Up the east side of Lake Turkana (Part 1)





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  1. #1
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    Default Up the east side of Lake Turkana (Part 1)

    If you are only interested in the routing we took and the condition of the tracks, please refer to part 2, coming soon. This is more the background and the routing leading up to the lake from the Kenyan border, for those who have been following us more closely.


    The trip up the the eastern side of Lake Turkana has been on our itinerary since August 2016 when we met a Dutch couple on the Turkish-Iranian border on their motorbikes and they had highlighted it, along with the Omo Valley in Ethiopia, as one of the most inspiring parts of their trip. Reading Stanís trip reports (and his excitement at completing it is contagious) confirmed our desire to go.

    We tried several times on a few internet groups to see if others were around to join us for this more remote tour, but we werenít so lucky. At this point I realised how few Cape to Cairo travellers are currently on the road: I had imagined it being quite a few more. Maybe there are more, just getting on with their trips and not using the internet as much as we do.

    When we heard that crossing the border to Ethiopia had become tricky overnight at the end of July, our sturdy plan was shaken. Contingency scenarios had to be hatched, or at least incubated. Initially, Jens wasnít keen to plough on and hope for the best at the border post, as it would be a long detour to find out if we could get in, so our thoughts wandered all the way down to South Africa and meeting up with our friends who live there again, particularly as the third lad in the trio of old school friends was due to be in Cape Town and Stellenbosch at the beginning of October, too. Alternatively, we could saunter around Kenya and Tanzania and ship back to Germany from here, but at this stage, this was our least favourite plan, based mostly on ignorance regarding Kenya, a previous holiday in Tanzania (we want to see new stuff) and perhaps a too limited budget for visiting any more national parks.

    We were determined, as far as possible, to miss out Nairobi on our Kenyan trip. Nothing personal against Nairobi, we just arenít here to visit big cities on this trip, unless we have to. After some initial internet research, it wasnít clear if we could get our passports or carnet stamped out anywhere other than Nairobi, but we were game to give it a try, anywhere along the way. Thanks to more internetting, giving us direct access to the Head of the Revenue Authority, we established we could take care of stamping the carnet out at Eldoret.

    On Wazungu Wawili's good advice we first stayed at Barnley's Guesthouse outside Kitale, arriving on a very rare occasion for us, in the dark. It had been a long day and we went to bed quite quickly. Next morning we awoke to beautiful birdsong, not the usual squawks we had often been hearing from the hornbills and the like. With my eye still closed I imagined I was back in England for a brief moment, before monkey chatter brought us back to the exotic.


    Richard Barnley's ageing appearance belies his adventurous, almost swashbuckling, past and we quickly knew we were talking to a man who would give us decent information on feasible routes and current status regarding danger zones. He is very enthusiastic about finding a way round our border issues and we play through a few scenarios and their outcomes together. By the time we are shopping in Kitale a little while later, we feel confident enough to call the Ethiopian embassy in Berlin again (for the fourth time). Our counterpart there directs us to the next man in Ethiopia, who directs us on to a third man, who finally gives us the go-ahead to cross into Ethiopia via Ileret and on to Omorate!
    (sadly it looks like we were so concerned with our trip, we forgot to take any photos of the beautiful gardens at Barnleyís or of Mrs Barnley, still getting around the garden grandly with her Zimmerframe and in her 90s).


    We dashed off south to Eldoret to get our carnet and passports stamped. It was extremely fortunate that when the Head of the Revenue Authority had replied to my email enquiry he had included the right team in Eldoret, because when I got there, they were all out at an external meeting and the junior of the team told us our request was impossible: the vehicle has to be viewed on the day it leaves the country. When I said I'd spoken to the Head, including his name, he raised his eyebrows and asked us to sit down. An hour or so later he stamped and signed our carnet after kindly calling the right people and they told him what to do.
    Another strange situation at the passport office when the department head said there was no need to stamp us out, as our permitted time in Kenya expired in a couple of weeks, despite our East Africa visa being valid for another 6 weeks. He told us the border officer must have been rather inexperienced as he would always stamp tourists in for the maximum allowable time. While we found this all a bit strange, we were happy not to have a stamp in case we arrived in Ethiopia and they were still demanding huge, unaffordable deposits for entry.


    We're ready to go!


    We arrive at Kerio View Hotel with the sun low in the sky, but certainly light enough for us to take deep breaths of the view. I had been wondering why people always mentioned the Rift Valley, and if I'm not mistaken, this was our first, close-up sight of it. We are enraptured! So abuzz with excitement about the whole affair and this grandiose view stretching panoramically before us we treat ourselves to dinner in the hotel restaurant: fillet steak done to perfection and a bottle of South African red wine. We chose this destination over Wazungu Wawili's recommendation of Nanyuki as Richard had learned that Jens is a keen paragliding pilot, with his paraglider in the car. We're unfortunately in the wrong season for flying, but we certainly hope to return soon. The hotel's restaurant and bar looks like it will be alive and rocking in season and has a hint of Alpine apres ski hut, though tonight we are the only guests, along with another couple.

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    Next day we stay at Robert's camp and feel like we're in an aviary! It's not a peaceful night though as some other guests much further down the shore have a rather loud party into the early hours. When I hear them tipsily heading off to the shore at 2am then splashing water, I fear for their lives, if there really are crocs in the water, then decide they're old enough to know what they're doing and nod off back to sleep. When their 100HP engine (sounds like it anyway) starts later in the morning we know they've survived, but wonder whether anything else in the lake will at the speed they set off at, large wake trailing.
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    Armed with Stanís trip reports detailing each stage, we set off in great anticipation on our Lake Turkana adventure. As Maralal is the last chance for decent fuel on the trip, we will call that day one of the tour and start part two from there.

    See;

    http://www.4x4community.co.za/forum/showthread.php/217586-SLOWDONKEY-THROUGH-AFRICA-Trans-Africa-Trip-Anne-and-Stan-Weakley?p=3530009#post3530009
    Choose word file -Back up 3
    then page 192 ff, stan's day 3


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  3. #2
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    Default Re: Up the east side of Lake Turkana (Part 1)

    Quote Originally Posted by Wickychicky View Post
    If you are only interested in the routing we took and the condition of the tracks, please refer to part 2, coming soon. This is more the background and the routing leading up to the lake from the Kenyan border, for those who have been following us more closely.


    The trip up the the eastern side of Lake Turkana has been on our itinerary since August 2016 when we met a Dutch couple on the Turkish-Iranian border on their motorbikes and they had highlighted it, along with the Omo Valley in Ethiopia, as one of the most inspiring parts of their trip. Reading Stanís trip reports (and his excitement at completing it is contagious) confirmed our desire to go.

    We tried several times on a few internet groups to see if others were around to join us for this more remote tour, but we werenít so lucky. At this point I realised how few Cape to Cairo travellers are currently on the road: I had imagined it being quite a few more. Maybe there are more, just getting on with their trips and not using the internet as much as we do.

    When we heard that crossing the border to Ethiopia had become tricky overnight at the end of July, our sturdy plan was shaken. Contingency scenarios had to be hatched, or at least incubated. Initially, Jens wasnít keen to plough on and hope for the best at the border post, as it would be a long detour to find out if we could get in, so our thoughts wandered all the way down to South Africa and meeting up with our friends who live there again, particularly as the third lad in the trio of old school friends was due to be in Cape Town and Stellenbosch at the beginning of October, too. Alternatively, we could saunter around Kenya and Tanzania and ship back to Germany from here, but at this stage, this was our least favourite plan, based mostly on ignorance regarding Kenya, a previous holiday in Tanzania (we want to see new stuff) and perhaps a too limited budget for visiting any more national parks.

    We were determined, as far as possible, to miss out Nairobi on our Kenyan trip. Nothing personal against Nairobi, we just arenít here to visit big cities on this trip, unless we have to. After some initial internet research, it wasnít clear if we could get our passports or carnet stamped out anywhere other than Nairobi, but we were game to give it a try, anywhere along the way. Thanks to more internetting, giving us direct access to the Head of the Revenue Authority, we established we could take care of stamping the carnet out at Eldoret.

    On Wazungu Wawili's good advice we first stayed at Barnley's Guesthouse outside Kitale, arriving on a very rare occasion for us, in the dark. It had been a long day and we went to bed quite quickly. Next morning we awoke to beautiful birdsong, not the usual squawks we had often been hearing from the hornbills and the like. With my eye still closed I imagined I was back in England for a brief moment, before monkey chatter brought us back to the exotic.


    Richard Barnley's ageing appearance belies his adventurous, almost swashbuckling, past and we quickly knew we were talking to a man who would give us decent information on feasible routes and current status regarding danger zones. He is very enthusiastic about finding a way round our border issues and we play through a few scenarios and their outcomes together. By the time we are shopping in Kitale a little while later, we feel confident enough to call the Ethiopian embassy in Berlin again (for the fourth time). Our counterpart there directs us to the next man in Ethiopia, who directs us on to a third man, who finally gives us the go-ahead to cross into Ethiopia via Ileret and on to Omorate!
    (sadly it looks like we were so concerned with our trip, we forgot to take any photos of the beautiful gardens at Barnleyís or of Mrs Barnley, still getting around the garden grandly with her Zimmerframe and in her 90s).


    We dashed off south to Eldoret to get our carnet and passports stamped. It was extremely fortunate that when the Head of the Revenue Authority had replied to my email enquiry he had included the right team in Eldoret, because when I got there, they were all out at an external meeting and the junior of the team told us our request was impossible: the vehicle has to be viewed on the day it leaves the country. When I said I'd spoken to the Head, including his name, he raised his eyebrows and asked us to sit down. An hour or so later he stamped and signed our carnet after kindly calling the right people and they told him what to do.
    Another strange situation at the passport office when the department head said there was no need to stamp us out, as our permitted time in Kenya expired in a couple of weeks, despite our East Africa visa being valid for another 6 weeks. He told us the border officer must have been rather inexperienced as he would always stamp tourists in for the maximum allowable time. While we found this all a bit strange, we were happy not to have a stamp in case we arrived in Ethiopia and they were still demanding huge, unaffordable deposits for entry.


    We're ready to go!


    We arrive at Kerio View Hotel with the sun low in the sky, but certainly light enough for us to take deep breaths of the view. I had been wondering why people always mentioned the Rift Valley, and if I'm not mistaken, this was our first, close-up sight of it. We are enraptured! So abuzz with excitement about the whole affair and this grandiose view stretching panoramically before us we treat ourselves to dinner in the hotel restaurant: fillet steak done to perfection and a bottle of South African red wine. We chose this destination over Wazungu Wawili's recommendation of Nanyuki as Richard had learned that Jens is a keen paragliding pilot, with his paraglider in the car. We're unfortunately in the wrong season for flying, but we certainly hope to return soon. The hotel's restaurant and bar looks like it will be alive and rocking in season and has a hint of Alpine apres ski hut, though tonight we are the only guests, along with another couple.

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	P1100651.jpg 
Views:	50 
Size:	63.4 KB 
ID:	461758 Click image for larger version. 

Name:	IMG_8585.jpg 
Views:	59 
Size:	82.8 KB 
ID:	461759
    (you just can't capture it on camera)



    Next day we stay at Robert's camp and feel like we're in an aviary! It's not a peaceful night though as some other guests much further down the shore have a rather loud party into the early hours. When I hear them tipsily heading off to the shore at 2am then splashing water, I fear for their lives, if there really are crocs in the water, then decide they're old enough to know what they're doing and nod off back to sleep. When their 100HP engine (sounds like it anyway) starts later in the morning we know they've survived, but wonder whether anything else in the lake will at the speed they set off at, large wake trailing.
    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	IMG_8588.jpg 
Views:	47 
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ID:	461760 Click image for larger version. 

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Views:	46 
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ID:	461761Click image for larger version. 

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ID:	461762 Click image for larger version. 

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ID:	461763


    Armed with Stanís trip reports detailing each stage, we set off in great anticipation on our Lake Turkana adventure. As Maralal is the last chance for decent fuel on the trip, we will call that day one of the tour and start part two from there.

    See;

    http://www.4x4community.co.za/forum/showthread.php/217586-SLOWDONKEY-THROUGH-AFRICA-Trans-Africa-Trip-Anne-and-Stan-Weakley?p=3530009#post3530009
    Choose word file -Back up 3
    then page 192 ff, stan's day 3

    I am so glad it worked out for you and thank you for posting. As you both - and Stan - now know it is "not what you know, but who you know" in East Africa.

    Dick Barnley - and I hope he isn't following this - is not as old as you might think, but the ravages of being born and raised in the high altitude equatorial regions has taken its toll on his health. He is a font of all knowledge, as I told you, and a sensible and pragmatic man after many years of travelling to remote parts of the continent. His mother, Jane, is/was one of the leading ornithologists in East Africa.

    I am surprised that your first view of the Rift Valley was down into the Kerio. We followed it (north to south) from Israel to Mozambique via Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Zambia and Malawi. But the most impressive view of the great fissure is, in our opinion, in Kenya - and particularly down from Iten into the Kerio Valley part of the Rift Valley.

    Looking forward to the next update on your Lake Turkana adventure - the route which you took is very well known to us. Amazing and astounding!


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  5. #3
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    Default Re: Up the east side of Lake Turkana (Part 1)

    Quote Originally Posted by Wazungu Wawili View Post


    I am surprised that your first view of the Rift Valley was down into the Kerio. We followed it (north to south) from Israel to Mozambique via Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Zambia and Malawi. But the most impressive view of the great fissure is, in our opinion, in Kenya - and particularly down from Iten into the Kerio Valley part of the Rift Valley.


    Thank you!

    Indeed, we have of course been following the Rift Valley, on the route you mention above, but it's exactly as you say: this was our first, most impressive view, with the escarpment, The Valley floor deep down below, the relative narrowness of The Valley walls and so on. Absolutely wonderful!

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