The NMK underwater museum in Ras Ngomeni, Kenya, is set for construction off the east African country coast. Particularly, the facility is located at a shipwreck site in the historical fishing village on the North Coast. The project was to be completed in 2022 according to a local blog but to date this has not happened.
The museum will be the first of its kind in the sub-Saharan African region featuring a shipwreck site as a tourist attraction. In addition to shipwrecks over 600 years old, the facility will also showcase artwork and other artifacts.
Also Read: Construction of Embu Moi Stadium in Kenya to be completed by mid this year
The National Museum of Kenya (NMK) intends to attract more tourists and improve the country’s economy with the underwater museum in Ras Ngomeni. Once operational the NMK underwater museum in Kenya will attract between 90,000 and 200,000 visitors annually.
The NMK’s leading archeologists are working on preserving the wrecks at the NMK underwater museum while also preparing it for visitation. Thus far, sandbag walls have been built around some wrecks to break the strength of the waves.
Additionally, other project leaders have also advised that the wrecks should be covered with special netting. Apparently, these nets will attract small sand particles that over time can settle and form mounts over the sites.
Reported in 2015
Construction of the first undersea museum in sub-Sahara Africa to begin in Kenya
Plans to construct the first underwater museum in sub-Sahara Africa are set to begin in Kenya, National Museums of Kenya (NMK) coast region assistant director for sites and monuments, Mr. Athman Hussein Athman, has announced.
Athman was speaking during a workshop, sponsored by Unesco, the National Museums of Kenya, and the Ministry of Sports, Culture, and Arts in Mombasa. The museum will be constructed at the site of a shipwreck at Ngomeni, a historical fishing village on the north coast. It will be Africa’s educational center 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,” Athman said.
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.
Atham said that studies have revealed that the shipwrecks were high and could be used for scientific research and as tourist attractions. The objective, Said Athman was to build the capacity for African countries to effectively manage their underwater cultural heritage.
The participants, who are archaeologists, have been undergoing rigorous practical sessions that include diving at the 17th Century Santa Antonio De Tanna Shipwreck in front of the Fort Jesus Museum.
Unesco representative Arturo Rey Da Silva told the workshop that his organization would work with the Kenyan government to train experts that will boost the sector as it had huge tourism potential.
Unesco says it is keen to be a major partner in the initiative- the first museum in sub-Sahara Africa.
Reported in 2020
Kenya to construct first underwater museum in Sub-Saharan Africa
The 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 the 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 on 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.
One of a kind
Dr. Bita noted that the project will be one of a kind since underwater heritage is unexploited in many regions and the museum will therefore, provide a great opportunity for both international and local tourists to enjoy the discoveries.
Once complete the museum will have tour guides to direct tourists and also placards will be mounted for reading its history. The visitors will have a chance to study wrecked ships, marine life, fish species, dolphins, turtles, and human remains from ships among other attractions. Moreover, 6underwater museums are becoming major tourist attractions and Kenya now wants to tap into the industry.
The Ministry of Sports, Culture, and Heritage together with UNESCO and NMK raised awareness last year, on the protection of Underwater Cultural Heritage in Eastern Africa and the adjacent Indian Ocean Islands to enhance tourism in the region. Madagascar is the only country in eastern Africa that has ratified the Unesco 2001 Convention on the Protection of the Underwater Cultural Heritage.