Lighthouses of Namibia
Namibia is an independent country of southern Africa. Formerly called South West Africa, Namibia's colonial history began in 1878, when Britain took control of the port
of Walvis Bay. The rest of South West Africa became a German colony in
1884. South African troops occupied the German colony in 1915, early in
World War I, and South Africa remained in control of the territory for
the next 75 years. After a lengthy struggle, Namibia became independent
in 1990, although South Africa did not cede its control of the Walvis Bay
enclave until 1994. Since the end of the apartheid government in South
Africa, relations between the two countries have become much friendlier.
Aids to navigation in Namibia are maintained by Namport,
the national port authority. There are three active
traditional lighthouses in the country, plus one additional
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
an der namibischen Küste
- Photos by various photographers posted by Bernd Claußen.
List of Lights - Namibia
- Photos by various photographers posted by Alex Trabas.
- Photos available from Wikimedia.
- Lighthouses of Africa
- Historic postcard views posted by Michel Forand.
Leuchttürme auf historischen Postkarten
- Historic postcard views posted by Klaus Huelse.
Dias Point Light, Lüderitz, July 2006
Flickr Creative Commons photo by Damien du Toit
- Lüderitz (Karas Region) Lighthouses
- Note: Lüderitz is
the only naturally protected harbor in Namibia other than Walvis
Bay. Founded in 1883, it is primarily a fishing port. The population of the town is about 13,000.
- * Dias
- 1915 (station established 1903). Active; focal plane 53 m (174 ft);
white flash every 10 s. 28 m (92 ft) tower with lantern and gallery,
mounted on a 1-story hexagonal stone base. The tower is painted with
red and white horizontal bands. Fog horn (one 2 s blast every 20 s)
located 450 m (1/4 mi) north. A fog
signal tower also survives. Also nearby is a stone
cross commemorating the landing here by the Portuguese explorer
Bartolomeu Dias in 1487. Damien du Toit's photo is above, Brian
McMorrow has a portfolio of photos,
and Google has a satellite
view. Forand has a postcard
view of the original lighthouse, a short masonry tower, and Wikimedia has a photo showing both lighthouses. Dias Point
shelters Robert Harbor, the bay of Lüderitz. Located on heights about 500 m (0.3 mi) south of the tip of the
point. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS NAM-002; Admiralty D5600; NGA
- ** Shark
- 1903. Inactive. Approx. 12 m (40 ft) square cylindrical tower with
gallery attached to a 1-story keeper's house. Lantern removed. The
building has been repainted buff with green trim. Andrew Haliburton's photo is at right, Wikimedia has a
by Peter Stenglein, another excellent photo
is available, and Google has a satellite
view. The old lighthouse is now incorporated in a resort and has
several rooms available for overnight accommodations. Now joined to
the mainland at its south end, Shark Island shelters the small harbor
of Lüderitz. Located at the highest point of the "island"
and accessible by road. Site open, lighthouse open to guests. Owner:
Wildlife Resorts. Site manager: Shark
Island Resort. ARLHS NAM-005.
Shark Island Light, Lüderitz, September 2009
photo copyright Andrew Haliburton; used by permission
- * Shark Island (2)
- Date unknown (station established 1903). Active; focal plane 34
m (111 ft); white, red, or green light depending on direction, 2.5
s on, 7.5 s off. Approx. 15 m (49 ft) square pyramidal skeletal tower
with gallery, painted white. Andrew Haliburton's photo is above right, Stefanie Schweda also has a photo
of the active light standing in front of the old lighthouse, and Forand has an amateur radio QSL card showing both lighthouses. Located
a short distance seaward of the historic lighthouse. Site open, tower
closed. Admiralty D5606; NGA 25808.
Walvis Bay and Swakopmund (Erongo Region) Lighthouses
- Note: The former British/South African enclave of Walvis Bay is Namibia's only deep-water port. The town has a population of about 85,000 and is the terminal of a railway leading to the Namibian capital of Windhoek. The name of the bay comes from the German Walfischbucht, "Whale Bay"; Walvis Baai is the Afrikaans equivalent.
Point (Walvis Bay) (2)
- 1932 (station established 1916). Active; focal plane 35 m (115 ft); three
white flashes, separated by 3.6 s, every 20 s. 34 m (112 ft) round cast iron
tower with lantern and gallery. Tower painted with black and white horizontal
bands; lantern painted red. An adjacent 3-story building, apparently abandoned
now, was a harbor control center. Fog horn (one short blast, two long blasts,
and one short blast every 30 s) located 180 m (200 yd) north. Carlos Reis's
photo appears at right, Scott Robertson's photo and a historical account are available, and Google has a good satellite
view. Ordered originally by the government of South Africa for use at Durban in eastern South Africa, the lighthouse was installed instead at Walvis Bay, then under South African administration. It replaced a
post light hastily erected after South African troops recaptured Walvis Bay from German troops during World War I. A powerful light with a range of 40 km (25 mi) was installed in 1961. Pelican Point is a long sandy peninsula sheltering Walvis
Bay, the best naturally protected harbor on the southwest African coast.
The light station was built at the tip of the peninsula, but over the past century the spit has extended itself almost 2 km (1.2 mi) farther to the north. The spit is a protected nature reserve, and access is limited, but tours to the light station are available from the town's waterfront. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS NAM-003; Admiralty D5520; NGA 25756.
Pelican Point Light, Walvis Bay, May 2007
Flickr Creative Commons photo by Carlos Reis
- ** Swakopmund
- 1903 (extended in 1910). Active; focal plane 35 m (115 ft); two
white flashes, separated by 2.3 s, every 10 s. 28 m (92 ft) round
tower with lantern and double gallery. The upper portion painted with
red and white horizontal bands; the lower portion is unpainted brick.
The lower 11 m (36 ft) is the original 1902 lighthouse; the upper
section was added in 1910. A photo is at right, Kevin
Rutterford has a good photo,
Hannes Steyn has another lovely photo,
Wikimedia has a photo
by Harald Süpfle, a fine 2010 photo and another closeup photo are available, and Google has a satellite
view. Forand has postcard views of the lighthouse in its original
form (note the hoist-type lamp then in use), after its lantern was installed, and at its present height; Wikipedia has a historic
photo from the colonial history collection of the University of
Frankfurt am Main. The lighthouse replaced a short-lived lighthouse on the town's mole; built in 1902, it was washed away by a storm only months later. The lantern of the present light was installed in 1982, along with a more powerful light having a range of 33 km (20 mi). The town of Swakopmund
was founded by the Germans in 1892 as the seaport of their colony,
the better harbor of Walvis Bay being in British hands. It is a port
no longer; today the town, with its turn-of-the-century German architecture,
is a popular seaside resort. The keeper's house includes a café and a small museum devoted to the history of the town and the lighthouse. Located on Dr. Ludwig Koch Street, near
the beach in downtown Swakopmund, about 40 km (25 mi) north of Walvis
Bay. Site and keeper's house open daily, tower closed. ARLHS NAM-004; Admiralty D5510; NGA
Swakopmund Light, Swakopmund, February 2009
Flickr Creative Commons photo by Potjie
Information available on lost lighthouses:
Notable faux lighthouses:
Adjoining pages: North: Angola | South: Western South Africa
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Posted May 24, 2005. Checked and revised July 28, 2013. Lighthouses:
5. Site copyright 2013 Russ Rowlett and the University of North Carolina
at Chapel Hill.