SLEEPING BANDITS & THE WORST ROAD IN AFRICA
1 June 2008
Moyale - Marsabit (Henry's Rest Camp N2 20.735 E37 57.941) Even Better Campsite!!
BRUCE: Whew! So today we completed the bandit road between Moyale and Marsabit unscathed! We were at the convoy meeting point at 8.30 sharp ready to leave at 9am. Finally oat 9.30am we were told that we could go without the convoy which made us happy as we would be a smaller quicker target and less likely to attract attention from the bandits. Also, being Sunday, we hoped that the bandits would all be at church or at home with their wives and kids! They must have been because we saw no bandits, even with Se on bandit watch from the front seat with binoculars. The road was ok, hard pack soil with massive ruts where trucks had been after the rains. Had it rained we would have had no chance of getting through. We took it easy and made it through the 100km 'Bandit' stretch in about 2.5 hrs. After that the road turned to hard stone and we had to drive at 20km/hr for the rest of the day.
It's true when they say something always breaks on this road, as our spare wheel carrier sheared in half with a crack to the rear body panel. So we loaded the roof rack up with the spare tyre and highlift jack, although didn't want too much weight up there either as the roof panel and windscreen panel were separating! Later we passed a land cruiser with a broken suspension and gave them my pliers that they said they'd drop off at the Marsabit Lodge. We'll see?!…but it's always good to help as you never know when you'll need the favour returned (we never saw the pliers again)! We arrived in Marsabit too late to stay at the camp in the park so we headed for Henry's Rest Camp which we'd heard good reports of. It was a great little spot with a shelter from the wind and a warm shower form a tap. It was a windy night but we were happy to have made it safely.
THE WORST ROAD GETS WORSE!
2 June 2008
Marsabit - Arches Post (Sumburu Women's Lodge Camp N0 37.872 E37 39.618) This was our second best campsite of the trip. Right on the Sumburu River. Don't overnight in Isiolo!
SARAH: I got a brilliant nights sleep and think this campsite is fantastic with a bakery on the premises, so we had fresh bread and omelettes for breakfast. We were back on the dirt road by 10am today and we only broke a beer bottle in the fridge and our netting elastic - not bad!! Yesterday's road was a warm up for today - hundreds of kilometres of badly corrugated dirt road that just didn't stop, forcing us to crawl along at 28km/hr with unchanging scenery. It was long, hard and boring and definitely the toughest travelling I've done yet. I was kept entertained looking for game and saw dik dik, gazelles with long necks, giraffe and zebra. The local people around here are so beautifully dressed with heavy beaded necklaces, bright orange and green clothes and the men wearing feathers on their heads and carrying spears. Again, such contrast to the dirty Ethiopian village people. These people have a lot more pride, although there was still begging. We didn't get as far as we'd hoped and camped at the Samburu Women's camp, arriving in the dark. The camp is outside the NP with a river in front of it and I knew it'll look beautiful in the morning. Too tired to cook, we had cheese sandwiches for dinner and another early night before the last stretch of bad road - 30km to Isiolo!
TAR AND A HOT SHOWER
3 June 2008
Arches Post - Nanyuki (Timau River Lodge N0 05.132 E37 15.186)
BRUCE: We got up at 5:30am this morning and watched the sun rise. The campsite is right on the river with the Samburu National Park on the opposite bank. Really beautiful setting. We were on the road early and finished the last 30km of the horrendous Moyale Road and celebrated as we got to the tar at the very scruffy town of Isiolo.
We stopped there to draw some money from the first ATM we've seen since Egypt and bought some meat for tonight. I was hoping for steak but the guys just hack off chunks of meat from the hindquarters that hang from hooks. For the first time in ages we made it to camp in early afternoon and we had time to clear out all the dust from the Landy after Brenda made us the most awesome omelette for lunch. We took stock of condition of Ubhejane after Ethiopia and the Moyale Road and the list looks like this:
·roof and windscreen panel loose
·2 rear cross member brackets sheared
·when I apply breaks the fuel gauge goes down
·when I indicate the break lights go on
·hole in the chassis
·vibration through the steering at 70km/hr
·broken spare wheel carrier
·shredded rear tyres…so not too bad!
They had just had rain so the river was too dirty to fish and I spent the afternoon fixing the net in the back of Ubhejane. We marinade the beef in the hope that it would be tender but when we braaied it, it was as tough as hell! Tasted good though and we put the remaining meat into the pot and made a curry on the fire that we can have in Nairobi tomorrow. I enjoyed the local Pilsner Beers and must have had one too many as Se would not let me onto the roof rack to do the tent and I was relegated to the bonnet.
CROSSING THE EQUATOR
4 June 2008
Nanyuki - Nairobi (Jungle Junction S1 17.327 E36 45.636)
Total distance travelled from Eastbourne to Nairobi: 18,375km
Road Kill: 2 (1 sand grouse and 1 pigeon, nearly 1 camel and a few Habesha)
SARAH: We could see beautiful Mount Kenya from our campsite in the morning before the cloud covered it. After a short walk we did some trading at the curio shop and swapped our Ethiopian mat and 2 caps for a lovely olive wood warthog carving. We ended up buying 2 carvings and lots of teaspoons with animal carvings on the end. Kenya has got such beautiful wooden things it's hard not to buy everything.
We passed the Equator and entered the Southern Hemisphere! What a milestone! It was great taking cheesy photos over the equator and watching the experiment of the water turning clockwise in the northing hemisphere, anti-clockwise in the southern and not moving at all on the equator. I didn't realise that vines also grow in a clockwise and anticlockwise direction. Of course I was lured into the curio shops and bought a magnificent set of elly bookends in mahogany. We stopped for lunch at the Trout-tree Restaurant (S0 06.190 E37 02.158 ) which was brilliant. It's a restaurant in a tree with black and white colobus monkeys around and a trout farm below with lots of circular fish tanks. The smoked trout on fresh brown bread was delicious and I enjoyed the living highlife!
Next stop was the famous Jungle Junction campsite in Nairobi, although the bloody vibration at 70km/hr didn't make the journey pleasant. It was strange to be around so many overlanders and bikers at JJ's and I was overwhelmed by the number of people, but it was good to talk to a few fellow travellers, young and old. We had a great curry for dinner with Taco and Brenda and got an early night before our big day at the garage.