We started very early in the morning on Saturday 14th September, trying to dodge the Addis traffic. Although we went to bed around 10 we still had a noisy night with the party and did not slept too well. We think that there are more Dutchies in Addis Ababa than in Amsterdam! They are the real “flower people”. Growing and exporting flowers are a huge thing in Ethiopia and Kenya. It was very amusing to see these people enjoying themselves but still keeping there own identity in Africa. The party went on till 4.30 in the morning and that was when we stood up for the start of our journey heading south.
We were looking forward to get the infamous “worst and dangerous road in Africa” behind us. As usual the day had it’s surprises…after Awasa for the next 160km, the road became one of the worst potholed roads on our whole trip!! We thought we could reach Yabelo but only reached Ager Maryam where we stayed hopefully, for the last time in a hotel. We stayed at the Bule Hora Hotel for 300Birr. I cooked us another mince dish with canned veggies in the room. This became our staple food right through Ethiopia when we stayed in hotels. We enjoyed the nice clean room and bathroom knowing that from now on we are back to the terrible ablution facilities campsites offer campers! At six the next morning we were on the road again to reach Moyale and the border before lunch. When we stopped in Moyale at the Ethiopian Immigration office it was a minute or 2 after 12:00 just to be told that the officer are leaving for lunch and will only be back at 15:00!!!! I sort of lost it there….it was as if Ethiopia would not let us loose. We bought fruit with our last 400Birr and sat outside in the heat swatting flies. (It seems that is what we’ve done on most border posts in the northern hemisphere). The Immigration officer arrived at 20 minutes before 3, very friendly stamped our passports and send us across the street to Customs….which was closed. The guard told us that we must come back tomorrow. We said we can’t stay because we are already stamped out of Ethiopia. It was an up and down conversation getting nowhere. We went across the road to Immigration again where the guard there (the officer went home) told us that the guard at customs must phone the custom officer. Back to customs the guard asked how much we will pay overtime for the customs guy before he phones! Well to make a long story short, the customs official arrived a hour later, with Arno’s help stamped the Carnet out and we left. The guard though wanted money for his “help” so we gave him the 50Birr note that we wanted to keep. We were VERY glad to cross the border into Kenya where it took exactly 10 minutes to be stamped in both us and the Carnet. We camped at the Kenya Wild Life camp for 15USD per person and could not use the very bad facilities but were so glad to be back in Kenya that nothing mattered AND we could pitch our tent again! The lady in charge came to tell us that there is a tribal war going on since the previous week and we must first clear it with the Police if we can drive through to Marsabit. Apparently they started shooting it’s other in Moyale and as she told us “people are dying”! When driving out of Moyale the next morning we were stopped just outside town by the Police who told us that there is Police on the road and that we will be safe. It is a tribal war and no-one will bother us. We saw lots of armed Police and armed men on the road. It took us 8 hours to do the 250km to Marsabit. It is a rocky corrugated road that makes the whole truck shudder. It was bad but not the worst we had driven on on our trip. We camped in Marsabit at Camp Henry with very nice ablution facilities costing 300KS per person. The road from Marsabit to Isiolo took us 5 hours. The road condition alternate between very bad corrugated rock and very soft red “fes-fes” powdery dust. All in all, the road that we were most afraid of was at the end not so overpoweringly bad as predicted. Because it was still early we drove on to Nanyuki, bought ourselves “Boerewors” at Nakumat in Nanyuki, camped at Naro Moro River Camp (15USD p.p.) pitching our tent in the kitchen because it started raining again, braaied our wors and enjoyed being where we were. The next morning we could actually see a little bit of Mt Kenya which made us happy. When we went north we couldn’t even see that there is a mountain. From Nanyuki it was a short drive to Nairobi and Wildebeest Lodge where we camped previously. We stayed for 2 days, washing the truck, doing laundry, shopping and relaxing. We thought to stay until Saturday but wanted to get out of cities into the bush again, so very early Friday morning we were off on our next adventure…Lake Victoria and Uganda!! Now we are very glad that we decided to leave Nairobi Friday because on Saturday the shootings happened at the West Gate Mall and “people died” as the lady said in Moyale…….! Africa is not for sissies! We are at Kisumu Bay Beach Camp ( 500KS p.p.) and will be leaving for Jinja in Uganda tomorrow. We baked rusks, done washing and are enjoying being in the tropics, listening to the fish eagles, saw beautiful parrots, trying to dodge mosquitos but are on track again planning and looking forward to the southbound trip!
Some of the awesome things that we saw on this trip:
Our camp at Moyale
The Turkana lifestyle
Cell phones all over Africa!!
Naro Moro River Camp
Keeping your fish fresh!!