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.
The archeologist said currently only a few people are able to access the shipwrecks in the ocean. “Once the museum is complete, we will have tour guides who will be guiding people under the water. Each wreck will have a placard that tells its history,” said Dr Bita.
Coast region boasts 33 ancient shipwrecks that are documented though the archaeologists believe that there could be more.
“Mombasa has 22 shipwrecks, Malindi eight, and Lamu three. Most of these wrecks are made of wood or metals. Some of the ships were carrying ivory, cinnabar and copper. Because of the conducive underwater environment these objects are still intact,” said Dr Bita.