Malindi Marine National Park that is located to the south of Malindi town at about 118 km from Mombasa town in 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.
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