(eTN) There were scenes of jubilation and relief among commuters and tourism operators last Thursday when two new ferries were delivered to the port of Mombasa from Germany, after months and months of delays caused by a variety of issues over investigations into procurement and payments, a situation which cost the past ferry company management their jobs.
The presently-used ferries have long exceeded their natural life span and suffered from frequent breakdowns. When the two new ferries have been put into full service, trials are already underway supported by a team of experts from the German wharf where they were built. At least one of the old ones is expected to undergo a full overhaul to then serve at peak periods and as back-up during maintenance periods. Other present ferries are due to be relocated to a new crossing point after repairs and major maintenance, which in itself should also bring some relief to the tens of thousands of people crossing into the city every day.
Tourism staff contacted at the coast expressed their relief that a new era is now being rung in and a more reliable service can be offered between the city of Mombasa – itself an island – and the southern mainland where many of the beach resorts are located. The same sources also stressed their ongoing demands for a road link, which would connect the main highway from Nairobi and the Mombasa International Airport with the south coast, as that was the only long-term solution to ensure easy transportation, while the ferries could then serve primarily commuters in and out of the city.
Other tourism sources in Kenya also demanded that the city of Mombasa, in particular those parts where tourists regularly pass through on their way from the airport to their beach resorts, must be spruced up so that the holiday experience is not impaired by the, at times and at present, often unsightly state of repairs of roads and buildings along the way.