The drive to the border was achieved before midday, and we needed to stamp out our passports and carnet on the Ethiopian side. The customs official noticed that our visas had expired and told us we would have to return to Addis to renew them. We asked if there was any way we could ‘pay’ for an extension at the border, and before long he reticently received a bribe from us for half of what we would have paid for an extension and stamped our passports out.
We then drove across to the Kenyan side where spent ten minutes and no money getting our passports and carnet stamped in, then proceeded to change lanes from driving on the right on Ethiopian tarmac, to driving on the left on Kenyan dirt tracks, and we were on our way to Marsabit.
We knew the road would be terrible, and that the distance of 150miles/250km would take a long time, and we were right. The first third of the journey wasn’t too bad, then the middle third was horrendous rocky roads mixed with thick muddy patches after a tornado twisted its path across the road in front of us on the horizon and brought with it a rainstorm. The final third was just terrible corrugations of the road surface that we had to navigate through in the dark. After over fourteen hours of driving we had arrived in Marsabit and we looked forward to a much needed sleep.
An early start was once again required as the road to Isiolo we had heard was just as bad as the Moyale to Marsabit road. After less than two hours on the corrugated roads we had covered a distance of only 30miles/50km, and we were completely frustrated by the relentless shaking and rattling being done by the road surface to the Landrover.
Just after stopping for a bite to eat at the side of the road we continued our journey to see a familiar car parked up on the side of the road. It was the car of Joachim who we had met in Addis who we thought would be half way back to Cape Town by this time. We were glad to meet him once again, and he made our day when he informed us that the last 60km/40miles of the road to Isiolo was now tarmaced! We decided to drive at our own pace and meet up again where the tarmac started.
When we arrived at the tarmac we could almost hear the Landrover breath a sigh of relief. We waited for Joachim and continued our journey to Isiolo where we found a hotel run by a Dutch couple who had space for us to camp, and who cooked us one of the best (and most definitely the biggest) meals of trip.
- David Jennings & Nathan Topham
- Wrexham, Wales, United Kingdom
- For the past 5 years, me and my best friend Nathan have talked about the possibility of travelling around the world by land and sea, and so finally we have a route, savings and time to set off around the world. What we are doing is living out a dream, a dream we share with many people worldwide, a dream of travelling this vast, diverse, beautiful and interesting planet, but unlike the many others who keep it as a dream, we have the tenacity to make this dream a reality.