If you find yourself in Beira, Mozambique, it’s well worth a visit to Macuti Beach to witness this unusual scene: the remains of an old shipwreck lying on the sand directly in front of a mysterious abandoned lighthouse.
At high tide, only a few rusted bulkheads are visible above the breakers, but at low tide, you can walk or wade right through the wreckage. In the light of early morning or late afternoon, the place has an almost surreal, brooding vibe.
The red-and-white-striped Macuti Lighthouse (the beach is named after it) has stood here since 1904, but has been derelict for almost the last 20 years. In 1985, a seagoing tug, also christened “Macuti,” was intentionally run aground directly in front of the old lighthouse to serve as a breakwater. It seems like an ironic and inglorious end for a vessel that was once important enough to be featured on a Mozambican postage stamp.
During the day, especially on weekends, the lighthouse and beach are a popular local hangout. Prepare for scores of locals enjoying the sun. Get a drink from one of the many bars nearby and sip as you sit at the foot of the lighthouse looking out at what’s left of the Macuti. Visit at after dark on a clear night, at low tide (about 11 p.m.), for the most enchanting views.
Know Before You Go
Macuti Beach is along the main coast road between Beira city and the airport. The red and white lighthouse is plainly visible from the road. Some people have been able to get inside and climb to the top of the lighthouse for a commanding view of the beach and shipwreck.