Kenya to build first underwater museum in sub-Saharan Africa

The construction of the first underwater museum has started to take shape as archeologists step up their efforts to discover more shipwrecks along Kenya’s Coastal line.

Head of archeology at the National Museum Kenya, Coast region, Dr Caesar Bita, said underwater museum is going to be a major boost in the country’s economy and is in line with the blue economy’s vision.

“We are trying to develop projects that relate to blue economy, and that are cultural. Cultural heritage is one of the biggest attractions in Kenya. We have many tourist attraction sites near and under the sea,” said Dr Bita.

The museum, that will be the first in the sub Saharan African, is set to be built at the site of shipwreck at Ngomeni, a historical fishing village in the North Coast.

“The country is pushing for the implementation of the Blue economy for sustainable economic development. The museum will attract more tourists who will in turn improve our economy,” Dr Bita said.

In a bid to see the success of the project, NMK is developing some of the underwater sites, so that they can be packaged as tourism products to boost the country’s economy

“We want to develop these wrecks in a way that tourists can visit them under water,” he said.

Some of the wrecks, Dr Bita said cannot be brought out of the water because they might be broken or decay.

“The sea offers a conducive environment for their survival. I brought out they can decay,” said the archaeologist.

The museum will be Africa’s educational centre for underwater archaeology.

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,” Dr Bita noted, adding that underwater heritage is unexploited, and the museum will provide an opportunity for both local and international tourists to enjoy the discoveries.

Currently, Kenya has displays at the Ngomeni, where people see the wrecks on land. However NMK wants to give opportunity to tourists who want to explore the wrecks under water.

Dr Bita said underwater museums have become major tourist attractions in other countries adding that Kenya must tap into the industry.

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