Lighthouses of Sudan

Sudan is one of the largest countries in Africa, but its coastline is limited to about 850 km (530 mi) on the Red Sea between Egypt and Eritrea. British forces conquered Sudan in the 1890s, and in 1899 the country was placed nominally under joint British and Egyptian rule. In fact, Sudan was administered as a British colony until it was granted independence in 1956.

Bur Sudan (Port Sudan), founded by the British colonial government in 1905, is the prinicipal port. Although violence has marred the southern and western parts of the country for many years, the coastline has been relatively peaceful and is open to tourism. Coral reefs off the Sudanese coast in the Red Sea attract scuba divers from around the world.

The Arabic word for a lighthouse is mnarh or manara (منارة). Ra's is a cape, jaza'ir or jazirat is an island, and shi'b is a reef.

Aids to navigation in Sudan are maintained by the Sudan Sea Ports Corporation.

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 112.

General Sources
Afrikanische Leuchttürme auf historischen Postkarten
Historic postcard images posted by Klaus Huelse.
Red Sea Lighthouses
Abington Reef
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 30 m (98 ft); two white flashes every 18 s. 30 m (98 ft) square pyramidal iron skeletal tower with gallery, mounted on a square concrete pier. A photo is available, and Google has a fuzzy satellite view. Located on a reef about 30 km (19 mi) due east of the fishing port of Muhammad Qol (Qawl) in the northeastern corner of Sudan. This reef is also a popular dive site, but it is much more remote than Sanganeb Reef. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS SUD-001; Admiralty E6058; NGA 30608.

Sanganeb Reef Light
Sanganeb Reef Light, Red Sea, December 2007
Flickr Creative Commons photo by Clifton Beard

** Sanganeb Reef (2)
Date unknown (station established 1906). Active; focal plane 50 m (165 ft); white flash every 5 s. 50 m (165 ft) concrete tower with lantern and gallery, attached to a 2-story concrete crew quarters. Fog horn (3 s blast every 30 s). Clifton Beard's photo is above, Jonathan Proud has posted numerous photos, another nice photo is available, Colin Jones has a 2007 photo, and Dusan Richtarik has a 2009 photo, but the reef does not appear in Google's satellite view. Sanganeb Reef is one of several very dangerous reefs in the Red Sea east and northeast of Bur Sudan. This light station is one of a chain of stations established by the British on desert islands of the Red Sea to protect shipping between Europe and Asia. The original lighthouse, seen in a postcard view posted by Huelse, was a wonder of its age, a 55 m (180 ft) skeletal lighthouse similar in design to the Florida Reef lighthouses in the U.S. The present lighthouse is permanently staffed by the Sudanese military as an assertion of Sudanese sovereignty over the reefs. The reef is considered one of the best diving sites in the world, and no expedition to the reef is complete without climbing the lighthouse. Located at the south point of the reef about 25 km (16 mi) east northeast of the Bur Sudan entrance. Accessible only by boat; boats can be chartered at Bur Sudan. Site open, tower open by arrangement with the keepers. ARLHS SUD-003; Admiralty E6058.5; NGA 30612.

Bur Sudan (Port Sudan) Lighthouses
Nimra Talata (Wingate Reef) East
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 7 m (23 ft); three white flashes every 15 s. 7 m (23 ft) concrete tower, painted in a black and white checkered pattern, mounted on a concrete pier. No photo available, but Bing has a distant satellite view. Wingate Reef is famous among divers for the wreck of the Umbria, an Italian freighter that sank in June 1940 carrying munitions to Italian troops in East Africa. Located at the northeastern tip of the reef system, about 15 km (9 mi) off the entrance to Bur Sudan. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS SUD-004; Admiralty E6059; NGA 30620.
Nimra Talata (Wingate Reef) South
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 8.5 m (28 ft); green flash every 3 s. 8 m (26 ft) skeletal tower, painted black, with a white equipment shelter, mounted on a platform supported by piles. No photo available, but Bing has a distant satellite view. Located at the south end of the reef, about 5 km (3 mi) southwest of Wingate Reef East light. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty E6059.2; NGA 30616.
* Bur Sudan Harbor Range Front
2004. Active; focal plane about 36 m (118 ft); continuous red neon light. 34.5 m (113 ft) square pyramidal skeletal tower. A photo is available (taken from the front of the Hilton Hotel), and Bing has an indistinct satellite view. The rear light is on a similar tower 969 m (0.6 mi) northwest. Located in downtown Port Sudan. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty E6061; NGA 30648.
#Bur Sudan (Port Sudan) Pilot Tower
Date unknown. Inactive since 2006 and apparently demolished. 23 m (75 ft) square cylindrical tower with a large observation and control room, topped by radar equipment . The building was white with red-brown trim; from a distance it appeared to have brown and white vertical striping. A good photo is available. Bing has a satellite view of a new harbor control tower built on the north side of the harbor entrance. An aerial photo of that tower shows a lantern at the top, but the tower is not listed as a navigational aid. The old tower was located on the south side of the harbor. ARLHS SUD-005; ex-Admiralty E6060.6; ex-NGA 30638.
Bur Sudan (Port Sudan) Entrance
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 19 m (63 ft); two white flashes every 10 s. 22 m (72 ft) round stone tower with lantern and gallery, painted black with one white horizontal band; lantern painted white. Graham Merg has a distant view, and Bing has a satellite view. Located on a usually-submerged sandbar on the south side of the entrance to Bur Sudan; a map shows the location. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. ARLHS SUD-002; Admiralty E6059.4; NGA 30636.

Information available on lost lighthouses:

Notable faux lighthouses:

Adjoining pages: North: Egypt Red Sea | South: Eritrea

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Posted July 6, 2005. Checked and revised May 6, 2013. Lighthouses: 7. Site copyright 2013 Russ Rowlett and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.