The African Queen – Key Largo, Florida - Atlas Obscura

The African Queen

The famous boat that once ferried Bogart and Hepburn still floats in Key Largo after being abandoned for years. 


Immortalized in the 1951 movie of the same name, The African Queen was actually abandoned before being randomly discovered and refurbished into a working tour boat.

The iconic boat used in the 1951 John Huston film The African Queen, starring Humphrey Bogart and Katharine Hepburn was not purposely built for the film, but had actually seen service in the Belgian Congo since the 1910’s. The riveted steel ship struck an iconic profile with its vertical boiler, which was a rare feature. The craft was actually being used to carry cargo, missionaries, and hunting parties when John Huston saw it while on a hunting trip and decided it would make the perfect vessel for a film. After it was made famous by its appearance in the aforementioned film, the boat returned to its regular service, but was abandoned sometime in the 1960s.

In 1968 it was discovered half sunk in Cairo, Egypt, and it was towed back to the United States for restoration. Since 1982, the boat has been made seaworthy and resides in Key Largo, Florida. Today it lies hidden amongst rows of millionaires’ yachts, having been lovingly restored by its new captain. It is now available for short chartered cruises out into the Atlantic, although you will have to bring your own classic Bogart/Hepburn banter. 

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