Ancient German warship becomes Tanzanian museum

The MV Liemba is thought to be the oldest ship on the Tanzanian registry and is to be turned into a museum.

Formerly named “Graf von Goetzen,” the MV Liemba was originally built in Germany in 1913, and was then shipped to what was then the German colony of Tanganyika. The Graf von Goetzen was th inspiration for the gunship Luisa which featured in the famous Hollywood movie The African Queen.

After the outbreak of World War I it was deployed as a warship, but the crew scuttled it in 1916 to avoid being capture by the British expeditionary forces.

Being a valuable asset, even if she was somewhat waterlogged, the ship was then salvaged, repaired, and renamed MV Liemba.  She was returned to service in 1927 with a capacity of about 200 tons of cargo and up to 600 passengers.

Now owned by the Tanzania Railway Corporation she currently sails a weekly service on Lake Tanganyika visiting Bujumbura, Burundi, Kigoma in Tanzania and the port of Mpulungu in Zambia.    

The plans to turn the vessel into a floating museum and cruise liner are aimed to attract more tourist visitors to Lake Tanganyika, and the owners and regional authorities in Kigoma are reportedly discussing the project with German counterparts regarding funding and logistical support.

Tanzania has many well-known attractions for visiting tourists, but lake tourism, both on Lake Victoria and other lakes like Tanganyika, have not really been tapped into, opening a whole new spectrum of investment opportunities for entrepreneurs willing to take a calculated risk by opening up hitherto tourist deplete parts of Tanzania.

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