Lonely Planet Writer

Kenya to build scenic cable car over the Likoni channel in Mombasa

The government of Kenya has announced that it plans to start construction of a cable car across the Likoni channel in November. The US$41 million cableway project – the first of its kind in Kenya – should ease the transport of people from Mombasa (and its Moi International Airport) to the popular resorts along the south coast, including Diani Beach, Tiwi Beach and Wasini Island. The only current links between the city and south coast other than flights are the five Likoni ferries, which are beset with frequent breakdowns and delays.

New cable car planned for the Likoni Channel
Mombasa: ferry boat for Likoni. Photo by Jean-Luc MANAUD Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images

The new service will feature up to 28 cable cars, each capable of carrying 38 passengers. Given that the 1300m-long journey across the channel will take just over two and a half minutes to complete, each car is expected to make around nine trips each way per hour – this should enable the movement of some 80,000 people per day. This will substantially reduce congestion on the ferries, which currently carry 6000 vehicles and up to 300,000 passengers daily. Those using vehicles will also be happy to hear that two new ferries are currently under construction in Turkey – these should help reduce the backlog of traffic currently experienced on the route when they come into service later in 2017.

Besides alleviating the risk of visitors missing flights due to untimely ferry delays, the cable car may also become a tourist attraction itself – it will offer panoramic views of Mombasa and the coast from an elevation of 100m. The proposed cost for the service is KSh20 (US$0.20) during off-peak times, and KSh50 for peak periods.

The public-private partnership project is expected to take 18 months to complete, which means the cable car should be in operation by early June 2019.

It’s hoped this project may pave the way for scenic, tourism-generating cableways in Baringo and Elgeyo Marakwet counties in the future.