The once sleepy Dunga beach has become the prime beneficiary of the fall of the neighbouring Lwang’ni beach.
Structures on Lwang’ni beach were demolished last month to pave way for the expansion of Kisumu Port.
Traders evicted from Lwang’ni are now scrambling for space at Dunga beach.
According to Dunga Beach Management vice-chairperson, Maurice Misori, at least seven traders who lost eatery businesses at Lwang’ni have been allocated spaces at the new site.
Boat operators and those who had been selling various artifacts such as beads, sculptures and traditional regalia at Lwang’ni have already set base at Dunga.
So have their clients, with Dunga now attracting more visitors than before.
“Almost 90 per cent of the people who left Lwang’ni have come here looking for spaces to set up businesses,” said Misori.
He said the beach has enough facilities to accommodate an influx of new traders and their clients.
Lwang’ni Beach, which stood on the Kenya Railways Corporation land, had for the past 50 years been the preferred destination for many visitors due to its proximity to Kisumu's Central Business District and its fresh fish.
However, last month, the parastatal evicted the more than 200 business operators in the area, including those running eateries operators, boats, car wash points, taxis and hawkers.
John Wanjala, who operated two eateries at Lwang’ni, is one of the people who have already secured a space at Dunga where he is trying to reestablish his businesses.
“I had two establishments at Lwang’ni: Tazama and Delta Hotels. Unfortunately I lost both of them. Since that had been my sole source of income, I had to look for an alternative place, and that is how I ended up here,” he said.
Wanjala said he only managed to rescue a few parts of the structures at Lwang’ni and sought for loans to set up new business at Dunga.
He claims the demolitions at Lwang’ni cost him at least Sh3 million.
“We are now starting afresh, and have to find a way of telling our customers of our new location which will take awhile, ” he said.
The ongoing construction of Dunga-Impala Road has also opened up the beach with more new investors scrambling for space.
“We may not accommodate everyone who is looking for spaces here, but since this is community land, we just want to find a way of ensuring that people get somewhere to earn a living,” said Misori.
Acting Tourism Chief Officer Thomas Ouko said his department was working on a branding strategy for Dunga beach.
But even with the excitement about the new ventures, traders who have been operating from Dunga have mixed reactions over the new entrants with some fearing new competition.
“Our business model is not the same with that of Lwang’ni,” said Rose Anyango, a fishmonger.
According to Anyango, who has been in the fish business at Dunga for the last 20 years, the cost of fish at the beach is lower compared to Lwang’ni before the demolitions.
“At Lwang’ni, they had people shouting for customers. Here we sit calmly and let the customers see what we have to offer,” she said.
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