Tourism: Kenya to build Cable car across Mombassa similar to Obudu in Nigeria and Cape Town in South Africa


Kenya is set to start construction of a multi-billion-shilling cable car project linking Mombasa Island and the mainland in a first public-private partnership (PPP) of its kind.

President Uhuru Kenyatta chaired a cabinet meeting on Tuesday at State House Nairobi where approval of the construction of the Sh4.1 billion ($40 million) Likoni cable car was arrived.

The aim is to take the pressure off the ferry service, which presently struggles to transport 330,000 people and more than 6,000 vehicles a day in five ferries.

Tourist stakeholders welcome the move saying the cable cars will be the critical driver of tourism in Mombasa especially the South Coast.

At the moment, commuters rely on ferries which currently take about 10 minutes to move passengers across the channel, however, frequent breakdowns have proved challenging leading to delays of up to one hour.

Once complete, Likoni cable cars will carry commuters from one side to the other of the 500m-wide Likoni Channel in less than three minutes.

“The two major masts will be put on that land. The masts and the landing stations are the major installations in this project and the land where they are to be put must be given a clean bill of health for use.” Bakari Gowa, the managing director of the Kenya Ferry Service said.

The system will be built by C&C Construction Company, which will be in charge of erecting two 90m masts and building the landing stations.

C&C will work with Doppelmayr Group, an Austrian–Swiss cable car specialist Group, which will be in charge of the technological part of the project.

Doppelmayr Group manufactures ropeways, cable cars and ski lifts.

The plan is to run 22 gondolas, each able to carry 38 passengers, translating to 180,000 commuters a day.

The operator will be the Likoni Cable Express, a subsidiary of the Kenya Ferry Services, and Tropos, a Nairobi-based “aerial transit development firm”.

The public-private partnership will run it on a 25-year concession.

According to government officials, the project will take two years to complete and it is expected to generate hundreds of jobs, during the construction period and after completion.

While Kenya’s project is slated to be the first commuter aerial cable car system in Sub-Saharan Africa it is not the only one in Africa.

Here are three African countries that already have cable car services that Kenya can borrow some ideas as it embarks on the iconic project.

Table Mountain Aerial Cableway started operations on October 4, 1929.

Before the Cableway was established, the only way up Cape Town’s iconic mountain was by foot – a climb undertaken only by adventurous souls, such as the famous Capetonian, Lady Anne Barnard.

The cable cars travel at a maximum speed of 10m per second and take four to five minutes to reach the top of the mountain.

Each of the two cable cars can carry 65 people translating to more than 800 people every hour.

Each of the Cableway’s cables is 1 200m in length, the cables weigh 18 tons and are attached to counter-weights weighing 134 tons each.

The cable car base is a water tank with a 3 000l capacity, this provides fresh water for visitors and is also used as ballast in windy conditions.

The cable cars can carry up to 5 200kg each and the floor of the circular cabin rotates to allow travellers 360° views.

Algeria has multiple cable systems including three gondolas systems and several short-haul aerial trams. The gondolas are all multi-station MDG systems with blue, egg-shaped cabins. At least two more gondolas are being planned.

Located on a plateau, the Constantine gondola provides traffic congestion relief without the need for a surplus of new bridges and roads.

The Skikda gondola system connects two hillside communities to the city’s downtown, located in the valley.

In Tlemcen, the gondola is a seemingly tourist-oriented attraction, connecting the city’s south end elevated park to an amusement park in the north.

In 2005, the Cross River state Government contracted Doppelmayr of Switzerland to install a cable car over the Obudu Plateau.

The cable car brings guest from the base of the mountain to the summit of the Obudu Ranch Resort.

When it was completed it was the world’s longest point to point cable car system.
The resort is found on the Obudu Plateau, close to the Cameroon border in the north-eastern part of Cross River State, approximately 110 kilometres (68 mi) east of the town of Ogoja and 65 kilometres (40 mi) from the town of Obudu in Obanjiku Local government area of Cross River State.

The ranch has in recent times seen an influx of both Nigerian and international tourists because of the development of tourist facilities by Cross-River State Government, which has turned the ranch into a well-known holiday and tourist resort center in Nigeria.


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