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MARSABIT to MOYALE

 

 

HELLO + WELCOME as we drive from Sydney to London across Africa. If you are new to our site, you are most welcome.

It is Gareth here today and I wanted to to share with you our time in Northern Kenya on a notorious stretch of road from Marsabit to Moyale – a two day journey through on of the most remote parts of the World.

 

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ARCHERS POST TO MARSABIT

We have had the pleasure of being able to read other blogs of similar expeditions. One that stands out in my mind is our good friends The Morgans. MorganSafari is the blog of Richard and Sophie who were driving home from Australia to London, via East Africa. I scoured over their photos again and again before we headed up to Northern Kenya. It was pouring down with rain and they got bogged a few times in the soft mud that swallowed their rig. I was not worried about the rain because we were travelling at a different time of year, but a couple of things were on my mind. I was thinking about the bone crushing corrugated roads, banditry and the remote location if things went wrong.

 

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:: Image via Google Maps

We left Shaba National Reserve and turned onto tarmac. The Chinese have been busy building new roads throughout the African continent and they have certainly been busy here. Where the road was un-finished they had diversions that went beside the road. These sections were covered with a fine bull dust that would envelope the car and everything around it. The scenery was stark and arid, but we thought it was stunningly beautiful. Camel trains crossed the road in front of us. The tribespeople scattered through the desert looking after their huge herds of  cows. Cattle is livelihood out here and when the tribes clash over grazing land or thieving from each other – the AK47′s slung over their shoulders are used.

Every so often, in the middle of nowhere, we would see a solitary person by the road.  I don’t know how they survive out here. It is so barren.

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:: Initial tar. Smooth as.

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:: Along the way we saw the work sites of Chinese road builders

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:: The Chinese laid tarmac was a welcomed site

The road from Archers Post started with 120k’s of beautiful tarmac right up until the Mirelle River. It took us just over an hour and twenty minutes. The remainder of the road was bull dust, sand and sharp rocks which took us five hours and twenty minutes to reach Camp Henry in Marsabit. With the last stretch into Marsabit being the worst stretch – full of rocks and bull dust and corrugations all at once.

The Troopy handled it superbly.  Again he impressed us, as tough as guts and just keeps going. I bet the Japanese had wished they didn’t build these cars so well. A 1989 monster who just eats up these bad roads.

 

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:: The tarmac ends and the dirt begins

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:: Bull dust enveloped the rig on the way. Very hectic when going head on with a truck.

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:: A diversion that was inches deep with the fine bull dust

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:: At least they tried

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:: Cows being herded to the nearest water supply

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:: A truck that didn’t make it

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:: A  Samburu hut by the roadside in northern Kenya

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:: Camels everywhere and the climate around us made us realise how well these animals are adapted to such harsh environments

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:: School kids huddle in the shade

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:: Cra-aaaazzyy Kenyan bus drivers who hoon past us without the slightest hint of slowing down. We pulled off the road every time hoping to protect our windscreen… and lives!

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:: You need to watch those lips when crossing the bridges over dry river beds on this stretch of road heading into Marsabit

When we arrived at Marsabit we navigated our way to Camp Henry. This simple camp is a blessing in the middle of nowhere. As we pulled into town we passed tribes wearing bright robes and ornate head pieces. We waved to each other and they welcomed us with smiles.

The camp was great to break up the journey. Henry has set up a real institution. It was cool to read all the other overlanders notes in the guest book who had been there before us. The honesty fridge was full of cheap beer and we downed a few as I checked over the Troopy and looked at tightening anything that had come loose. The only thing that seemed the least bit loose was the connection to the battery. Kirst cooked up dinner with plenty of left overs for the next days drive.

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:: Checking over the rig making sure everything is still there and still tight

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:: Parked up for the night at Camp Henry. Outside the fences Askari, kenyan security guards, walked the permitters.

 

MARSABIT TO MOYALE

After a  good nights sleep at Henry’s Camp we were ready to tackle the road to Moyale. We left Marsabit at 6:45. Topped up the Troopy with diesel and headed out of town on some more beautiful tar. 90k’s later the road turned to dirt again with frequent road work diversions.

There have been reports in the last few years of inter tribal fighting and even some highway robberies. In fact five people (local farmers) were killed in fighting a few weeks before we drove this stretch of road. We were also told by Kalif a friendly copper who flagged us for a ride back to his post that there was another highway robbery two weeks prior. This made us stand to attention although he did say, like all the other people we had talked to, in the weeks before that “It is very safe. No problem”.

 

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 :: Image via Google Maps

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:: Yeah, yeah we should have turned the pointy end down….Shiiiit! Its facing Kirst’s temple I think. {Kirsty’s note: I had it pointing past my temple! Promise.}

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::Time to get back to work Kalif. He told us that all new recruits were posted to areas of hardship in their first two years of service.

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:: Road condition – slow and rocky

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:: Road condition – dusty

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:: These corros shook us and the rig for 20k’s

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:: Time for a rest from those crushing corros

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:: A quick non-stop lunch break

The road was not as bad as we expected and I think at this time we were confident that we would make it to Moyale without an issue. We passed through more towns with Samburu men and women in colourful robes. It was the kind of Africa we have always hoped to see. We saw guys with platted hair and leaning sticks (useful for herding) standing around in amongst the rubbish talking and sheltering from the sun. Old ladies with thick ankle bracelets walking in the hot sun. It was really primitive and actually fantastic to see these people living like this. We guessed that their colourful clothing and jewellery kept them sane and happy in such a bleak and hot environment.

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:: Some of the local Samburu dudes havin’ a chin wag in the shade

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:: A local shop

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:: The colours of the local tribes people are amazing and they just POP in such a brown dusty landscape. It was so beautiful to see.

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:: It’s not your everyday street meeting in this part of the world

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:: The stories this woman would tell. Oh I wish I could speak her language. She was about five foot tall but had a swagger and stare that could down a buffalo.

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:: Somali Ostrich roadside

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:: This is their life

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:: Just walking to… ?

 

Six hours and 15 minutes later we eventually we made it across the 250k’s to the border control at Moyale. The bloke with the stamps was at lunch so we inflated the tyres and passed the time people watching and chatting with kids. By the time he was back we were glad to be heading into Ethiopia and tired from a drive that had taken us through some of the most fascinating and starkly beautiful landscapes we have seen so far on this awesome road trip of ours.  Bring on Ethiopia!

 

Cheers,

GK Signature

 

 

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1 Comment

  • Sue Peters Says

    Morning,
    We discovered your story through a 4×4 site. Completely enjoying reading your journal. Good luck with it. I’d buy the book when you write it :-)
    Regards
    Ian and Sue Peters

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