Safarilink will later today officially announce the launch of daily services from Nairobi’s Wilson Airport to Vipingo Ridge. Kenya’s premier safari and business airline is breaking new ground when they will reliably link Kenya’s premier coastal golf resort from the 01st of July onwards with the capital without the need to fly via either Mombasa or Malindi. The 1.5 km long hard surface strip near the entrance of the Vipingo Ridge Resort will be able to accommodate single and twin engine light aircraft but also larger turboprops like the Dash 8 which Safarilink operates. Being at near sea level can this type of aircraft take off safely when fully loaded, allowing for golf bags and luggage to be taken along subject to prior arrangements with the airline which normally allows only a 15 KG allowance.
This is good news not just for golf aficionados from Nairobi or further upcountry who would like the play the 18 hole championship course, rated by Jim McCann of ‘Top 100 Golf Courses’ as Kenya’s undisputed best, ahead of Sigona as runner up and followed by long time leader Muthaiga in third position. It is good news for coast residents from this part of the North Coast too. It is those residents Safarilink no doubt intends to target, as they did when they launched their daily flights to Ukunda many years ago. From there many Diani residents now fly with Safarilink from Ukunda and spare themselves the tiring and time-consuming trip to Moi International Airport, compensating for the slightly higher fares by saving plenty of time and getting into Wilson Airport rather than JKIA which when getting into Nairobi cuts down on time too spend sitting in traffic.
Coast residents from Mtwapa all the way to Kilifi will find it easier and much shorter to drive to Vipingo when a trip to Nairobi is on the cards, and Mike Round Turner, General Manager of Vipingo, during a more recent visit to the resort, made it clear that Vipingo would provide a level of services which could attract such passengers. He spoke of building a passenger shelter, rest rooms and no doubt secure parking will be provided, giving the right incentives to embrace the Vipingo airstrip just as the South Coast community embraced Ukunda years ago. Once getting used to the new daily service Safarilink will have created a new mini hub for local residents who, according to many chats this correspondent had with acquaintances and chance encounters, frankly abhor the thought of flying out of Mombasa considering the long road journey and the often congested roads getting through Mombasa to the airport.
Flying time, depending on the routing, will take between 1.15 hrs to 1.30 hrs but should the aircraft call on other fields enroute would the flying time correspondingly increase.
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