Lighthouses of Southern Madagascar

Madagascar, the world's fourth-largest island, lies off the southeastern coast of Africa. The island became a French colony in 1885 but has been independent since 1960. Long separated from any other continent, the mini-continent of Madagascar is famous for its unusual plants and wildlife.

The lighthouses of Madagascar, a heritage from France, deserve more attention than they have received in the past. The lack of photos is disappointing, since many of the lighthouses are accessible near coastal towns. Current reports are needed; it appears that many of the historic coastal lights have been abandoned, although harbor lights are being maintained.

French place names in Madagascar have been replaced officially by names in the Malagasy language. However, the traditional French names also remain in common use.

This page includes lighthouses of the former provinces of Toamasina, Fianarantsoa, and Toliara, located respectively on the east coast, southeast coast and southwest coast of the island. There is a separate page covering the northern portion of the country.

Lighthouses in Madagascar are operated by the Agence Portuaire Maritime & Fluviale (APMF). The Malagasy word for lighthouse, fara, was adapted from the French word phare. In Malagasy, nosy is an island and tanjona is a cape.

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
Photos posted by Alain Guyomard and Robert Carceller on their Phares du Monde web site.
Online List of Lights - Madagascar
Photos by various photographers posted by Alexander Trabas.
World of Lighthouses - Madagascar
Photos by various photographers available from Lightphotos.net.
Lighthouses in Madagascar
Photos by various photographers available from Wikimedia.
Afrikanische Leuchttürme auf historischen Postkarten
Historic postcard views posted by Klaus Huelse.
Île aux Nattes Light
Île aux Nattes Light, November 2006
Flickr photo copyright tontonfinger; permission requested

Central East Coast (former Toamasina Province) Lighthouses

Mananara Lighthouse
Îlot Rocheaux
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 8 m (26 ft); continuous red light. 4 m (13 ft) round strongly conical stone tower painted white with a red top. No photo available, but Google has a satellite view. Located on the west end of a sandy island on the east side of the entrance to Mananara. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty D6949.5; NGA 32432.

Nosy Boraha (Île Sainte-Marie) Lighthouses
Note: Nosy Boraha (Île Sainte-Marie) is a long, slender island parallel to the coast and about 15 km (10 mi) offshore. Formerly known as a pirate base, it is now a tourist destination known for its beaches, wildlife, and scuba diving sites.
Îlot Madame (2)
Date unknown (station established 1882). Active; focal plane 9 m (30 ft); green light occulting once every 4 s. 8 m (26 ft) round stone tower. The tower is centered in Frank Taylor's view from the sea, and Google has an indistinct satellite view. NGA describes the tower as white, but it appears unpainted in the photo. Located on the northern tip of a small island marking the entrance to the harbor of Ambodifotatra (Port Sainte-Marie) on the southwestern coast of Nosy Boraha (Île Sainte-Marie). Presumably accessible only by boat; there should be a good view from ferries arriving from the mainland. Site status unknown. ARLHS MAG-025; Admiralty D6952; NGA 32444.
Rocher aux Sorciers (Pointe des Sorciers)
1910. Active; focal plane 18 m (59 ft); white or red light, depending on direction, 2 s on, 2 s off. 6 m (20 ft) octagonal concrete tower, painted white; the light was originally shown through a window. No photo available, but Google has a satellite view. Located on a small island on the north side of the harbor of Ambodifotatra (Port Sainte-Marie). Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. Admiralty D6956; NGA 32440.
** Lohatanjona Antsirakakambana (Pointe Albrand, Nosy Boraha) (2)
1931 (station established 1906). Active; focal plane 80 m (262 ft); white flash every 5 s. 16 m (52 ft) round cast iron tower with six ribs, lantern and gallery, mounted on a concrete base. Lighthouse painted white, lantern black or red. Peter Golz's photo is at right, Johan Slaghuis has an October 2008 photo showing a severely rusted tower, a 2011 photo is available, and Bing has a satellite view. This is typical prefabricated tourelle. Located on heights about 4 km (2.5 mi) south of the northern tip of the island, about 5 km (3 mi) from the resort town of Ambatoroa. Site open, tower said to be open by arrangement with the keeper on duty. Accessible by road. ARLHS MAG-010; Admiralty D6950; NGA 32436.
** Lohatanjona Vohibato (Pointe Blévec, Île aux Nattes) (2)
1914 (station established 1882). Active; focal plane 34 m (112 ft); continuous white light. 7 m (23 ft) round masonry tower with lantern and gallery. Tower painted white, lantern black. A photo is at the top of this page, another good closeup photo is available, and Google has a satellite view. Catherine Reichardt visited the lighthouse in May 2011 and reported that despite its poor appearance the light was active, powered by two automobile batteries. The lighthouse is located at the southern end of Nosy Nato (Île aux Nattes), which is separated from the southern tip of Nosy Boraha (Île Sainte-Marie) by a narrow channel. There are resorts on the island, and transportation is available. Site open, tower reported open by arrangement with the keeper. ARLHS MAG-033; Admiralty D6958; NGA 32452.

Pointe Albrand Light, July 2014
Panoramio photo copyright Peter Golz; permission requested

Toamasina Rural and Urban District Lighthouses
* Lakaria (Lakaria Hill)
1934. Active; focal plane 54 m (177 ft); white light occulting once every 6 s. 11 m (36 ft) white tower. No photo available, but Google has an indistinct satellite view. Located on a hill at Fenoarivo-Atsinanana (Fénérive). Site open, tower closed. ARLHS MAG-026; Admiralty D6960; NGA 32456.
Nosy Alagnagna (Île aux Prunes, Nosy Alanana, Nosy Alañaña)
1932. Active; focal plane 60 m (197 ft); three white flashes, separated by 5 s, every 25 s. 60 m (197 ft) octagonal concrete tower with lantern and gallery. Tower is white concrete; lantern and gallery painted black. A photo is at right, Huelse has a historic postcard view, and Bing has a good satellite view. The tower is 1 m taller than the Port Sa'id lighthouse in Egypt, so it is the tallest African lighthouse if Madagascar is considered part of Africa. Located on a small island about 16 km (10 mi) north northeast of Toamasina (Tamatave), the provincial capital and principal port of central eastern Madagascar. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS MAG-009; Admiralty D6972; NGA 32460.
Toamasina Grande Passe de l'Est (Salazamay) Range Front
Date unknown. Inactive since 2015. 14 m (43 ft) "pyramidal" tower. No photo available; Bing's satellite view shows a tower rising from a small building. Located on the beach about 5 km (3 mi) north of Toamasina. Site presumably open, tower closed. ex-Admiralty D6973; NGA 32464.
Toamasina Grande Passe de l'Est (Salazamay) Range Rear
Date unknown. Active (?); focal plane 23 m (75 ft); quick-flashing white light, intensified on the range line. 16 m (52 ft) "pyramidal" tower. No photo available, and the tower is rather obscure in Bing's satellite view. Located 950 m (0.6 mi) west of the front light. Site status unknown. Admiralty D6973.1; NGA 32468.
* Pointe Tanio (Toamasina, Tamatave) (2)
Late 1990s (station established 1903). Active; focal plane about 40 m (131 ft); white, red, or green light, depending on direction, occulting three times every 12 s. Approx. 37 m (121 ft) round cylindrical concrete tower with lantern and gallery. The tower is unpainted white concrete; lantern and gallery painted black. Sylvain Ming has a closeup photo, Trabas has Rainer Arndt's view from the sea, a distant view is available, and Bing has a satellite view. The original lighthouse, a classic 18 m (59 ft) tapered cast iron tower, was undermined and left leaning at 45° by Tropical Cyclone Geralda in February 1994. Huelse has a historic postcard view of the older tower. Located on a point of land at the northern entrance to the harbor of Toamasina (Tamatave); a map is available. ARLHS MAG-017; Admiralty D6976; NGA 32476.
* Toamasina (Tamatave) Immeuble Portuaire (Harbor Building)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 27 m (89 ft); three flashes, in a 2+1 pattern, every 15 s, white, red, or green depending on direction. Lantern mounted a multistory building painted white with blue trim. A 2010 photo is available, Giovani Bruno has a distant view, and Google has a satellite view. Located on the waterfront in Toamasina. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS MAG-042; Admiralty D6978; NGA 32480.

Île aux Prunes Light, Toamasina, October 2006
Wikimedia Creative Commons photo by maxsnet

Vatomandry District Lighthouse
* Vatomandry
Date unknown. Inactive. Approx. 15 m (49 ft) octagonal concrete tower; the light was shone through a window. No photo available, but the shadow of the tower is visible in a Google satellite view. The harbor entrance at Vatomandry has silted up almost completely and there are no longer any harbor facilities. Located on the barrier island opposite Vatomandry, about 400 m (1/4 mi) north of what's left of the entrance. Site appears open, tower closed.

Mahanoro District Lighthouse
* Mahanoro
1936. Active (?); focal plane 24 m (79 ft); white light occulting once every 6 s. 14 m (46 ft) round cast iron tower with lantern and gallery, mounted on a round concrete pedestal. Lighthouse painted white, lantern and gallery black. A photo and a second photo show the lighthouse to be in poor condition, and Bing has a satellite view. Located on a prominent cape just south of Mahanoro. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty D6988; NGA 32496.

Southeast Coast (former Fianarantsoa Province) Lighthouses

Manakara-Atsimo District Lighthouses
* Mananjary Transverse Range Front
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 15 m (49 ft); green light, intensified on the range line and occulting once every 4 s. 10 m (33 ft) round cylindrical concrete tower, painted with black and white horizontal bands. Wikimedia has Arend Sikkema's closeup photo, and Google has a satellite view. Located on the dune above the beach about 3 km (2 mi) north of Mananjary. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty D6995; NGA 32508.
Mananjary Transverse Range Rear
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 18 m (59 ft); continuous green light, intensified on the range line. 12 m (39 ft) round cylindrical concrete tower, painted with black and white horizontal bands. No photo available, but Bing has a satellite view. Located 400 m (1/4 mi) north northwest of the front light. Site status unknown. Admiralty D6995.1; NGA 32512.
* Emokala Range Front
1939. Active; focal plane 15 m (49 ft); continuous green light. 12 m (39 ft) octagonal concrete tower with a small, off-center lantern. All paint has worn off the tower, leaving it as unpainted white concrete. Bing has a satellite view. Located just behind the beach about 5 km (3 mi) north of Manakara, near the airport. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty D6998; NGA 32520.
* Manakara (Emokala Range Rear)
1939. Active; focal plane 44 m (144 ft); four white flashes every 25 s. 29 m (95 ft) octagonal concrete tower with lantern and gallery. Lantern, gallery, and watch room painted black, the rest of the tower white. A photo by A. Hovestadt is at right, Guyomard and Carceller have J. Evenat's photo, Alain Villevieille has a 2007 photo, Isabelle Jolivat has a view from the train station, and Google has a satellite view. Manakara is a seaport on Madagascar's southeast coast, linked by railroad to the former provincial capital of Fianarantsoa. Located on a hilltop behind the airport 5 km (3 mi) north of Manakara and 1056 m (0.6 mi) northwest of the front light. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS MAG-007; Admiralty D6998.1; NGA 32524.
* Manakara Middle Range Rear
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 19 m (62 ft); quick-flashing white light, visible only on and near the range line. 13 m (43 ft) octagonal concrete tower. The lighthouse was formerly painted white with one black horizontal band, and traces of the black band remain. Bing has a satellite view. The front light is on a small tower at the beach about 800 m (1/2 mi) east. Located about 1.7 km (1.1 mi) southwest of the Emokala lighthouse and 3 km (2 mi) north of Manakara. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty D7000.1; NGA 32532.
Manakara Residency (La Résidence)
1955. Active; focal plane 14 m (46 ft); white, red, or green light depending on direction, occulting twice every 6 s. 10 m (33 ft) white octagonal tower. No photo available, and the tower is not seen in Google's satellite view of the location. Information is needed on his light. Located on the Manakara waterfront, a barrier island. Site status unknown. ARLHS MAG-027; Admiralty D7006; NGA 32544.
Phare de Manakara
Manakara Light, 2007
photo copyright A. Hovestadt; used by permission

Farafangana District Lighthouse
Farafangana (Charbonnier) (2)
Date unknown (station established 1939). Active; focal plane 21 m (69 ft); white light occulting once every 6 s. 16 m (52 ft) octagonal tower, painted white with a black horizontal band. No photo available, but Bing has a satellite view. The original light was 12 m (39 ft) in height. Located on the south side of Farafangana, a port about 80 km (50 mi) south of Manakara. Site status unknown. ARLHS MAG-006; Admiralty D7014; NGA 32548.

South and Southwest Coast (former Toliara Province) Lighthouses

Tôlanaro District Lighthouses
Evatra (Lohatanjona Itaperina, Pointe d'Itapérina)
1907. Inactive since 1960. 7 m (23 ft) white round masonry tower. Lantern and Fresnel lens smashed by vandals many years ago. Keeper's house in ruins. A. Hovestadt's photo is at right, Frédéric Bastat also has a photo, and Bing has a satellite view. This light has continued to be listed internationally despite having been out of service for half a century. Located on a sharp headland about 11 km (7 mi) northeast of Taolagnaro (Fort-Dauphin) and 2 km (1.2 mi) east of the village of Evatra. Accessible by a trail from the village (local guides needed). Site and tower open. ARLHS MAG-015; Admiralty D7018; NGA 32552.
* Tôlanaro (Taolagnaro) Entrance Range Front
1954. Active (?); focal plane 25 m (82 ft); white light occulting once every 4 s, synchronized with the rear light. 10 m (33 ft) square stepped concrete tower, painted white with a black vertical stripe on the range line. Google has a distant satellite view. Hovestadt reports that these range lights were not working when he visited in October 2007. Located atop a slope above the beach in downtown Taolagnaro (Fort-Dauphin). Site open, tower closed. ARLHS MAG-039; Admiralty D7019; NGA 32556.
* Tôlanaro (Taolagnaro) Entrance Range Rear
1954. Active (?); focal plane 47 m (154 ft); white light occulting once every 4 s, synchronized with the front light. 8 m (26 ft) square stepped concrete tower, painted white with a black vertical stripe on the range line. Hovestadt reports that these range lights were not working when he visited in October 2007. Google has a distant satellite view. Located on the north side of Taolagnaro (Fort-Dauphin), but the exact location is unknown. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS MAG-045; Admiralty D7019.1; NGA 32560.
Tôlanaro (Taolagnaro) Second Range Front
1954. Active; focal plane 12 m (39 ft); continuous white light. 12 m (39 ft) square concrete tower with lantern. Lighthouse painted white with a black vertical stripe on the range line. Google has a satellite view. Located at the tip of the peninsula sheltering the harbor of Taolagnaro (Fort-Dauphin). Site status unknown. ARLHS MAG-040; Admiralty D7020; NGA 32564.
Tôlanaro (Taolagnaro) Second Range Rear (Fort Flacourt)
Date unknown (station established 1903). Active; focal plane 38 m (125 ft); white light occulting twice every 6 s. 12 m hexagonal cylindrical concrete tower with lantern. Tower painted white. A 2010 photo and a 2007 photo are available, and Google has a satellite view. Located atop a bluff 40 m (130 ft) south southeast of the front light. Site and tower closed (military reservation). ARLHS MAG-008; Admiralty D7020.1; NGA 32568.
Phare d"evatra
Evatra Light, 2007
photo copyright A. Hovestadt; used by permission

Tsiombe District Lighthouse
**** Tanjona Vohimena (Cap Sainte-Marie)
1971. Active; focal plane 194 m (636 ft); white flash every 10 s. 18 m (59 ft) square stone tower with lantern, gallery, and four ribs at the corners. The tower is unpainted stone with the four ribs and gallery painted white and the lantern black. A. Hovestadt's photo is at right, a 2011 photo is available, Alain Viollet has a photo, Dr. M. Sandrine has a 2012 photo, and Bing has a satellite view of the station. The lighthouse was renovated in 2007, and a new lantern and lamp were installed. The surrounding area is a national park, the Réserve Spéciale de Cap Sainte-Marie. The lighthouse stands on the southernmost tip of Madagascar, atop a spectacular vertical cliff. Site open, and the keeper will conduct tours of the tower for visitors. ARLHS MAG-005; Admiralty D7022; NGA 32576.

Toliara District Lighthouses
Anosy Beacon (Toliary Range Front)
1921. Active; focal plane 12 m (39 ft); continuous red light. 8 m (26 ft) square masonry tower, painted with black and white horizontal bands. No photo available, but Google has a satellite view. The range guides vessels around the north end of the coral reef protecting the harbor. Located on a sand spit that shelters the harbor of Toliara (also called Toliary or Tuléar). Site status unknown. Admiralty D7024; NGA 32580.
Anosy Beacon (Toliary Range Rear)
1921. Active; focal plane 19 m (62 ft); continuous white light. 17 m (56 ft) square masonry tower with lantern, painted white; lantern painted black. No photo available, but Google has a satellite view. Located about 200 m (220 yd) west of the front light. Site status unknown. ARLHS MAG-022; Admiralty D7024.1; NGA 32584.

Morombé District Lighthouses
Nosy Lava (Morombé)
1955. Active; focal plane 28 m (92 ft); white light, 4.5 s on, 1.5 s off. 17 m (56 ft) square masonry tower with lantern, painted white; lantern painted black. Not to be confused with the better-known Nosy Lava Light off Analalava in Mahajanga Province (see above). No photo available, but Google has a satellite view. There is a photo of the island that appears to be taken from atop the lighthouse. Located near the northern tip of a small island about 8 km (5 mi) off the harbor of Morombé. Accessible only by boat; transportation to the island is available in Morombé. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS MAG-041; Admiralty D7027; NGA 32600.
Phare du Cap Sainte-Marie
Cap Sainte Marie Light, 2007
photo copyright A. Hovestadt; used by permission
Morombé Range Rear
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 24 m (79 ft); continuous red light. 15 m (49 ft) pyramidal tower painted white with a black vertical stripe. No photo available, but Bing has a satellite view. This range guides vessels through an opening in the reef protecting Morombé. The front light is on a 10 m (33 ft) tower. Located in a forest south of Morombé. Site status unknown. Admiralty D7028.1; NGA 32608.

Menabe District Lighthouse
* Morondava
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 30 m (98 ft); white or red light, depending on direction, 3 s on, 1 s off. 30 m (98 ft) round water tower. Jacques Denis Dede has a photo, and Google has a satellite view. Located in downtown Morondava. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty D7030; NGA 32616.

Information available on lost lighthouses:

Notable faux lighthouses:

Adjoining pages: North: Northern Madagascar | East: Réunion | West: Mayotte

Return to the Lighthouse Directory index | Ratings key

Posted November 14, 2005. Checked and revised October 26, 2017. Lighthouses: 31. Site copyright 2017 Russ Rowlett and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.