Next time you’re crawling down the freeway at 7 miles an hour, just be glad you’re not trying to get to Nairobi in Kenya. Drivers along the highway from Mombasa to Nairobi were caught in a 30-mile tailback that lasted three full days. The highway was undergoing repairs after heavy rains, causing traffic headed toward Nairobi to come to a complete standstill near the town of Taru.
More than 1500 trucks were caught in the jam on a route which is vital to the East African economy because it links the port city of Mombasa to landlocked countries like Rwanda, Southern Sudan, and Uganda. Usually, it takes a truck about a day to make the trip between Mombasa and Nairobi.
Many drivers were stuck in rural areas without access to any food or sanitary facilities. Nathaniel Chweya, a truck driver taking 10 cars to Kampala in Uganda, told Reuters, “I have not eaten since yesterday morning, not showered and not even changed clothes.” Shops along the busiest stretch sold out of all supplies and were unable to restock because their supplies also come along the road from Mombasa. Drivers who were carrying truckloads of vegetables and fruit were forced to eat and share some of their cargo with the hungry passengers nearby.
Because of poorly maintained roads and unpredictable weather conditions, traffic problems are not uncommon in Kenya, but this is reported to be the worst jam in years. On Friday, police were deployed to help ease the congestion and the traffic cleared after they opened an alternative route.
For those who can afford it and don’t have heavy loads to carry, the 45-minute flight between Mombasa and Nairobi offers a much quicker route between the two cities. But, as one commenter pointed out on Gizmodo, even “a Kenyan marathoner could get there faster.”
Images via NTV