Queen of the Lake

27 June 2012

This is the MV Liemba. The world’s oldest passenger- and cargo ship still in service. Steeped in history, the Liemba ploughs its way through the clear waters of Lake Tanganyika for 99 years now!

As the biggest ship in operation on Lake Tanganyika its importance to the people and the countries around the lake is immense. Linking Tanzania and Zambia directly – and servicing many ports along the way - the Liemba moves heaps of goods and loads of passengers. Simply unmissable for the many that depend on its movements.

Originally built in 1913 in Germany as a Warship by the name of Graf van Gatzen, it actively participated in the control over Lake Tanganyika in the early years of the first World War. Scuttled in 1916 by her captain, the British Royal Navy raised her again in 1927 and she then was recommisioned the MV Liemba – changing her cannons for passengers and goods.

Living on the unspoiled beaches of the Mahale Mountains National Park brings us close to this fascinating ship. Twice a week it sails our horizon in the early hours of the day. This time around we went for a more personal inspection and grabbed a boat to get close.

We certainly raise a glass on her centennial anniversary next year!

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