DEVELOPMENT AGENDA

New access roads on Diani beaches to boost tourism

Kwale county has also constructed modern toilets, street lights and heightened surveillance in the area.

In Summary
  • According to Kongo Mosque chairperson Sheikh Amani Hamis Mwachirumu, the infrastructure development has sparked tourism in the beach area.
  • Hamisi said businesses are booming with more tourists coming on both holidays and normal days.
Kongo Mosque chairperson Sheikh Amani Hamis Mwachirumu during the interview in Diani, Kwale county, on Thursday, September 8, 2023.
ACTIVATED: Kongo Mosque chairperson Sheikh Amani Hamis Mwachirumu during the interview in Diani, Kwale county, on Thursday, September 8, 2023.
Image: SHABAN OMAR

The Diani beach in Kwale county has been named Africa‚Äôs leading beach destination several times. 

However, what is known to the public is that some beach access roads to this renowned destination are in a sorry state.

A few years back, accessing the beaches in Diani was so difficult, as the paths leading to the shorelines were insecure and filthy.

During rains mud and stagnant water made it almost impossible to access the beaches.

A section of the beach also lacked public toilets and revellers were forced to defecate in the bushes along the shoreline. 

Insecurity cases were rampant and both local and foreign tourists always fell victim to the attacks. 

However, this has been addressed after Kwale county constructed beach access roads, modern toilets, street lights and heightened surveillance through county enforcement officers.

The infrastructure development has raised the status of Diani as movement has been made easy for the tourists trooping in for a magical experience on the white, sandy and warm beaches.

Currently, the beaches are vibrant as the area's economy has opened up.

According to Kongo Mosque chairperson Sheikh Amani Hamis Mwachirumu, the infrastructure development has sparked tourism in the beach area.

Hamisi said businesses are booming with more tourists coming on both holidays and normal days.

He said the number of vehicles has doubled with an average of 50 vehicles visiting the Kongo area daily.

"The access roads have expanded tourism activities. We have more vehicles parked here compared to before," he said.

Kongo Mosque is a historical building and one of the oldest mosques in East Africa constructed by Persian traders in the 14th century and tourists have been travelling to explore its magnificent structure.

Mwachirumu said earlier that tourists had some difficulties visiting the area because of poor roads that were flooded by rocks and potholes, adding that only military vehicles could pass through the area because of their all-weather road design.

The tourists had to park their vehicles far away and were forced to walk which was not safe.

He said since the road was constructed, they have witnessed a 24-hour economy as tourists pitch camp in the area, noting that sometimes the tourists cannot find space to park their cars because the area is normally full.

Mwachirumu said the general security has also improved because county security officers are always manning the beach area.

Trade Winds Beach chairperson Ali Mohammed said businesses have grown and the economy of the people has improved, adding that before, tourists were keeping off in some of the beaches because of poor roads and insecurity.

He said various businesspeople are now recording good profits following the surging number of tourists, and that the the county had constructed modern business stalls that have attracted local investors.

The chairperson said the stalls have also revamped fishing since fishermen can sell and store their fish for value addition.

Mohammed said the move has provided employment opportunities to many people working along the beach and helped transform their lives.

He said the toilets have promoted hygiene and the beach remains clean and healthy for both marine life and humans.

"This place used to smell faeces. The feeling was very disturbing because we had no toilets and people relieved themselves in the bushes and the beach," he said.

The county launched a cleanup beach programme and partnered with various stakeholders to keep the beach clean.

Mohammed said the environment is now appealing as fresh air dominates the beaches with beautiful infrastructure attracting more people, adding that the tourists flock to the place and enjoy every single moment of their visit.

He said the county also built worship places where citizens can pray while at the beach.

Baobab Lagoon Beach chairperson Sudi Bawa said the access roads have alleviated their long-suffering and improved lifestyle, noting that both tuk-tuks and vehicles can pass through, saving the tourists from the burden of walking long distances to reach the beaches.

He said the access roads have interlinked Diani with various areas, making movement easy and cheap, and that they receive enough visitors that have helped their businesses prosper.

Mwaepe Beach secretary Salim Omar Mwagongo said people are able to trade because of the improved roads, adding that, previously, people couldn't access Mwaepe Beach because there was no road.

He said citizens had to walk on sharp rocks which exposed them to injuries.

However, the residents want the county to construct more roads and install security lights in some of the areas for equal development and maximum security.

According to Bawa, some beaches lack streetlights and cold storage facilities for fishermen.

Cabro road leading to Bidi Badu beach in Kwale county on Thursday, September 8, 2023.
INFRASTRUCTURE: Cabro road leading to Bidi Badu beach in Kwale county on Thursday, September 8, 2023.
Image: SHABAN OMAR
Public toilets at Bidi Badu beach in Diani, Kwale county, on Thursday, September 8, 2023.
FACILITY: Public toilets at Bidi Badu beach in Diani, Kwale county, on Thursday, September 8, 2023.
Image: SHABAN OMAR
Local tourists at Trade Winds Beach in Diani, Kwale county, on Thursday, September 8, 2023.
TOURISM: Local tourists at Trade Winds Beach in Diani, Kwale county, on Thursday, September 8, 2023.
Image: SHABAN OMAR
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