Dr. David Livingstone Memorial Museum

"Dr. Livingstone, I presume?"


Region: Kigoma

Category: Historic

To-do activities:

Paying homage and learning about Dr. Livingstone

Best time to visit:

Throughout the year. 


Available at the Kigoma town municipal

About Dr. David Livingstone Memorial Museum

The Dr. David Livingstone Memorial Museum in Ujiji, Kigoma, is a historical and cultural institution that pays homage to the life and legacy of the renowned Scottish explorer and missionary, Dr. David Livingstone. Located on the shores of Lake Tanganyika in Tanzania, this museum holds significant importance in commemorating Livingstone's extraordinary contributions to African exploration, as well as his efforts to abolish the East African slave trade.

The museum stands on the site where Dr. Livingstone famously met the journalist and explorer Henry Morton Stanley in 1871. Stanley's famous greeting, "Dr. Livingstone, I presume?" is etched in history as a testament to the meeting between the two explorers, and it marked a turning point in Livingstone's arduous journey. While the statement exists in a New York Herald editorial dated 10 August 1872, and both the Encyclopaedia Britannica and the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography mention it without challenging its truth, it is possible that these famous words were made up. Stanley tore the pages of his diary from this encounter, and Livingstone's version of their meeting does not feature the phrase. The statements are legendary for their irony: Dr. Livingstone was the only white person for hundreds of kilometres.

This historical museum discovered its potential in 1918, during the British colonization of Tanganyika. The notion arose as a result of the presence of a mango tree beside which Dr. Livingstone and his former potters, Chuma and Susi, decided to create their temporary base camp. Not only that, but it was under that mango tree in 1871 that Dr. David Livingstone and Henry Morton Stanley first met. However, the ancient mango tree became weakened in the 1920s, so the British government chose to take it down, and the Monument was officially established in 1927.

Interesting facts about Dr. David Livingstone

  • Livingstone undertook three extensive expeditions in Africa before he died of malaria in 1873 at Chipulu, Zambia.

  • His motto during the expeditions was summarised to 3 Cs - "Christianity, commerce, and "civilization" to Africa."

  • His internal organs were buried in Zambia, while his body was carried by his assistants, Chuma and Susi, for nine months to the Bagamoyo coast where it was transported to Zanzibar and then England for burial

  • Livingstone had no intention of going to Africa at first. He hoped to go to China as a missionary, but the First Opium War broke out in September 1839, making the country far too dangerous for missionary and evangelistic activity.

  • Livingstone was the first European to see the Victoria Falls

  • The mango trees at the museum were planted in 1924, making them close to 100 years

Getting to Dr. David Livingstone Memorial Museum

Dr. David Livingstone Memorial Museum is found in Ujiji, Kigoma. From Dar es Salaam, the journey to Kigoma, the main port on Lake Tanganyika, can be made via several modes of transportation.

Flight: The quickest and most convenient option is to take a domestic flight from Dar es Salaam to Kigoma. The flight takes approximately two hours, offering stunning aerial views of Tanzania's landscapes.

Train: For travelers seeking a more immersive experience, the central route train connects Dar es Salaam to Kigoma. The train journey takes around two to three days, passing through picturesque landscapes and offering a glimpse of rural life.

Road: An alternative option is to embark on a road trip from Dar es Salaam to Kigoma. The journey takes approximately 20-24 hours, depending on road conditions and stops along the way.

At the museum (circa May 2023) is a famous and wonderful narrator, mzee Kassim. His narration and accounts of events is one to cherish for ages. As a historian, he once led a group of tourists on a walk using the same slave routes from Kigoma to Bagamoyo on foot.

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