Isiolo town has, until now, been little-known. However, this is about to change for this small town in the arid Kenyan north if the planned government vision 2030 initiative to transform it into a resort city the likes of Las Vegas in the USA comes to fruition.
Investors are already beginning to cash in on the anticipated opportunities in resorts, houses, and other recreational facilities, making land value here skyrocket overnight. The resort centre will be complete with casinos, international filming facilities and all the luxuries money can buy.
One of the significant facelifts Isiolo will be receiving will be the rehabilitation of the local airstrip, which will see the construction of a 1.4 KM runway with the capacity to handle heavy commercial aircraft with a load of up to 66 tonnes.
Other features of the new airport will include aprons, taxiways and a modern cargo and passenger terminus. The airport, being built by Kundan Singh Construction, is expected to be completed by March 2012 at KES 610 million.
The airport is expected to link Isiolo to Mombasa, Nairobi and Kisumu. It is also likely to take over the khat (miraa) business hence de-congesting Wilson airport.
The ongoing tarmacking of the inhospitable 501 KM Isiolo-Moyale highway will significantly improve road transport to the future resort city. Already 136 KM of the road from Isiolo to Merille is complete.
The Isiolo-Moyale road links Kenya to Ethiopia. In addition, there are plans to put up a railway line, pipeline and highway linking Kenya to Juba, the new capital city of the youngest nation in the world, Southern Sudan.
Despite having very few tourist-class facilities (Sarova Shaba in the Shaba Game Reserve and Buffalo Springs Lodges in Samburu National Reserve), the town can grow as a tourism centre. Being part of the northern tourism circuit, it is centrally placed between some major parks, including Meru National Park, Samburu National Reserve, Shaba Game Reserve, Kora National Park, Mwingi National Reserve and the Bisanadi National reserve.
Further north towards Marsabit is the Marsabit National Reserve and Sibiloi National Park. We cannot wait to see what this Kenyan Las Vegas will look like. Let us know what you think by leaving your comments below.