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 are also separate pages for the Spanish cities of 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 volume E of the Admiralty List of Lights & Fog Signals. U.S. NGA List numbers are from Publication 113.

General Sources
Lighthouses in Morocco
Photos available from Wikimedia.
World of Lighthouses - Morocco
Photos available from Lightphotos.net.
Faros Españoles en el Norte de África
Posted by the Melilla port authority, this article by Guillermo Jiménez Abellán discusses half a dozen Spanish lighthouses of North Africa, including several in Melilla and several in Morocco.
Phares du Maroc
Posted by MTP, this page links to postcard views of the major lighthouses.
Phares d'Afrique
Photos by various photographers posted by Alain Guyomard and Robert Carceller.
Afrikanische Leuchttürme auf historischen Postkarten
Historic postcard images posted by Klaus Huelse.

Phare du Cap des Trois Fourches
Cap des Trois Fourches Light, July 2007
Panoramio Creative Commons photo
by Playar

Tangier-Tétouan Region Lighthouses (see also Morocco: Atlantic Coast)
* 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) two-stage Arab-style octagonal concrete (?) tower with gallery and a small lantern. Lighthouse painted white. No closeup photo available; the lighthouse can be seen in a distant view of the cape (click on the photo for a better view) and in a second distant view, and Bing 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 no one seems to have posted a closeup photo. Located on a cape near Mdiq, about 8 km (5 mi) north of Martíl. Site open, tower closed so far as is known. ARLHS MOR-017; Admiralty E6824; NGA 22832.
Oued Laou
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." A very distant view is available, and Bing 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)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 38 m (125 ft); two white flashes every 10 s. 4 m (13 ft) light mounted atop a 1-story square equipment room. Building painted white; the small lantern is black. No photo available; Bing's satellite view suggests that the light may have been replaced by a larger structure. 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.

Taza-Al Hoceima-Taounate Region Lighthouses
* Sidi Abed (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 cylindrical tower with lantern and gallery. 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.
Sidi Abed Light
Sidi Abed Light, Al Hoceïma, October 2011
Panoramio photo copyright Miguel Ruiz; used by permission
* 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. Miguel Ruiz has a 2009 distant view, and Bing 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.

Oriental Region Lighthouses
* 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 has the 2004 photo at right, a distant view is available, 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. Tomás Paz has a 2007 closeup, and Bing 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.
Cap 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, another photo shows the west face of the lighthouse, 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.
Los Farallónes
Date unknown. 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. Tomás Paz has a closeup and another photo, 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
Cap Quilates Light, August 2004
Panoramio photo copyright Miguel Ruiz; used by permission
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. A photo is available, Google has a good satellite view, and a corner of the lighthouse is at the far right in a photo of the control tower. Located on the cape near Ra's Kebdana, just northwest of the harbor. Site status unknown. ARLHS MOR-018; Admiralty E6757; NGA 22720.
* 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. A photo is available, this light is on the left in a Lightphotos.net photo of the two lights, Abdeslam Lahna also has a photo of the port showing both breakwater lights, 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. A photo is available, this light is on the right in a Lightphotos.net photo of the two lights, Abdeslam Lahna also has a photo of the port showing both breakwater lights, 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 22722.

Information available on lost lighthouses:

Notable faux lighthouses:

Adjoining pages: North: Mellila | East: Western Algeria | West: Morocco Atlantic Coast

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Posted August 18, 2005. Checked and revised October 23, 2013. Lighthouses: 12. Site copyright 2013 Russ Rowlett and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.