neither nightmare came true and here we are. There was the std delay – we got
to the border soon after 12 only to hear that the immigration officer would only
be back at 2pm. Off to lunch and then another wait for another Ethiopian
immigration man. Memories of Shahede. Then we heard, not 2pm only 3pm – more
memories! Anyway, he arrived at 2:30pm and we were done in 10minutes. Then
customs, another 10 minutes and we were out of there. Wow!
filled in arrival forms but once again there was no immigration officer. Wait.
Does this seem familiar? While we were waiting we went over to customs. He asked
for our carnet and I thought, here we go, echoes of Egypt but how wrong I was.
He filled in some lines, stamped the carnet, tore off his bit and said goodbye.
He didn’t even SEE the car!!!
was the same. Even though we had to wait for him, when he arrived, he stamped
the passports and said ‘Welcome to Kenya’. I like it here already!
is a quiet border. Felix and Alfons came through 5 days ago (I saw their names
in the book) and since then, one other person came through, until us.
are camping at the park services grounds. It costs 2USD each but it is great. No
facilities of course but absolute privacy and the ability to cook our own food
and sleep in our own beds. Bliss!
it started off as bliss but we have now seen three ticks since we got here.
Pause to spray tent, mattress and sleeping bags and examine bodies. Hopefully
we’ve seen all there were to see.
we head South – in convoy. More info on that once we know what it entails.
made it this far but it has been two days of hell. I cracked about 10km before
the start of the tarmac. I was driving but just couldn’t take it anymore and
handed over to Scott. The road was sheer hell, terribly corrugated so you have
two options – go 5km/hr to avoid shaking or go 60km to avoid it but then risk
serious damage if you hit a rock or a hole. Anything in between is impossible
– the shaking is totally unbearable and you feel as if the car and you are
being shaken apart. I hope that I never have to go through that again. The good
news is that we can now get to Cape Town without leaving tarmac – if we want
details about the last two days. We were up bright and early in Moyale on Sunday
to report to the police checkpoint at 8am. The convoy seems kind of hit and miss
but eventually we left at 9:30am with a soldier in the back of the car. He went
with us for the first 80km at which point we ended up giving a lift to another
soldier’s wife and baby the rest of the way to Marsabit. The roads were also
terribly bad – Rob was not exaggerating. In the wet it would have been
impassable, we saw plenty of signs of really bad churning up of mud which was
fortunately dry when we went past. In Marsabit we camped in the Marsabit Reserve
grounds again at 2USD per person per night plus this time 200Kes for the car. So
far we are not finding Kenya too expensive. We finally met another overlander
there too!!! The guy is Dutch, his name is Ronald, and he has travelled overland
from India. He bought an Enfield there, a bike built in India based on a
1950’s British design. He came on that through India, Pakistan, Iran, Oman and
Yemen. Can you believe it, even Yemen. What an adventure! He has been on the
road 7 months and it was great to chat.
was also a group on an organised tour. Eight people in a humungous truck but
they were very insular, they hardly spoke to each other, never mind us. We only
spent one night there and then headed South for Isiolo. Ronald left ahead of us
and we said that we might meet up there. Well, we didn’t. We met up way before
that, his bike had a problem about 80km outside of Marsabit when an engine bolt
fell off. We loaded ALL his stuff into our car and he carried on hoping that the
reduced weight would help him to get to Isiolo. It did, and here we are
together. If it was a rough ride for us imagine what it must have been like for
him. We all decided to stay on here for a second night and have a day of R &
R. Nice grassy campsites are not that common!
morning we went into town together and who should we see but Felix and Alfons!
What a wonderful surprise it was. They had stopped off for a few days at the
Samburu National Park, which is why we caught up with them. It was pretty lucky.
They were on their way to Nairobi and stopped off for a cup of coffee and we
just happened to see the kombi on the side of the road as we drove by. They are
looking great but say that the car now needs fixing in each – poor vehicle.
did some shopping in town, changed money and got the car washed. Then back here,
for not so much R and R for poor Scott. First he fixed the shock (one fell off
on the road from Moyale) and then to fix the windows – electric windows are
not the best idea for a trip like this. Yes, the roads really took their toll.
From Moyale about 100km out, we heard an odd banging noise. We stopped the car
and had a look only to find a shock hanging on the ground. Good thing that we
had had double shocks fitted – it was money well spent. Then yesterday,
Scott’s window kind of jerked to a painful death and mine looked to be
following suit. The shock got a running repair and miraculously lasted the 200km
here. It was in desperate need of a real repair which it got and so did the
windows – need a repair but though he spent ages trying it, the plastic
runners are too badly damaged so from now on we open doors to open windows!
we cross the equator (I hope!)
place is great. It is not a true campsite but we can use a room to shower. It
has 2 chalets but is really a kind of day-tripper place with nice gardens,
restaurant and bar. At 200KES each it is a true bargain. This price includes hot
showers and flush toilets – wow!
couple of days with only short bits of driving – mornings only really. We left
Isiolo yesterday morning and drove to Nybaruru (Thompson’s falls) where we
decided to spend the night. We drove past the Abedares Park, which Liesl said
she really, really liked but we gave it a skip. At 27USD pp entry plus 10USD pp
camping it seemed like a gyp because it is really pretty tiny. We drove the
entire length of the park (on the main road outside) in one hour. We got to T
falls at lunchtime and decided to stay the night and relax rather than push on
to Nakuru or the lakes and end up driving until 6 or 7 pm.
was a wise move. It is the highest town in Kenya (2360m) so gets pretty cold at
night but is really quite nice. Liesl hated it but I thought it OK. Again a
local hangout and very popular but with a huge grassy site for campers. Again
there were two tents but we couldn’t even see the other one! It was an
Australian couple bussing it but there was a matatu (Kenya’s version of
mini-bus taxis) strike on so they were stranded. We gave them a lift into Nakuru
this morning and while were there, another couple begged a lift off us of us to
here. This Matatu strike is turning into a call for a nation-wide strike of ALL
shops and services to force Moi to resign. Sounds potentially nasty so I think
that tomorrow we will head into Uganda. It is one of those things that can blow
over in a couple of days or equally turn into something quite serious. They are
already threatening to stop all transport on the roads including private
vehicles. Best to get out we think. Uganda is beckoning anyway!
place (Robert’s camp) is quite nice. It is 200KES pp to camp and is our first
true camp site in a while. Today for the first time in ages we found yoghurt and
milk – both pasteurised. The yoghurt was our lunch along with chips and
chocolate biscuits – what luxury. Tomorrow for breakfast we’ll have
Cornflakes (also bought today).
this place we have already seen about 5 crocodiles! It is pretty cool to see
them only a couple of metres away. Tonight we hope to see hippos. Apparently
they come into the camp site to graze. It should be pretty exciting.
have crossed the equator 4 times in the last two days so are still in the
Northern hemisphere. The first time was quite exciting. It was a major milestone
on our journey South so we stopped and took a few pictures. It is quite a spot
– there are a bunch of tourist shops there – 30 to be exact. They are
numbered, I didn’t actually count them! We have bought plenty of junk in Kenya
already – some nice cards, a hair clip, 4 bracelets and two alabaster things
– a kikuyu vase and the obligatory egg but this time with the world painted on
it. It’s actually very nice.
all this can you believe that we found no postcards! We saw some at T-falls
lodge where we stayed but the shop was closed at the time so we may end up
leaving our most-touristed country yet without buying any postcards. How sad
that would be. Oh well, sad but not a disaster. The place here is great, it
holds the world record for bird spotting – 300 species in 24 hours. I don’t
think I could identify 300 species full stop. We can however hear 250 of them
right now, from fisheagles and loeries to hornbills and piet-my-vrou.
moment of panic – we want to leave really, really early tomorrow so the idea
of Cornflakes for breakfast was nearly discarded. I managed to persuade Scott
however that it would be faster than buying food on the road so the Cornflakes
stand. I can’t believe how much I am looking forward to it. Today at breakfast
I drank Milo and that was another wonderful treat. Amazing what becomes
luxurious. Kenya is clearly an ex-British colony, there are many shared brand
names here and even campsites etc look familiar. Almost Zimbabwean in fact which
means a lot like SA but with a more colonial feel. Kind of nice after Sudan and
Ethiopia but also a bit like living in a time warp.