Adventurer’s African Queen Back on the Nile

The boat thought to be the original African Queen used in the film starring Humphrey Bogart and Katherine Hepburn has been restored by owner, New Zealander Cam McLeay.

There’s no sign of the 2000 cigarettes or tinned grubs that Bogart’s character Charlie Allnut boasts about, but passengers will be pleased to know that the obligatory two cases of gin will be on board when the boat sets sail on commercial cruises up Uganda’s Nile in the coming weeks.

McLeay, who owns a lodge at Jinja from near where the cruises will start, says he is confident his boat is the Nile’s original African Queen, abandoned after filming finished.

McLeay bought the vessel from Yank Evans, a Patagonian mechanical engineer who found the boat while working on the roads in Murchison Falls National Park in 1984.

“He [Evans] asked the locals what this was and they said, ‘Well, that’s the African Queen,’” McLeay said.

“It was just a rust bucket. There was no engine but there was a funnel and there was the steel hull. She was all rotted away below the waterline and all the woodwork had been eaten by termites.”

McLeay led the first-ever descent of the Victoria Nile in 1996. He co-led the “Ascend the Nile” expedition in 2005/6, which was the first expedition ever to trace the world’s longest river and measure it (6718 km).

Tags: African Queen  Cam McLeay  Guardian (The)  Humphrey Bogart  Jinja  Katherine Hepburn  Murchison Falls National Park  Nile  

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