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In this programme host Zay Harding travels on board some of Africa’s toughest and most historic boats as he explores the spectacular East African country of Tanzania. Starting his journey at the southern end of Lake Tanganyika, the world’s largest freshwater lake, Zay travels north for over 300 miles on the extraordinary ‘Liemba’, which is not only said to be the world’s oldest surviving passenger ferry, but also has an incredible wartime history. The imposing 230 foot long ship, originally named the Graf von Goetzen, was built in 1913, when Tanzania was part of colonial German East Africa. At the start of WWI in 1914, the ship was converted into a warship, fitted with powerful guns to fight ships from nearby British and Belgian colonies. In 1916, however, the ship’s German commanders were forced to scuttle it in order to prevent its capture by the British or Belgians. The location of the sunken ship was soon discovered, and when the war ended in 1918, the British and Belgians attempted to lift it up from the lake bed. In 1924 it was finally raised to the surface, and astonishingly, despite being underwater for 8 years, was in good enough condition to be placed back into service as a passenger ship. Today, a century on, it continues to provide a vital service ferrying hundreds of local Tanzanians up and down the lake. After a fantastically enjoyable two-day journey aboard the Liemba, stopping at remote villages along the way, Zay disembarks at Kigoma, towards the northern end of Lake Tanganyika. Heading on from there in a ‘lake taxi’, that is a small overcrowded open boat carrying over 100 villagers together – Zay reaches Gombe Stream National Park, where he goes trekking through the forest in search of wild chimpanzees. Zay’s luck is in, and he has a rare and remarkable encounter at close quarters with an extended family group of over 20 chimpanzees. 150 years ago, the central African region around Lake Tanganyika was a main location where slaves were captured, an estimated 1.5 million of whom were force-marched over 750 miles to the coast of the Indian Ocean, before being shipped by dhow to the slave market on the island of Zanzibar off the Tanzanian coast. For the last part of his journey Zay follows this tragic and traumatic trail, sailing on a traditional working dhow trading goods to Zanzibar. Traders have sailed the Indian Ocean for thousands of years in these tough and historic boats, whose design has barely changed since the days they carried slaves. The ocean crossing by dhow is a spectacular though poignant end to Zay’s once-in-a-lifetime Tanzanian adventure.
Runtime: 50 minutes per show
FORMAT: H.264 MP4 *Plays on Roku, AppleTV, Playstation, Xbox, Chromecast, Mac, PC, Cell Phone, or Tablet
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