Nairobi to Addis - security in North Kenya





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    Default Nairobi to Addis - security in North Kenya

    Hi all!
    My husband and I want to tour from Nairobi, Kenya to Addis, Ethiopia but have heard many conflicting stories about safety on the roads in North Kenya.
    Has anyone done this route recently that can confirm it is safe for us to tour alone?
    Also, is it possible to get a visa with a South African passport at Moyale border post or must this be done in Nairobi?
    Thank you in advance!
    Clare and Ray

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    Default Re: Nairobi to Addis - security in North Kenya

    http://www.4x4community.co.za/forum/...-from-Ethiopia

    Ethiopian visas must be obtained in one's home country. Visas are NOT available at Moyale.

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    Default Re: Nairobi to Addis - security in North Kenya

    Hi Clare & Ray,
    When are you thinking of doing the crossing?

    I suspect you are ahead of us, but maybe there's a chance we are around at the same time and can go together?

    Though I must admit I am actually looking into taking the Lake Turkana route: this means getting up to date on safety/security issues and also how to deal with the crossing it's as I think there's no customs and we would like to avoid Nairobi if we can.

    Will you be going to Jungle Junction in Nairobi? Apparently that's THE place to meet other travellers and get the most up to date info.

    Are you on Facebook and have asked there? There's a group called Overlanding Africa where you can ask such question. I'm not actually on there, so maybe you've asked already?

    Best,
    Helen

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    Default Re: Nairobi to Addis - security in North Kenya

    Helen: I am sorry to be the bearer of bad news, BUT there is NO way you can avoid Nairobi when heading north to Ethiopia. You will end up spending a lot of time there due to the bureaucracy involved for Ethiopia especially as you are planning the Lake Turkana route. Anyway, you cannot get Ethiopian visas at embassies in Nairobi unless you are resident of Kenya. That means you will have to courier your passports back to the UK and/or Germany to the Ethiopian embassies in those countries. That is unless you already have your visas and they are not out of date.

    Also, for the Lake Turkana route, there are no Kenyan border controls on that remote and intrepid route. You have to log out of Immigration and Customs in Nairobi prior to heading north. Immigration and Customs are in central Nairobi and they are used to dealing with this for those heading up the Lake Turkana route.

    I advise you and Clare and Ray to study very carefully Stan Weakley's Slow Donkey blog where he details very precisely the process of Ethiopian visas, and how to log out of Kenyan immigration and customs. I think he did it in about September/October 2015.

    Jungle Junction is, indeed, the overlanders campsite and it is in the Nairobi suburb of Langata. Chris of JJs and his driver help overlanders in dealing with the bureaucracy involved in heading north. There you may meet other overlanders, but there are fewer overlanders nowadays than in the past due to the difficulties of getting over the Mediterrranean.

    Please be aware that the Kenyan elections are on the 8th August. Perhaps a good time to avoid Kenya over the immediate election period, but we pray for a peaceful and sensible election.

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    Default Re: Nairobi to Addis - security in North Kenya

    Hi WW,

    Thanks for the response! I did say I'm still researching: was hoping to save you the job of a response, before I'd even looked at the map more closely
    Will it be a bind for you, if I do that shortly? We met some motorcyclists a while back who actually did do that route, so I'd like to check back with them, in case I misunderstood something.

    Our passports are currently with the Ethiopian embassy in Germany and I'm hoping they'll be released with visas by the end of the week, after we supplied them with some additional information last week.

    We're intending to enter Kenya from Uganda after 13th August, so we're hoping any bad reactions and backlashes will have settled. It was another of any reasons for avoiding the capital.

    As you say, we all hope for peaceful and sensible elections, though I do feel some undercurrents brewing for the rest of our trip from there, from what I've been reading lately...

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    Default Re: Nairobi to Addis - security in North Kenya

    Quote Originally Posted by Wickychicky View Post
    Hi WW,

    Thanks for the response! I did say I'm still researching: was hoping to save you the job of a response, before I'd even looked at the map more closely
    Will it be a bind for you, if I do that shortly? We met some motorcyclists a while back who actually did do that route, so I'd like to check back with them, in case I misunderstood something.

    Our passports are currently with the Ethiopian embassy in Germany and I'm hoping they'll be released with visas by the end of the week, after we supplied them with some additional information last week.

    We're intending to enter Kenya from Uganda after 13th August, so we're hoping any bad reactions and backlashes will have settled. It was another of any reasons for avoiding the capital.

    As you say, we all hope for peaceful and sensible elections, though I do feel some undercurrents brewing for the rest of our trip from there, from what I've been reading lately...
    Helen

    That's great that you already have the Ethiopian visa process underway. I presume you are intending getting your Sudanese visas in Addis.

    Do post any questions you may have about the Turkana route and I would only be too happy to help. Stan Weakley followed my advice when he did that route. Perhaps it would be a good idea to start another thread here on the Kenya forum with questions about Turkana?

    You will still need to log out of Kenyan Immigration and Customs prior to heading towards Turkana. This will be easier to do in Nairobi, but you might be able to do this in Kisumu, Eldoret or Kitale - I do to know for sure. I think I read of an overlander on this forum (?mdegale) who logged into Kenya when coming north-south in Eldoret or Kitale. All these three towns are in western Kenya near-ish Uganda. Perhaps a search on the forum for this trip report from a few years ago.

    What specific undercurrents are you alluding to? In Kenya or further north?

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    Default Re: Nairobi to Addis - security in North Kenya

    Quote Originally Posted by Wazungu Wawili View Post
    I think I read of an overlander on this forum (?mdegale) who logged into Kenya when coming north-south in Eldoret or Kitale.
    Yes it was Matthew de Gale, mdgale or mdegale. He hasn't been active for a fairly long time, but his reports will still be around.

    Edit: http://www.4x4community.co.za/forum/...e-now-possible

    And yes, they cleared immigration in Eldoret.
    Last edited by Tony Weaver; 2017/07/03 at 04:36 PM.
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    Default Re: Nairobi to Addis - security in North Kenya

    Tx, to both of you, checking him out now.
    Coming back soon with details and updates

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    Default Re: Nairobi to Addis - security in North Kenya

    Quote Originally Posted by Wickychicky View Post
    Tx, to both of you, checking him out now.
    Coming back soon with details and updates
    I've just edited my post above to give the info.
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    Default Re: Nairobi to Addis - security in North Kenya

    Quote Originally Posted by Tony Weaver View Post
    Yes it was Matthew de Gale, mdgale or mdegale. He hasn't been active for a fairly long time, but his reports will still be around.

    Edit: http://www.4x4community.co.za/forum/...e-now-possible

    And yes, they cleared immigration in Eldoret.
    Thanks, Tony.

    Helen: Matthew de Gale did the west Turkana route - and that was only possible because of the new bridge at Omorate. Most people - including us - do the east Turkana route. That is: Nanyuki-Maralal-Baragoi-South Horr-Loyengalani-Sibiloi NP-Omorate. This route is not for the faint hearted or ill prepared: it is tough and far from help, and you need to have sufficient fuel for over 1,000 kms and water and food to last for some time in case of a breakdown. The other option on the east Turkana route is Nanyuki-Archer's Post-Laisamis-then take the upgraded wind power project route to just near South Horr-Loyengalani-Sibiloi NP-Omorate. The same warnings apply.

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    Default Nairobi to Addis - security in North Kenya

    Thanks WW. Ok... getting my researching cap on now.
    It was certainly the east route we had thought was the one to do, will look at matthew's now as well.

    I wonder if Clare and Ray are up for it?!

    I certainly would be, but I'd like to read stan's report first to consider timings and season, and of course it's always nicer with 2 vehicles.

    Fuel and food not a problem for us, at least one less thing to think about!
    Last edited by Wickychicky; 2017/07/03 at 05:19 PM.

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    Default Re: Nairobi to Addis - security in North Kenya

    Edit to previous post: with the current, unpredictable situation that has been happening on the western side of the Laikipia plateau, I think if you want to do the Turkana route, then best to go Nanyuki-Archer's Post-Laisamis-the new upgraded dirt road to just north of South Horr-Loyengalani etc. Not the lovely route Nanyuki-Maralal-Baragoi-South Horr. The troubles with ranch invasions etc have been on the section Nanyuki-Maralal. Best to stay out of that area for the moment. The eastern Laikipia i.e. Nanyuki, Timau, Lewa, Isiolo has not been affected with land invasions of private ranches due to the current terrible drought.

    You will need to plan your route from Uganda very carefully to avoid going through Rumuruti. Just ask if you want help on route planning.
    Last edited by Wazungu Wawili; 2017/07/03 at 09:11 PM.

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    Default Nairobi to Addis - security in North Kenya

    Goodness WW, I, and likely some others are truly indebted to you for your careful, detailed, thoughtful and timely comments!

    I had just formulated some specific ideas and questions on the current situation on the Ethiopian side, with some stories and rumours to follow up on, on the Kenyan side, and you've beautifully pre-empted me, thank you!

    In the end it wont be such a big deal if we do have to take the main Moyale border, but in the meantime it's nice to play around with more remote ideas.

    For Clare and Ray, I haven't yet found anything untoward going on for the Moyale crossing and generally, sticking to the main routes is certainly fine at the moment m, it seems (within the usual confines of 'fine' I.e. Keep your wits about you and your ear to the ground, avoid big demonstrations etc.

    WW: which newspapers are decent to follow for news in Kenya for up to date info/happenings? If I do a google search, the main results are from Daily Nation, the standard, Tuko, the star, the independent, newsNow.
    Am obviously looking for more objective reporting than the UK Sun et al ...

    There are at least upsides to hubby having a bacterial infection and being holed up for a day or 2!

    Thank you in advance!
    Helen
    Last edited by Wickychicky; 2017/07/03 at 10:52 PM.

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    Default Re: Nairobi to Addis - security in North Kenya

    You are welcome.

    The Kenyan newspapers to follow are The Nation, The Standard, and The Star. Also follow the online Allafrica.com which is a portal for all the top stories in Africa. It is invaluable - as is our beloved BBC News online.

    But don't get over-anxious with what you read in the Kenyan newspapers. They love a bit of drama, and remember that things that may happen are more often than not very localised. During the disputed elections in 2007, my 80 year old mother was driving around the Nairobi suburb of Karen as normal and kept asking me what the fuss was about...

    Sorry to hear about the bacterial infection. If you need to go to a hospital or clinic then look for one the Aga Khan hospitals/clinics. I think you are in Tanzania at the moment.

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    Default Re: Nairobi to Addis - security in North Kenya

    There have been a number of reports indicating that this year the Ethiopian embassy in Nairobi have backtracked on the issuing of Ethiopian visas for non-Kenyan residents traveling south to north.

    Apparently the way to go about it is to ask at the embassy to speak to the Ethiopian ambassador or his deputy if they refuse a visa. His office is nearby and they will direct you there. The ambassador is apparently quite happy to issue you the necessary authorization in writing and then back at the embassy they issue the visa. I think you just have to explain to him that you have been on the road for some time and because of a flexible schedule were unable to apply for visa in your home country before leaving.

    I would seriously consider the South Turkana route with WW's provisos. We did the Moyale route on the way back and Turkana is unforgettable. I would not be keen to do this on my own though. You are bound to spend a few days at Jungle Junction in Nairobi and might well find someone to join you. The distance between refueling points on the Turkana Route has become shorter now and there are reports of a reliable fuel station in South Horr now making the distance to the nearest fuel in Ethiopia at Jinka, about 600km. Keep an eye on the security situation in Laikipia and Turkana as it can be quite fluid.
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    Smile Re: Nairobi to Addis - security in North Kenya

    UPDATE

    Thank you WW for the best wishes, Jens was feeling much better this morning and we continued our drive. We missed the Aga Khan in Mbeya but have noted for the rest of our time here.

    Also thanks re the newspapers: I’m into allafrica.com as of today, and may start reading the papers in more detail soon. BBC is of course a must and I’ve used it ever since emigrating to Germany. Though I have to say I think they could do even better on African reporting and journalism.

    Stan: now I am now into your site, which is truly amazing. I have to admit to having omitted it so far because it was just too much detail while I was enjoying myself in southern Africa. Now I need the detail, we’re jumping in at the deep end. HOWEVER: I’ve only finished reading the planning section, not the actual, so I apologise if I end up repeating something you have already published!

    Today was a very communicative day I discovered, once I was able to go online and check up on the day’s activities this evening. Here is what we have gleaned so far, which should also be of use to CLARE AND RAY: (sorry for CAPS, it’s the only way to get emphasis on Tapatalk)

    A fellow traveller, Jose, is now in Addis and came straight back today with info re LAKE TURKANA: he is travelling in an old 2WD Mercedes bus/camper and he took the WESTERN route just over a week ago (like Matthew de Gale, who has also kindly responded to my personal message already: I’ll be grilling him over the next couple of days, poor thing!). I haven’t yet checked Jose’s spelling of town names, he makes a few typos, so apologies in advance if not clear, I’m happy to cross check them, if you would like me to:

    “There is good tar until 20km before Kainuk, later gravel until Lokichar.
    From Lokichar to Kalokol is the worst as the asphalt is completely broken and you drive mostly on the roadside with stones and potholes.
    From Kalakol to the Ethiopian border is sand road and tundra offroad, quite comfortable for us, except the river crossing full of sand. Sand under the axle once, but no problems at all.”

    Regarding SAFETY here: “Only around Lokichar the police advised us about the convoy for 50km as there were some assaults recently…but we felt very safe on all the route. There is not much traffic, though you always meet some taxi or trucks around the area.
    For the convoy, the police organised it with a barrier, and when they let us go everyone was racing away…not really together. We just tried to be in front of two big, slow trucks to avoid dust J
    We slept at the police stations, friendly staff.

    Petrol in Lodwas was 95KeS, cheaper than in the Omo valley.

    After the border to Ethiopia you have a brand new road to Turmi, including the free, new bridge in Omoroate.
    Later, 85km gravel road to Keyafer and everything tarred (with varying quality) to Addis.”


    I joined Jens to the Facebook group yesterday, while he was recovering and sleeping in bed, and we received some terrific answers today. First: “Make sure you read “Slow Donkey!”… I grinned at that! Then this one:


    EASTERN ROUTE, LAKE TURKANA:
    “I drove the east route in early June (2017). I didn’t use a carnet in Kenya…exit stamp in Nairobi…the Ethiopians didn’t check the stamp and the Kenyan police station in Illeret merely asked if I had a visa, but didn’t check anything (they will record your name/passport number). The Ethiopian “police” had a rope blocking the road at the first village in Ethiopia to check your visa. The immigration and customs formalities happen in Omorate and are maybe the most relaxed border crossing in Africa.

    The road is very rough starting about 40km before Loyangalani. Expect 20kmh on average.

    Diesel costs 120 Ksh/L or more.

    After Loyangalani you see no one except a very few tribal people.

    There was 1 surprisingly big village about halfway, which had some safaricom service.

    The T4A map was mostly very accurate except a few riverbed crossings. There seemed to be a few possible alternate roads.
    If it rains before you leave Loyangalani or while you’re en route, the road will be impassable, possibly for a while. Especially the section from Illeret into Ethiopia wouldn’t be passable. There are quite a few (dry) riverbed crossings the whole way.
    It’s great for wild camping. Beware of the incredible wind.
    If you go through Sibiloi park it costs 23$ plus a couple for the car. There’s no gate on the north side, so you can easily camp within the park boundaries without paying the ridiculous $20. Just go past the koobi fora museum and pick a spot.
    There’s a ranger camp at an abandoned campsite in the north, so maybe go past that, although they’re unlikely to bother you.
    If you go via Sibiloi, the petrified forest is worth a detour.
    Amazing drive!”

    Then further, “I’m pretty sure you can’t get a stamp in Illeret. It’s a tiny police station surrounded by pastoral huts…It would suck to be turned around there. I believe there is a road from Illeret to Moyale, but I can’t find it on a map.
    I would try to ask the immigration officers when you enter Kenya if there’s a chief officer who can give you an exit stamp, rather a general stamp with a handwritten note and the officer’s signature.”


    GETTING STAMPS: Last night I wrote to the Kenyan Customs Commissioner, having found them via Google. He replied personally today, which actually really surprised me, and copied in 6 colleagues at the regional office in ELDORET, where the Regional Coordinator will be able to help us In response there have been 4 other emails with the local officers saying they await our arrival and are happy to help!
    That seems to be for Carnet stamping. Need to do some more research re immigration and passport stamping.

    GETTING VISAS: the Ethiopian Consulate in Frankfurt tried to call us yesterday, Monday, but we missed their call. They don’t receive calls on Tuesdays, only Wednesdays and Fridays. I’m keen to see what it is they want this time, after our 2 previous phone calls with them last week. Wish us luck that we can reach them tomorrow and they are still happy to issue the visas asap!
    Thankfully Jose (W. Turkana route above) has at least confirmed he got his in Nairobi! And that will be our back up plan. He said it was really easy and they got the visa on the same day with a letter from their Embassy. 3 months (not sure if he was talking about duration of stay or validity of visa. CLARE & RAY, you may want to check that out yourselves?

    SECURITY ISSUES: I still haven’t found any reports about anything untoward when using the Moyale crossing. The only issue to keep an eye on will be the elections, already mentioned, on 8 August.

    These 2 paragraphs on the German Foreign Office site, make me a little cautious, though there is no mention of the like on the British site. (I found a similar situation when we travelling the Silk Road in 2013-14, with quite strong advise from the British government about avoiding the Fergana Valley, and in the end, everything was fine). I understand they have an obligation to report the potentially dangerous areas, and it’s good that they do, but from our point of view, we like to put everything into perspective by cross checking with other sources. This is currently ongoing on our side for the Ethiopia crossing. If any of you have an opinion, would be happy to hear!

    Rough translation: “on trips to the south Omo zone, particularly off the usual tourist trail, we strongly recommend gaining up to date information on the security situation with the local government offices.

    Following an armed attack on a European travel group on 7th November 2016, we advise you to only undertake professional tours to the northern Omo National Park and accompanied by Ethiopian security personnel. We advise against independent tours to this region.”

    We haven’t seen anything like this on the UK foreign office site and it was great to hear Jose saying today that he didn’t feel unsafe at all on this part of his trip. We’re monitoring the situation until then.

    Once again, thank you so much to everyone for their assistance in this part of our trip. We’ll keep posting updates and are delighted to exchange info and ideas with whoever would like to contribute!

    Helen & Jens

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    Default Re: Nairobi to Addis - security in North Kenya

    Helen

    The Western Lake Turkana route:
    I have been thinking about this and my advice to you is to contact Dick Barnley of Sirikwa Safaris near Kitale and ask him whether this is a safe route (not in terms of the road/track but because of potential security issues). This is Pokot land and the young Pokot men have been part of the invasion of private ranches way to the east on the western part of the Laikipia Plateau. The Barnleys have lived near Kitale for three generations and know everything that is going on in the area. Dick is also very well travelled, and is sensible and pragmatic. I would advise you to go and camp or stay at Barnleys anyway when you cross over from Uganda. Kitale, the Uasin Gishu Plateau, The Cherangani Hills, and Saiwa Swamp are wonderful parts of the world and near Mt Elgon.

    The Eastern Lake Turkana route:
    Yes, it is wild and remote from Loyangalani north through Sibiloi National Park. It is not to be tackled in the rains. T4A is accurate (we put some of the tracks on it) except that crossings of luggas (dry river beds) vary over the season depending on the last flood. Follow the most used track. When we came south from Omorate, we did not see another vehicle for two and a half days. Koobi Fora is a good place to camp and is very interesting if you are interested in paleontology and where some of the earliest remains of Early Man were found by Richard Leakey et al. You are not allowed to wild camp in Sibiloi NP (but we and others have done so). Pay the money to enter Sibiloi NP and camp at Koobi Fora (which is owned by the National Museums of Kenya and camping is much cheaper than the NP camping fees). Koobi Fora is within Sibiloi NP. Actually, there is no way round Sibiloi NP as the park boundaries were extended eastwards to cover the track to the east which had been outside the park boundaries.

    You cannot get stamped out of Kenya at Ileret, but there is a police post. It is advised that one should check in with the police commander there and get your details entered into the police Incident Book - this is so that if for some reason Immigration or Customs need to check that you have actually exited Kenya, they can do so with the police at Ileret. Also, take the police commander's phone number. They will also be able to advise you on the security heading north to the Ethiopian border.

    There is no practical road east from Ileret to Moyale. This is a remote, hard land with some mountain ranges. The Chalbi Desert is a different proposition altogether and the track across the Chalbi goes from North Horr not from Ileret.

    Southern Ethiopia:
    The British FCO travel advice for Ethiopia does mention the Omo National Park incident in November 2016.

    I have read that the road from Omorate to Turmi etc is now all tar. When we drove it the track was still dirt. There is Immigration and Customs at Omorate. A word of warning: when you enter Ethiopia, you have to nominate which border post you are exiting Ethiopia from and this is put on the documentation you are issued with. It can only be changed, apparently, in Addis if you change your mind.

    We never felt unsafe in the Omo region in 2014 - or the Ethiopian Somali Region earlier this year - but the tribes people in the Omo region can be "in your face" and begging is rife. There is a good campsite called Mango Camp at Turmi.

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    Default Re: Nairobi to Addis - security in North Kenya

    The following is an excerpt from our blog (we were coming north to south) down eastern Lake Turkana. Please note that in the second post we crossed the Laikipia Plateau on the section that I am not recommending anyone takes at the moment i.e. Maralal to Nanyuki - I am recommending the different route Nanyuki-Archer's Post-Laisamis-South Horr due to ranch invasions on the western side of the Laikipia.

    Journey to the Jade Sea
    Ethiopia-Kenya, 11-13 December 2013

    The bureaucracy of exiting Ethiopia proved to be a doddle. At the tiny township of Omorate on the banks of the Omo River, we found charming and helpful Immigration and Customs officers who collected our passports and papers and processed them and had them ready for us when we returned from buying a few supplies. We headed back out of what constitutes a town and after 20 kms, we turned south down a narrow dirt track. This was The Road to Kenya. Shortly, we could see the Omo Delta close on our right hand side, and the waters of Lake Turkana in front. There was a police post with a wire across the track where they checked our passports: a few kilometres on, our GPS said we were at the Ethiopian/Kenyan border. We drew a line in the sand, wrote the names, and jumped across it. We were there!

    At the first settlement in Kenya, Ileret, we stopped and checked into the local police post, making sure that our arrival was properly noted in the Incident Book. And that was the only formality on arrival in Kenya – proper immigration and customs clearance would have to be done on arrival in Nairobi.

    We pottered on up lava slopes and through sandy pans to find a nice spot to camp overlooking the lake by a ruined old lodge. Despite the fact that we were actually in the protected Sibiloi National Park, a local goat herder appeared, and after giving him a cup of tea, he asked for some dawa (medicine) for his hip. It was a relief to have some language in common – Swahili. We tried to ask whether this was a bruise or a long-standing problem, but our miming was not up to it, so we gave him some Ibuprofen. Then his three sons appeared who had some passable English. Their father’s hip appeared to have been a trouble for some time and, despite our comprehensive medical kit, somehow we didn’t have the wherewithal to do hip surgery. So, we had to explain that he needed a proper doctor, but in the meantime suggested that the boys did more work and he took it a bit easy. Much hilarity.

    The next day we camped at Koobi Fora, the famed “Cradle of Mankind” where Richard Leakey discovered some of the earliest remains of Early Man - Australopithecus anamensis (4 million years), Australopithecus boisei (2 million years) and Homo habilis (1.6 million). Here at the Research Station for hominid palaeontological research, we set up camp overlooking Lake Turkana on a beautiful green spit of land. There weren’t any researchers at Koobi Fora so we had the place to ourselves. This is a seriously remote place two days’ drive on tracks from the nearest semblance of civilisation and everything has to be driven in or flown in to the airstrip. It is also a very hot and arid area, so working on the dig sites must be challenging to say the least; combined with the fact that Lake Turkana is alkaline and therefore not drinkable, and fresh water has to be collected from the roofs on the rare occasions it does rain here in the semi-desert. Fossils were everywhere – 4 million year old “elephants”, huge extinct crocodiles, corals, “rhinos”, and other unidentifiable creatures. In the bay were flocks of flamingos and pelicans and huge Nile crocodile, and herds of hartebeest and zebra grazed the grassy foreshore. In the evening, we heard hippo snorting around the lake.

    We had a very hot and sweaty evening, which turned out to be the forerunner of a change in the weather. In the morning, we woke at dawn to a few raindrops. However, the rain held off for what was a most amazing adventure along sandy tracks, lava flows and long stretches of lava gravel: think lunar landscape. Along with the remains of Early Man, here in Sibiloi National Park is a wonderful petrified forest – on a dry and arid hillside are the petrified remains of huge cedar trees which flourished here 7 million years ago. Six hours drive from Koobi Fora, we turned on to the “main road” – itself just another sandy and rocky track, and a few kilometres on we saw our first vehicle for two and a half days. How amazing was that? Luckily, the shock absorber mount (with Hugh’s skillful bush mechanics) had held up to some serious bashing as we were far from help. Another hour or so took us to the settlement of Loiyangalani. We had last been here 27 years ago and, although it still feels like the end of the world, it has grown considerably and there are some aspects of civilisation. It was incongruous to have mobile phone signal, be able to buy a SIM card and to buy fuel from a barrel.

    From the Northern Frontier District across the Equator
    Kenya, 14-23 December 2013

    The following morning in Loiyangalani we woke to some proper rain. However, undeterred we pressed South, but soon came to a rushing lugga (a normally dry riverbed) and had to stop. We put up our awning, and an elderly local woman joined us in its shelter. Luggas fill quickly when the rain comes, but, happily, they also dry quickly. Within 30 minutes, the water had dwindled to a sensible level, and we squeezed Granny into the back seat and pushed across. Sadly our last view of the Jade Sea looked more like a Scottish loch. We dropped Granny at her settlement about 20 miles further on (and so saved her a good day’s walk), and had a great drive over huge lava gravel ridges into South Horr. Just before we got there, we felt like some lunch, and pulled off the track. As we did so, the rain started again, so we threw up our awning, and as the rain increased three locals joined us. It was clearly not going to dry up soon, so, during a slight lessening, we decided to go straight into the settlement, and have our picnic there. Although South Horr sits in a lovely valley of beautiful Acacia woodland, the rain by this time was so heavy that wild camping was looking unattractive, so we pulled into the ‘Samburu Sports Club’. There they had, of all things, a basketball court under an enormous roof, into which the whole Land Rover was ushered. Bliss, though it was the most incongruous place we have camped!

    The main lugga through the town was a raging torrent. However, within a couple of hours, the rain had stopped, the lugga was dry, and we went for a little recce to see the state of the various luggas that we knew crossed the track we would have to follow the next morning. All were dry, but once again, there was an ‘orrid noise from the back wheel. Sure enough, our old friend the shock absorber mounting was in trouble again, this time having actually sheared in one corner. Happily, the manager at the campsite, Samson, had an electric drill, drill bits and some bolts and we were able to conduct a good bush repair that would see us through.

    Given the rain, at this stage we decided to head South through Baragoi and Maralal, rather than cutting South East across to the join the main road South from Ethiopia. The latter crosses a feature called the Milgis Lugga, which we knew would be a challenge given the unseasonal rain. So, we opted to go down the bandit alley, where there has been a pattern of hold-ups, but does stick to high ground. So, we drove down to Baragoi, where the trouble is likely to begin and pulled in at the Police Station. There we discussed the pros and cons, and the police made it quite clear that us having chosen to open the discussion, they were jolly well determined to provide us with an escort. So, with two burly armed coppers aboard, we cracked on down to Maralal (probably some of the worst roads we had been on all trip). We were clearly not going to get to Maralal in time for the coppers to catch the bus home, so we actually stopped the bus when we saw it approaching about 20 kms short of Maralal. It was crammed. But, no problem, a couple of locals got slung out on the roadside, and our coppers leapt aboard. We did not feel good, but the police were pleased with their tip.

    In Maralal, we took a banda at a slightly sad little place that had seen better days. After South Horr, much was damp, and we felt like some hot water. We would have happily rolled into something expensive, but that was not on offer. The next morning we decided to risk the rain and head through the Laikipia plateau (which we love, but can have difficulties in the rain), and sure enough, shortly after turning off towards Nanyuki, we came across our first insurmountable obstacle: a bridge was gone – almost completely, all that was left was a central span. Inspecting the damage we encountered an elderly white lady, who remarked that the adjoining estate, Sosian, had a bridge and a way round. Luckily, I had had some dealings with the Manager there, and he kindly gave us permission to transit their estate. They had been lucky to retain their own bridge: they showed us photos of it completely underwater the previous day. But we had a nice little game drive through the bush and managed to get back on the Nanyuki road without incident.

    50 kms later, we bumped into a friend on the road outside his farm. He invited us down for tea in his house, a lush little oasis. After this pleasant break (the first home we had been in since Cairo), we bimbled on into Nanyuki. Just short of the town we hit tarmac, the first we had seen for 616 miles. A comfortable night in the lovely old colonial Nanyuki Sports Club, and an easy run (with the obligatory photo at the equator) the following morning took us down to Nairobi. Phase 1 was complete: 9,570 miles from Wiltshire. So here we are, safe and sound in Nairobi; the weather seems to have righted itself, we have dealt with Kenyan bureaucracy and are legally here in Kenya now.

  24. #19
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    Default Nairobi to Addis - security in North Kenya

    Fabulous, thank you so much.
    I really appreciate the thought, time and effort you've put in here!
    Will definitely contact Dick and try to stay there.
    Last edited by Wickychicky; 2017/07/05 at 02:16 PM.

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  26. #20
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    Default Re: Nairobi to Addis - security in North Kenya

    Whilst the following is not strictly speaking about security between Nairobi and Addis (there is a perfectly good new tarmac road to Moyale), I feel that it needs to be said.

    If anyone has been following Hugmin42's blog, PLEASE do NOT follow his route from Mt Kenya to Lakes Baringo and Bogoria. And please note the places and areas that ought to be avoided at the moment (these troubles won't, however, last for ever, we hope). There are plenty of safe routes around the current troubled areas of the western and central Laikipia.

    The track Hugmin42 took from Nyahururu to Lake Bogoria is
    • an unmaintained track
    • not the most direct or easiest route (the easiest route is Nyahururu-Nakuru-Marigat-Bogoria/Baringo).
    • it is through an area that has seen ranch invasions, armed clashes, and Pokot banditry in the past year.
    • it passes through private land - one of which, Ol Ari Nyiro, is owned by Kuki Gallman who was shot on the ranch earlier this year.
    • it passes through Mugie Ranch which, again, has seen armed clashes.
    • the road which he eventually joined from Mugie to Baringo drops into the Rift Valley (Hugo seemed surprised about the Rift Valley).
    • this escarpment road dropping into the Rift Valley is a dirt road.


    I am concerned that Hugmin42 is now attempting to ascend the western escarpment of the Rift Valley on some unused track that his GPS sent him on. Do not rely solely on GPS and study a paper map prior to heading off into the unknown. Remember that C roads are C roads for a reason.

    Please travel Africa informed - and thence safely.

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