Lighthouses of Côte d'Ivoire (Ivory Coast)
Côte d'Ivoire, often called Ivory Coast in English,
is a former French colony on the south shore of West Africa between Liberia
and Ghana. Independent since 1960, the country was one of the most prosperous
in West Africa until it began to be troubled by political turmoil in 1999.
Abidjan, the major port and economic center of the country, is a large
city with a population of more than two million.
The coast is mostly quite low; much of it consists of barrier islands backed by large lagoons. Only in the west, in the Bas-Sassandra region, are there hills close to the coast. The country has few natural harbors; Abidjan became a deepwater port only after extensive harbor improvements following World War II.
Lighthouses in the Abidjan area are presumably maintained by the Port
Autonome d'Abidjan. It is not known how lights elsewhere in the country
are managed. Travel outside Abidjan has been dangerous in recent years,
so there is a lack of current photos and visitor reports.
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
Online List of Lights
- Ivory Coast
- Photos posted by Alexander Trabas.
Leuchttürme auf historischen Postkarten
- Historic postcard images posted by Klaus Huelse.
Phare de Petit Bassam, Port Bouët, July 2007
Panoramio photo copyright allblacks; permission requested
- Lagunes Region Lighthouses
- * Grand-Bassam
- 1915. Inactive, though still listed. Approx. 24 m (79 ft) masonry tower with lantern and gallery,
centered on a 1-story masonry keeper's house. Lighthouse painted
white, at least originally; most of the paint is missing in the photo
at right.A 2007 photo is at right, Huelse has a historic postcard
view, and the lighthouse is centered in a Google satellite
history of this substantial lighthouse is obscure. The light
is missing from most post-World War II light lists, and apparently
it was deactivated in 1951. Grand-Bassam, a town about 40 km (25
mi) east of Port Bouët
at the eastern end of the Lagune d'Ébrié,
was briefly the French colonial capital (1893-96). The lighthouse
marked a lagoon entrance which has since silted up, so there is
no modern harbor. Located
in Ancien Bassam, the original French settlement, on the barrier
island separating the ocean from the Lagune Ouladine at Grand Bassam.
Site open, tower closed. ARLHS ICO-013; Admiralty D3137.5; NGA
- * Port Bouët (Petit-Bassam)
- Early 1930s (station established around 1906). Active; focal plane
34 m (112 ft); three white flashes every 14 s. 30 m (98 ft) five-stage
square tower with galleries atop each stage and a small lantern.
Lighthouse painted white, lantern black. A photo is at above, a 2009 photo
and a small photo
are available, and Google has a satellite
view. Klaus Huelse has a postcard
view of the original lighthouse, a two-stage octagonal tower
on a square base, and a second postcard
view showing an earlier appearance of the present tower. The
upper stage of the tower was rebuilt sometime after that photo
was taken. Port Bouët is the original port in the Abidjan
area. Located about 5 km (3 mi) east of the Vridi Canal in Port
open, tower closed. ARLHS ICO-002; Admiralty D3127; NGA 24840.
- Canal de Vridi (Abidjan) Jetée Nord
- Early 1950s. Active; focal plane 16 m (52 ft); green light, 2 s on, 2 s
off. 12 m (39 ft) gray masonry tower with a small lantern and gallery, attached to a 1-story equipment shelter. Lighthouse
unpainted, lantern painted green. Trabas has a photo,
a 2009 photo and another photo are available,
and Google has a satellite
view. The Vridi Canal cuts through the barrier beach, providing large
ships access to the Lagune Ébrié and the port of Abidjan.
The canal was completed in 1951 and helped make Abidjan one of the largest
cities of West Africa. Located at the end of the short north jetty. ARLHS ICO-009;
Admiralty D3129; NGA 24812.
- Canal de Vridi (Abidjan) Jetée Sud (?)
- Early 1950s. Active; focal plane 16 m (52 ft); red light occulting twice
every 6 s. 13 m (43 ft) gray masonry tower with a small lantern and gallery.
Lighthouse unpainted, lantern painted red. Trabas has a photo,
another photo is available, and Google has a satellite
view. Located at the end of the south jetty, which
also serves as a breakwater protecting the entrance. Site status unknown.
ARLHS ICO-010; Admiralty D3128; NGA 24804.
Phare de Grand-Bassam, August 2007
Panoramio photo copyright allblacks; permission requested
- Date unknown. Active; focal plane not listed; white flash every 4 s. 15
m (49 ft) white tower. No photo available, and Google's distant satellite
view shows no detail in this area. Located at Adjué,
about 65 km (40 mi) west of Abidjan. Site status unknown. ARLHS ICO-011;
Admiralty D3126; NGA 24798.
- * Grand Lahou (3)
- Date unknown (station established 1901?). Active; focal plane 13 m (43
ft); three white flashes in a 2+1 pattern every 15 s. 17 m (56 ft) cylindrical
tower with lantern and gallery. Previously painted white with a black lantern,
the lighthouse is now listed as "white and red." No current photo
available, and Google's distant satellite
view shows no detail in this
area. The original Grand
Lahou was a European outpost built on a barrier
island; the French developed it as a base beginning in 1890. The modern
town has relocated to the mainland across the lagoon, leaving the old town
in ruins. The history of the lighthouse is not clear; it appears that the
original light, a tall masonry tower similar to the 1915 Grand Bassam light
(see above), was replaced in the late 1930s by the lighthouse shown in
view posted by Huelse. Ruins of the first lighthouse are visible in
the surf, according to a BBC article.
The present light was built sometime after World War II. Located near
the entrance to the lagoon, about 100 km (60 mi) west of Abidjan. Site
presumably open, tower closed. ARLHS ICO-001; Admiralty D3125; NGA 24796.
Bas-Sassandra Region Lighthouses
- 1908. Active; focal plane 60 m (197 ft); white light occulting once
every 4 s. 7 m (23 ft) tower. The lighthouse was originally painted
white and had a black lantern; we don't know if this tower survives.
No photo available, but the station is probably seen in a Google satellite
view. Located on a promontory on the south side of Sassandra, about 1.6 km (1 mi) southwest of the harbor entrance. Site status unknown. ARLHS ICO-004; Admiralty D3122; NGA
- San Pédro
- Date unknown. Active; focal plane 106 m (348 ft); white flash every 4 s. Square cylindrical skeletal tower, height unknown, painted with red and white horizontal bands. No photo available, but Google has a satellite view. San Pédro is the second largest port of Côte d'Ivoire. Located on a steep headland about 2 km (1.25 mi) northeast of the harbor entrance. Site status unknown. ARLHS ICO-014; Admiralty D3120; NGA
- Tabou (Pointe Tafou)
- 1908. Active; focal plane 25 m (82 ft); three white flashes every
15 s. 14 m (46 ft) round cylindrical tower with lantern and gallery. Lighthouse
painted white with a narrow black horizontal band and a black lantern. Chris Anderson's photo is at right, and Google has a satellite
view. Located on a promontory near Tabou in southwestern Côte
d'Ivoire. Site status unknown. ARLHS ICO-006; Admiralty D3118; NGA
Phare de Tabou, October 2011
photo copyright Chris Anderson; used by permission
Information available on lost lighthouses:
(1908-?), near the Ghanaian border.
Notable faux lighthouses:
Adjoining pages: East: Ghana | West: Liberia
Return to the Lighthouse Directory
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Posted September 13, 2005. Checked and revised August 30, 2012.
Lighthouses: 9. Site copyright 2012 Russ Rowlett and the University of North
Carolina at Chapel Hill.