Lighthouses of the Democratic Republic of the Congo

There are two central African nations named for the Congo River: the Republic of the Congo and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Both nations have been independent since 1960.

The Democratic Republic of the Congo is the former Belgian Congo. Sometimes called Congo (Kinshasa) and formerly called Zaire, the Democratic Republic is located mostly south of the Congo River in the interior of the continent. The country has only a very short Atlantic coastline, about 35 km (22 mi) long, extending north from the river's mouth. The south side of the mouth of the Congo is in Angola, and north of the Democratic Republic's coastline is the disjunct Angolan province of Cabinda. Thus the coast of the Democratic Republic is the western end of a narrow corridor through Angolan territory.

The coast has no port facilities. The DRC's principal seaports are Boma, located on the north bank of the Congo about 100 km (60 mi) from the coast, and Matadi, located on the south bank of the Congo about 150 km (90 mi) from the coast. Navigational aids in the Democratic Republic are presumably maintained by the Office National des Transports (ONATRA), which operates the ports of Boma and Matadi.

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
World of Lighthouses - Congo Kinshasa
Photos by various photographers available from Lightphotos.net.
Afrikanische Leuchttürme auf historischen Postkarten
Historic postcard views from the collection of Klaus Huelse.

Moanda Light
Muanda Light, Muanda, April 2008
photo copyright Alan Munday; used by permission

Lighthouses
Pointe Bulabemba (Île Bulabemba) (2)
Date unknown (station established 1903). Active; focal plane 17 m (56 ft); white or red light, depending on direction, 3 s on, 3 s off. Approx. 15 m (49 ft) tripod tower with lantern and gallery, painted white. Samuel Hedouin contributed the photo below, and Google has a satellite view. Bulabemba was the site of a political prison, but Hedouin reports that the prison has been closed. Located on the north side of the mouth of the Congo River. Site and tower closed. Admiralty D4390; NGA 25524.
* Muanda (Moanda)
1903. Inactive for many years. Approx. 13 m (43 ft) square cylindrical brick tower with lantern and gallery. The lighthouse is unpainted red-brown brick with white stone trim. Alan Munday contributed the excellent 2008 photo above, Paolo Flores has a 1972 photo, Lightphotos.net has a distant view by Nanette Filou, Michel Forand has a historic postcard view, Huelse has a second postcard view, and Google has a satellite view. Located on a headland at Muanda, near the center of the Democratic Republic's coastline. Site open, tower status unknown. ARLHS DRC-001.
* Pointe Kipundji (Kupundji, Nsiamfumu)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 31 m (102 ft); white flash every 5 s. 9.5 m round cylindrical cast iron tower with lantern and gallery, rising through the center of an octagonal wood keeper's cottage supported by iron pilings. Lighthouse painted white. Samuel Hedouin contributed the photo below, and Google has a satellite view. Located on a headland at Nsiamfumu, near the northern end of the Democratic Republic's coastline. Site open, tower status unknown. ARLHS DRC-002; Admiralty D4370; NGA 25516.
Phare de Pointe Kipundji
Kipundji Light, Nsiamfumu, May 2006
Panoramio photo copyright Samuel Hedouin; used by permission

Bulabemba Light, Bulabemba, May 2007
photo copyright Samuel Hedouin; used by permission

Information available on lost lighthouses:

Notable faux lighthouses:

Adjoining page: Angola

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Posted October 17, 2007. Checked and revised October 31, 2014. Lighthouses: 3. Site copyright 2014 Russ Rowlett and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.