The Lighthouse of Mombasa




















































Mombasa 1952




Much local interest was evinced in the Ras Serani high light, the only major lighthouse on the British East African coast, which cast its 21-mile beam across the Indian Ocean for the first time on 24th July. At the top of its 108-ft. high tower a one-second flash every five seconds provides the latest navigational aid to ships, helping them to keep on course in the variable currents of the waters off Mom­basa. The tower, which was built by the Administration, is of pre-cast concrete blocks.

Click on Photo

Click on Photo



Lighthouses of Kenya












Kenya is a nation on the equatorial east coast of Africa. Although the Portuguese were the first European colonists in Kenya, the country became a British colony from 1890 and remained under British control until it became independent in 1963. Of the East African nations, it has the shortest coastline and is in general the least maritime. However, the coastal city of Mombasa is a major seaport.

The Kilifi Light

The Kilifi light is a metal tower on a concrete plinth and is comparatively easy to service. But, some years ago, this light and a similar one at Malindi were frequently being extinguished. The reason was that bees were nesting in the metal spinnings which form the hood, or lid, of the lanterns. A minor modification to the hood cured the trouble and the lights have given unbroken service ever since.

The Malkia sailed on to Malindi and came to anchor in the Bay. The lighthouse there is situated on the hill behind the Vasco da Gama pillar and roughly in the position where it is thought the Portuguese maintained a beacon during their occupation during the 17th and 18th centuries, a time when there was a continual coming and going of men o’ war and merchant vessels. The Malindi light is mounted on a 44 - foot metal tower, the cylinder housing being at ground level, the whole surrounded by a strong iron fence.

Mr. Dev Raj, charge hand of navigational lights, climbed the beacon, checked the mechanism, supervised the extraction of the old cylinders and fitting of replacements. For fifteen years Mr. Dev Raj has worked with the coastal lights; he knows the idio- syncracies of each of them. It is his job to keep them flashing year in and out; to see they maintain a correct gas pressure in order that the dissolved acetylene in each cylinder be released at the correct rate to keep the light at work for the prescribed time.

The Pillar Reef Beacon at Malindi is situated in the reef swell where the water is rarely calm. The cylinders were taken off Malkia in a dinghy equipped with an out­board; taken to the lee side of the beacon and then raised by hoist to the cylinder chamber some twenty feet above sea level. This beacon marks the edge of the reef guarding Malindi Bay and shows a red sector over the reef itself, giving a danger signal to approach­ing vessels, in common with most other lights this one is fitted with a sunvalve that switches on the light at dusk and extinguishes it at dawn.

State of the Coast Report


Towards Integrated Management of Coastal and Marine Resources in Kenya