It'll be interesting to see if this materializes. So much not known yet like the museum's size, the costs, etc.
Kenya is on the brink of building Africa's first underwater museum, which will be dedicated to studying marine life and shipwrecks.
Designs of the proposed museum, which is expected to be open in 2014, have already begun with the help of US architects and a budget for construction costs is being discussed at government level.
"Apart from studying shipwrecks that happened in the Indian Ocean Coast, we will also be studying the marine life that exists [there]... Construction is set to begin soon and it is expected to be fully operational in the next two years," said Cesar Bita, head of archaeology at the National Museums of Kenya.
Kenya will be one of the few countries in the world to have an underwater museum. The US and the United Kingdom have such facilities as well as China, which has the world's largest underwater museum. Egypt is carrying out studies to also construct an underwater museum but it has not advanced its initiative like Kenya.
The museum will be located in the shores near the town of Malindi, a popular tourist destination. "Shipwrecks attract a lot of fish which feed on micro-organisms on the wood [of the ships] and they are also a habitat for the fish and several other aquatic species. We will partner with many organisations in the study of marine life," said Bita.
"The marine life that we aim to study is several species of fish, turtles, and even dolphins because there seems to be a relation between feeding and the shipwrecks," Bita added.
Human remains from the shipwrecks will also be archived in the museum records.
"Building an underwater museum is a good idea but expensive. It is happening when the government has put at least one percent of its annual budget on scientific research and innovations. Other areas however need to be prioritised, such as the science of development," said Prof Germano Mwabu from the department of economics at the University of Nairobi.
The first ever underwater museum in Africa will be opened at Ngomeni Village in Kilifi in the next two years.
The National Museums of Kenya made the disclosure yesterday as excavation works on a ship wreck believed to be over 600 years continued.
The five-year research by Kenyan and Chinese underwater archaeologists has been going on for the last three years.
The aim of the research is to establish business links between the Far East and East Africa at the Ngomeni ship wreck, located 150 kilometres north of Mombasa.
NMK’s head of underwater archaeology Caesar Bita said the site and the surrounding areas would be developed, with a display of the ship wreck model and its photographs.
The scenery would pull in tourists and help the county generate revenue, he said.
Besides tourism, Mr Bita said, the local community would benefit from scholarship opportunities in underwater archaeology.
“Underwater museum can be used for research by locals and foreigners pursuing Master’s and PhD programmes in universities.
A fee can be charged and this will be revenue to the county,” he said.
Kilifi Senator Stewart Madzayo said the venture would help diversify the local tourism sector and make the residents learn to appreciate the importance of education.
Kenya is set to become the first country in sub-Saharan Africa to have an underwater museum.
The museum will be built at the site of a shipwreck at Ngomeni, a historical fishing village in the north coast.
It will be Africa’s educational centre for underwater archaeology, participants attending a workshop in Mombasa were told yesterday.
The National Museums of Kenya (NMK) coast region assistant director for sites and monuments, Mr Athman Hussein Athman, said plans to establish the facility were already in place.
“The government of Kenya, through the NMK, has started to develop the Ngomeni shipwreck site into an underwater museum, the first of its kind in sub-Saharan Africa,” he told the workshop.
He said underwater museums have become major tourist attractions in other countries.
The project will be boosted by the discovery of several shipwrecks in Kenyan waters, Mr Athman said.
He said studies have revealed that the shipwrecks were highly exploitable for scientific research and as tourist attractions.
SourceThe government of Kenya is set to construct the first underwater museum in Sub Saharan Africa in the Coast region. The project which is in line with the country’s blue economy vision is set to boost tourism numbers in the Coast region according to Head of archeology at the National Museum of Kenya Dr. Caesar Bita.
The museum which will also serve as Africa’s educational center for underwater archaeology will be constructed at the site of a shipwreck at Ngomeni which is a historical fishing point in the North Coast. “We aim to develop projects that are cultural since our biggest attractions in Kenya are our heritage, therefore as we aim to attract many tourists we also aim to develop projects that can relate to the blue economy as well,” said Dr. Bita.
Haven't seen anything about the project being stopped. Looks like it has actually been started, so my guess is, it will be built.After years we get traction. Only to lose it to CoVid-19.
But the Malindi area is lockdown and no tourists.Haven't seen anything about the project being stopped. Looks like it has actually been started, so my guess is, it will be built.
When they do, I really hope they will allocate space for an underwater restaurant as well. That would be another first in SSA!