Lighthouses of Réunion

Réunion is a volcanic island in the Indian Ocean roughly 800 km (500 mi) east of Madagascar. The island is elliptical in shape, about 70 km (45 mi) by 40 km (25 mi). It was uninhabited when Portuguese navigators discovered it 1513. Settled by the French around 1640, Réunion has remained French ever since; today it is an overseas département of the French Republic. The island has a population of about 840,000.

Réunion has no natural harbors of any size, so beginning in the late nineteenth century an artificial harbor called Port Réunion, or simply Le Port, was cut into the coast near Pointe des Galets, at the northwestern corner of the island.

The French word for a lighthouse, phare, is often reserved for the larger coastal lighthouses; a smaller light or harbor light is called a feu (literally "fire," but here meaning "light"). The front light of a range (alignement) is the feu antérieur and the rear light is the feu postérieur.

Lighthouses in Réunion are operated and maintained by the Direction de l'Environnement, de l'Aménagement et du Logement (DEAL). DEAL also maintains the lights of the French Southern and Antarctic Territories, which are described on a separate page.

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
Phares d'Afrique
A section of Phares à travers le Monde, the outstanding web site of Alain Guyomard and Robert Carceller; links to several pages on Réunion lighthouses.
Online List of Lights - Île de la Réunion
Photos by various photographers posted by Alex Trabas.
Lighthouses in Réunion
Photos available from Wikimedia.
Afrikanische Leuchttürme auf historischen Postkarten
Historic postcard views posted by Klaus Huelse.
Feu de la Jetée Sud, Port Réunion
Jetée Sud Light, Port Réunion, June 2005
Panoramio photo copyright Julie Alexandre; used by permission
Lighthouses
Port Réunion Jetée Sud
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 13 m (43 ft); green flash every 4 s. 11 m (36 ft) square skeletal tower with gallery and an enclosed structure below the gallery. Tower painted white with a green horizontal band below the gallery. Julie Alexandre's photo is above, another dramatic photo is available, Jérémie Noiret also has a photo, and Google has a satellite view. Port Réunion, the island's only commercial port, is at the northwestern corner of the island about 25 km (15 mi) west southwest of the capital, Saint-Denis. Located at the end of the south jetty, guarding the entrance to the harbor. Site and tower closed. Admiralty D7078; NGA 32908.
Port Réunion Jetée Nord
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 13 m (43 ft); quick-flashing red light. 11 m (36 ft) square skeletal tower with gallery and an enclosed structure below the gallery. Tower painted white with a red horizontal band below the gallery. Jérémie Noiret has a closeup, another photo is available, and Google has a satellite view. Located at the end of the north jetty, guarding the entrance to the harbor. Site and tower closed. ARLHS REU-015; Admiralty D7081.9; NGA 32912.
* Le Port (Port Réunion)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 31 m (102 ft); two white flashes every 6 s. 26 m (85 ft) cement silo, according to NGA. Julie Alexandre has a view from the north jetty (a portion is seen at right), and Google has a satellite view. This is not a very glamourous lighthouse, but it is the landfall light for the port with a range of 39 km (24 mi). Located just inside the entrance to Port Réunion. Site and tower closed. Site manager: Lafarge S.A. ARLHS REU-007; Admiralty D7077; NGA 32896.
Port Est Jetée de l'Ouest
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 15 m (49 ft); green flash every 4 s. 10 m (33 ft) elliptical cylindrical concrete tower with a flared top. Lighthouse painted white with a green band at the top. Trabas has Douglas Cameron's photo, and Google has a satellite view. Located on the short west jetty of the newer Port Est (East Port), about 4 km (2.5 mi) east of the older port. Site status unknown. Admiralty D7083.75; NGA 32952.
Port Est Jetée de l'Est
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 15 m (49 ft); red flash every 4 s. 10 m (33 ft) elliptical cylindrical concrete tower with a flared top. Lighthouse painted white with a red band at the top. A closeup photo is available, Trabas has Douglas Cameron's photo, and Google has a satellite view. Located on the short east jetty of the newer Port Est (East Port). Site status unknown. Admiralty D7083.7; NGA 32956.
Feu du Port
Port Réunion Light, Port Réunion, June 2005
Panoramio photo copyright Julie Alexandre; used by permission
* Sainte-Marie West Breakwater
Date unknown. Active; focal plane about 7 m (23 ft); green flash every 2.5 s. 4 m (13 ft) square skeletal tower with gallery, painted white. Philippe Mathieu has a photo, and Google has a satellite view. Located on the west side of the entrance to the yacht harbor of Sainte-Marie, at the east end of the island's international airport. Site open, tower closed. NGA 32970.
* Sainte-Marie East Breakwater
Date unknown. Active; focal plane about 7 m (23 ft); red flash every 2.5 s. Not described by NGA, but presumably similar to the West Breakwater Light. No photo available, but Google has a satellite view. Located on the east side of the entrance to the yacht harbor of Sainte-Marie. Site open, tower closed. NGA 32970.2.
*** Pointe de Bel-Air (Sainte-Suzanne)
1846. Active; focal plane 48 m (157 ft); three white flashes every 15 s. 25 m (82 ft) cylindical masonry tower with lantern and gallery. Tower painted white with a red band below the gallery; lantern is metallic green. 1-story keeper's house. Réunion's only surviving nineteenth century lighthouse. A 2008 photo by Bruno Navez is at right, a 2007 closeup and a 2011 closeup are available, Lighthouse Explorer has a historic photo contributed by Michel Forand, Huelse has a historic postcard view, and Google has a satellite view. The lighthouse was staffed until 1985, with keepers winding the clockwork mechanism every 4 hours. Although Guyomard writes that the lighthouse is not visitable, it was fully restored in 1996 and has been open to the public ever since. The restoration was the result of efforts by the Association pour la Sauvegarde du Patrimoine de Sainte-Suzanne (Assaupass), which now manages the light station. Located at Sainte-Suzanne, about 25 km (15 mi) east of Saint-Denis. Site open, tower open for climbing Saturdays and Sundays. ARLHS REU-002; Admiralty D7084; NGA 32972.
* Sainte-Rose-la-Marine
Date unknown. Active; focal plane about 15 m (49 ft). 12 m (39 ft) square skeletal tower with lantern and gallery. Tower painted white, lantern and gallery red. Guyomard and Carceller have a photo, and a distant view and another photo are available, and Google has a satellite view. Located at the end of the breakwater mole of a small boat harbor at Saint-Rose, on the northeast coast of the island. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty D7085.
* Pointe de la Table
About 1989. Active; focal plane 60 m (197 ft); white light occulting twice every 6 s. 6 m square cylindrical concrete tower, the lower half enclosed, with gallery. The tower is unpainted gray concrete. Google has a satellite view that probably shows the tower. The lighthouse was built on a 1986 lava flow from the nearby Piton de la Fournaise volcano, which added some 30 hectares (74 acres) to the area of the island. Located at the southeastern tip of Réunion, about 3 km (2 mi) northeast of Saint-Phillippe. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS REU-001; Admiralty D7086; NGA 32976.
Pointe de Bel-Air Light
Pointe de Bel-Air Light, Sainte-Suzanne, April 2008
Wikimedia Creative Commons photo by Bruno Navez
* Saint-Pierre (Terre-Sainte)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 13 m (43 ft); flash every 4 s, white or green depending on direction. 11 m (36 ft) square skeletal tower with gallery and an enclosed structure below the gallery. Tower painted white with a green horizontal band below the gallery. Wikimedia has photos, a distant view is available, and Google has a satellite view. Located on the east breakwater at Saint-Pierre, the principal town on the south coast of Réunion. Accessible by walking the pier. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty D7089.05; NGA 32978.

Information available on lost lighthouses:

Notable faux lighthouses:

Adjoining pages: North: Seychelles | East: Mauritius

Return to the Lighthouse Directory index | Ratings key

Posted November 14, 2005. Checked and revised June 15, 2013. Lighthouses: 11. Site copyright 2013 Russ Rowlett and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.