Vessels moor alongside a quay built on a remarkable sandspit, which protects Lobito Bay and provides a large area of smooth water. This sandspit is about three miles long by about 250 yds wide. Its sides shelve so steeply that large vessels may approach within a few yards of it.
It is the second most important town in the Portuguese Colony of Angola. It is considered the best harbour on the West African coast.
Lobito is the terminus of the Benguela Railway, which crosses the Colony to the Congo border where it connects with the line through Belgian territory and so, by way of Northern and Southern Rhodesia, provides direct rail communication with all parts of Southern Africa. The rail distance to Cape Town is 3,610 miles.
The chief exports of Lobito are maize, beeswax, hides, sugar, salt, oil seeds, beans, sisal and manioc.
The coast was discovered by the Portuguese navigator Diogo Cão in 1482 and points have been occupied by the Portuguese since 1505, except from 1641 to 1648 when they were in Dutch hands.
The port of Benguela, which lies 20 miles away, is a town older than Cape Town and the first fort was built there in 1587.