Home NEWS County News Malindi Vasco Dagama Pillar gets Ksh.59M for facelift

Malindi Vasco Dagama Pillar gets Ksh.59M for facelift

The Ancient Vasco Da Gama Pillar which dates back to 1498 and acts as a key world historical site has got a major facelift after the government refurbished it at a cost of Ksh. 59 million.

Already the project is complete in the wake of the high tourism season which begins next month for tourists both locals and international to come and enjoy the rich history of the resort town.

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To bring sanity to the operations at the ancient Pillar national museums moved out hawkers from the site and are setting up a gate so as to ensure tourists enjoy their visit.

A section of the hawkers however got a reprieve after the Malindi Member of Parliament Amina Mnyazi gave out portable stalls for them to arrange outside the entrance for tourists to have ease of access to buying products.

A team from the Government Service Delivery Unit was in Malindi to inspect the projects and expressed satisfaction with the manner in which the project was implemented and completed.

The Pillar which at once was on the verge of collapsing is now fully repaired and modern pathways set up together with modern toilets, areas for people living with disabilities, sitting areas and general beatification to make the site more attractive.

Doris Kamuye the NMK Curator in charge of Malindi said the Vasco Dagama pillar was the oldest monument in Africa that was built in 1498 when Portugal was traversing the ocean to find the sea route to India.

“By then Malindi was trading with India so Vasco Dagama’s arrival to Malindi enabled him to work with a pilot from Malindi Captain Majid to find the sea route to India,” she said.

She said the Government had invested heavily to restore the monument, including the sea wall to prevent the monument from collapsing.

Kamuye said part of the funds were used to set up parapet walkways, an abolition block and a pavement to enable people with disability to access the monument and add to their visitors’ comfort.

“This moment we are on the ground with a team from the Government Service Delivery Unit to see if the money invested by the Government has gone into the intended purpose,” she said.

She said the restoration entailed a lot of work with expensive materials since the monument is located in a marine environment.

Kamuye called on all tourists both locals and international to visit the Vasco Da Gama pillar to enjoy the experience and the lovely serenity.

“Our Visitors Visiting Malindi have the advantage of using one ticket to access four national monuments,” she said.

They include the heritage complex, at the Museum, which showcases Coastal Ethnography, cultural information, the house of columns, the Portuguese chapel and the Vasco Da Gama Pillar.

She said the hawkers were sorted out through efforts of multiple agencies in Malindi town including the office of the MP, MCA and Municipal manager.

Charity Mwende a seller at Vasco Dagama pillar area said they used to have challenges in their business as they did not have shelter but Malindi MP Amina Mnyazi donated some portable stalls which have really been helpful to them.

“Now we are happy because we are able to serve our guests well using the stalls though business is down since May as there are no tourists, we appeal for help so that tourists can come to visit,” she said.

Initially, she said they had temporary stalls in the Vasco Da Gama area but they were demolished and forced to do hawking outside the area.

Ruth Kombe a trader at Vasco Dagama Pillar said the previous season had challenges after their temporary stalls were demolished but with the help of the MP, they now have portable stalls which are so presentable and good for their business.

“We expect this season to have more tourists and there will be more guests, now we have begun promoting culture so as to attract more guests,” she said.

Kombe sells and hires traditional Hando for the Mijikenda together with other garments and anyone interested in wearing traditional regalia can easily find her at the entrance of Vasco Da Gama.

Kyalo Nyamai a trader said they were optimistic that tourism will boom soon following the restoration of the Vasco Dagama pillar and the new facelift.

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