2.5 s off. Approx. 12 m (39 ft) rectangular skeletal tower carrying a billboard-size daymark painted red with a yellow vertical stripe. No photo available but Google has a satellite view. Located atop a bluff on the Avenida Friedrich Engels near the Portuguese Embassy. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty D6503.1; NGA 31880.
Maputo Cais de Pesca
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 9 m (30 ft); red flash every 4 s. 7 m (23 ft) building; light displayed from a mast. No photo available but Google has a satellite view. Located at the end of the Molhe de Capitania in Maputo. Site status unknown. Admiralty D6513.
Maputo Pierhead (Luz do Cais, Cais Maputo)
1980. Active; focal plane 9 m (30 ft); two green flashes every 6 s. 7 m (23 ft) square building with gallery, painted white; light displayed from a mast. Trabas has Cameron's photo (also seen at right) and Google has a satellite view. Located at the end of the Vodacom Ferry Dock in Maputo. Site status unknown. ARLHS MOZ-009; Admiralty D6514; NGA 31896.
Luz do Cais, Maputo
Cais Maputo Light, Maputo
photo copyright Douglas Cameron; used by permission
* [Catembe (Range Rear) (3?)]
Date unknown (station established 1893). Active; focal plane 30 m (98 ft); red light occulting once every 4 s. 12 m (39 ft) rectangular daymark panel colored red with a yellow vertical stripe. Trabas has Cameron's photo, and Google has a satellite view. This is the rear light of the entrance range for Maputo. The original lighthouse was described only as an "iron tower." The front light is on a similar daymark panel mounted on piles in the bay 1865 m (1.16 mi) northeast. Located beside a major street in Catembe, on the southwest shore of Maputo Bay. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS MOZ-035; Admiralty D6508.1; NGA 31888.
Canal da Matola Second Range Rear
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 38 m (125 ft); green light, 2 s on, 2 s off. Approx. 20 m (66 ft) square white skeletal tower carrying a daymark painted red with a yellow vertical stripe. No photo available but Google has a satellite view. The range guides vessels leaving an industrial area on the Matola River west of Maputo. The front beacon is not lit. Located at the Hospital Geral Jóse Macamo. Site status unknown. Admiralty D6518.1; NGA 31912.
Canal da Matola First Range Front
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 5 m (16 ft) (?); red light occulting once every 8 s. Approx. 5 m (16 ft) square skeletal tower carrying a daymark painted red with a yellow vertical stripe. No photo available but Google has a satellite view. The range guides vessels upstream in the Matola River to an industrial area. Located in a commerical area. Site and tower closed. Admiralty D6517; NGA 31900.
Canal da Matola First Range Rear
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 23 m (75 ft); red light occulting once every 8 s. Approx. 15 m (49 ft) square skeletal tower carrying a daymark painted red with a yellow vertical stripe. No photo available but Google has a satellite view. Located in a commerical area 805 m (1/2 mi) northwest of the front light. Site and tower closed. Admiralty D6517.1; NGA 31904.

Cabo de Inhaca Area Lighthouses
* Barra Sul Range Front
Date unknown. Inactive at least since 2014. 23 m (75 ft) triangular pyramidal concrete skeletal tower. Maximiliano Perinetti has a 2019 street view from the beach and Google has a satellite view. In 2013 NGA called the light "unreliable" and noted that it no longer aligned properly with the channel; in 2014 it was dropped from the list. Located on the beach at the northern end of Inhaca, about 800 m (1/2 mi) northwest of the lighthouse. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS MOZ-033; ex-Admiralty D6492; ex-NGA 31844.
* Cabo de Inhaca (Range Rear) (2)
1926 (station established 1894). Active; focal plane 109 m (358 ft); three white flashes every 15 s, in a 2+1 pattern; a red light, 2 s on, 2 s off, is shown over extensive shoals to the northwest. The lighthouse formerly served as the rear light of the Barra Sul Range. 31 m (102 ft) hexagonal concrete tower with lantern and gallery, painted white; lantern dome is red. Jordan Liu's 2017 closeup is also seen at right, Anita Potgieter has a 2019 closeup, Teresa Cotrim has several photos, Hannes Steyn has a 2009 view from the sea, Confluence.org has a distant photo from the sea, Tiago Pinhal has a very distant view, and Google has a satellite view. The original lighthouse was a 27.5 m (90 ft) cast iron tower. Inhaca is an island at the southern entrance to the Maputo (Delagoa) Bay. Much of the island is set aside as a nature reserve, but there are also a number of resorts and the island is a popular tourist attraction, accessible from Maputo by air or by passenger ferry daily. The lighthouse is located on a ridge about 800 m (1/2 mi) southwest of the northern end of the island; it is accessible by 4WD, and some of the resorts offer tours to the station. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS MOZ-003; Admiralty D6492.1; NGA 31848.
* Ponta do Ouro (2)
1942 (station established 1934). Active; focal plane 114 m (374 ft); two white flashes every 10 s. 8 m (26 ft) square concrete skeletal tower with double gallery atop to a 1-story keeper's house. Entire lighthouse is white. Paco Matos has a closeup photo, Pedro Alves has a photo, and Google has a satellite view. The lighthouse was rehabilitated and reactivated in 1994. Ponta do Ouro adjoins the South African border and is the site of popular beach and scuba diving resorts. The lighthouse is located atop a steep headland almost precisely on the border; it is seen at the far right, atop the hill, in a photo of the Mar e Sol resort. Accessible by a hiking trail from the resorts. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS MOZ-014; Admiralty D6488; NGA 31928.

Cabo de Inhaca Light, Maputo, June 2017
ex-Google Plus photo by Jordan Liu

Information available on lost lighthouses:

Notable faux lighthouses:

Adjoining pages: North: Northern Mozambique | South: Eastern South Africa

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Posted June 21, 2005. Checked and revised November 4, 2020. Lighthouses: 28. Site copyright 2020 Russ Rowlett and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.