African Queen – Key Largo


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African Queen – Key Largo

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African Queen Key Largo

The African Queen Key Largo is an iconic vessel with a storied history, offers a unique and captivating experience for visitors to Key Largo, Florida. This historic steamboat, made famous by the classic 1951 film “The African Queen” starring Humphrey Bogart and Katharine Hepburn, continues to enchant guests with its vintage charm and cinematic legacy.

Construction of African Queen Key Largo

Originally built in 1912, the African Queen was constructed in Lytham, England, as a working boat intended for cargo and passenger transport in the British East Africa Rail Company. Its early years were spent navigating the waters of the Ruki River in what is now the Democratic Republic of Congo. The boat’s robust design and steam-powered engine made it a reliable vessel in the challenging conditions of the African waterways.


The African Queen gained worldwide fame when it was selected as the central setting for John Huston’s film adaptation of C.S. Forester’s novel. The movie, set during World War I, tells the adventurous tale of a grizzled boat captain and a determined missionary who embark on a perilous journey downriver to attack a German warship. Humphrey Bogart’s performance earned him an Academy Award for Best Actor, and the boat itself became a beloved symbol of cinematic history.

Today, the African Queen is meticulously maintained and operated by Captain Lance Holmquist and Suzanne Holmquist, who have lovingly restored the vessel to its former glory. Visitors to Key Largo can embark on a nostalgic journey aboard the African Queen, enjoying scenic canal cruises and historical tours that highlight the boat’s fascinating past. The cruises provide a unique opportunity to experience a piece of film history firsthand while taking in the natural beauty of the Florida Keys.

The African Queen’s steam engine, an integral part of its charm, has been preserved and remains operational, offering guests the rare chance to witness a working steam-powered vessel in action. The gentle chug of the engine and the sound of steam hissing through the pipes create an immersive and authentic experience, transporting passengers back to the early 20th century.

In addition to its regular tours, the African Queen also hosts special events and private charters, making it a popular choice for weddings, anniversaries, and other celebrations. The boat’s intimate setting and historic significance provide a memorable backdrop for any occasion.


The preservation of the African Queen is a testament to the dedication of its caretakers and the enduring allure of classic cinema. As a registered national historic site, the boat continues to attract visitors from around the world, drawn by its rich history and the romance of its cinematic legacy.


In summary, the African Queen boat is a living piece of history that offers a unique and enchanting experience for visitors to Key Largo. With its storied past, cinematic fame, and charming steam-powered design, the African Queen remains a beloved attraction that captures the imagination and transports guests to a bygone era of adventure and romance.

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