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  1. #21
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    Default Re: Spontaneous trip to Turkana

    Quote Originally Posted by apfac View Post
    The problem it will be “who will rent a 4x4 “ to go all that way? Most of the rental companies I know of will not rent that far.
    You could try Foley’s East Africa: they not only saved the day for chf by sending a mechanic and spare part to remote Ngurunit, but they also have a few Land Rovers for rent. Most other hire companies (the few there are) won’t allow their vehicles further north than Samburu.

    Ortelius: less of the “ancient”, thank you!

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  3. #22
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    Default Re: Spontaneous trip to Turkana

    Yes, apfac, I know. I was going to ask, to beg, to plead... In fact, I have already gotten a permission to go as far as Marsabit, which is already far in the "forbidden territory" for most of the rentals- Turkana was not yet at the table then. I somehow think that I would succeed in negotiating a permit to the lake.

    We'll see how it goes when those plans will become actuall again...
    24 hours in a day.... 24 beer in a case.... Coincidence?
    -------------------------------------------------------------
    My blog: Our African Ramblings (https://safaribug.wordpress.com/)

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  5. #23
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    Default Re: Spontaneous trip to Turkana

    I am always happy to go back. So we just need a second car so I can get the trip approved from my work

    Also I love all the stories here, keep them coming. Though they to make me feel like we missed out on more exciting times!

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  7. #24
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    Default Re: Spontaneous trip to Turkana

    Quote Originally Posted by Wazungu Wawili View Post
    You could try Foley’s East Africa: they not only saved the day for chf by sending a mechanic and spare part to remote Ngurunit, but they also have a few Land Rovers for rent. Most other hire companies (the few there are) won’t allow their vehicles further north than Samburu.

    Ortelius: less of the “ancient”, thank you!
    Last time I spoke to Nick about renting a car he told me they were not doing that anymore unfortunately.

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  9. #25
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    Default Re: Spontaneous trip to Turkana

    Quote Originally Posted by chf View Post
    Last time I spoke to Nick about renting a car he told me they were not doing that anymore unfortunately.

    Thank you chf and apologies for hijacking your thread. Excellent TR on a forbidden area for most of us. Actually every area now is out of reach! Reports like yours keep us dreaming for better and safer times.

    AP

    ps.: actually I made contact with them on 2018 and at the time I suspected that would be the case.
    Last edited by apfac; 2021/04/22 at 06:02 PM.

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    chf

  11. #26
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    Default Re: Spontaneous trip to Turkana

    Memories.... couldn't resist the photo - seeing the Lake for the first time.
    Attached Images Attached Images  

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  13. #27
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    Default Re: Spontaneous trip to Turkana

    Quote Originally Posted by alannymarce View Post
    Memories.... couldn't resist the photo - seeing the Lake for the first time.
    That is the lake from the west side, I think, Alan.

    The first sight of the lake on the east side is when you come down the “steps”, the surface of which is lava. Here are some photos from 1979 - first sight of the lake, and coming down the “steps”.
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  15. #28
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    Default Re: Spontaneous trip to Turkana

    And some photos from 1986. First sight of the Lake from the east side, and coming down the “steps” (considerably improved since 1979).
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  17. #29
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    Default Re: Spontaneous trip to Turkana

    Quote Originally Posted by Wazungu Wawili View Post
    That is the lake from the west side, I think, Alan.

    The first sight of the lake on the east side is when you come down the “steps”, the surface of which is lava. Here are some photos from 1979 - first sight of the lake, and coming down the “steps”.
    Yes you're right. We drove north from Barnleys', had to join a convoy from Kainuk to Lokichar, then on to Lodwar. We had to wait there for a couple of days because the river was in flood - impossible to cross, Then to Eliye Springs for a few days. The photo is taken from the rise before you descend to the Lake.

    Next time we'll explore the east lake shore, and perhaps see whether we could travel around the north end of the Lake. Do you know how easy (!) it is to get to Illeret and then to the road to Omorate, and then south via Todonyang? I suspect that getting the paperwork sorted out to leave Kenya, enter then leave Ethiopia, and re-enter Kenya might be a bit interesting...

    Great photos! Hare are a couple more - the river at Lodwar, once the water level had subsided...
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  19. #30
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    Default Re: Spontaneous trip to Turkana

    Quote Originally Posted by alannymarce View Post
    Next time we'll explore the east lake shore, and perhaps see whether we could travel around the north end of the Lake. Do you know how easy (!) it is to get to Illeret and then to the road to Omorate, and then south via Todonyang? I suspect that getting the paperwork sorted out to leave Kenya, enter then leave Ethiopia, and re-enter Kenya might be a bit interesting....
    Yes, I do know about the track to Ileret and on to Omorate, Ethiopia. However, there are no border facilities on the Kenyan side and you need to have done immigration and customs before leaving Nairobi. You will also need to have obtained an Ethiopian visa before leaving home (or Nairobi). There are no Kenyan border facilities when crossing back into Kenya on the west side of the lake. You would need a multiple entry Kenyan visa and then clear immigration and customs a few days later further into Kenya - which is I have read might be possible in Eldoret. This is all pre-Covid and closed borders, of course.

    Here is what we wrote when we came down from Omorate, Ethiopia in December 2013. We had to clear immigration and customs once we arrived in Nairobi nearly a week later. We had, however, already organised Kenyan third party insurance a few months before (in fact before we left the UK).


    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.
    Last edited by Wazungu Wawili; 2021/04/22 at 09:28 PM.

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  21. #31
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    Default Re: Spontaneous trip to Turkana

    Brilliant! I'm reminded of stopping many times at one particular police post in Congo:
    1) Surprise that we were there at all
    2) surprise that we thought it was appropriate to stop
    3) concern that we might be doing something illegal
    4) rejection of said concern on the basis that if so we wouldn't have stopped
    5) Interest in what we were in fact doing
    6) Friendly conversation over a shared drink of something
    7) "beno kuênda mbote" or "bokende malamu" or "a la prochaine" depending on language preference of the police at the time.

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  23. #32
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    Default Re: Spontaneous trip to Turkana

    And the next installment of our trip from Lake Turkana to Nairobi in December 2013.

    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, with his wife. 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. The family had the champagne ready for us as we rolled in. 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, and the pre-Christmas social whirl is on.
    Last edited by Wazungu Wawili; 2021/04/23 at 12:26 AM.

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