Stage 34: Bush Camp to Moyale
Even though a short day day today, we all tried to get away early, as we wanted to clear the border before noon. Apparently, the Ethiopian side (if not both sides) are known to occasionally shut down during the 12:00 - 3:00 hot part of the day.
Another beautiful sunrise and clear morning; bird song on all sides. I’d heard hyaena calling during the night as well; a first for this tour.
Photo courtesy of Francis Heyrman
Once again crossing to front-quarter winds kicked up some time after 9:00 as the day warmed, but we (Alice, Rachel and myself) ticked along at a reasonable clip and we made the ‘lunch’ truck shortly after 10:00. I followed my own suggestion and ate relatively lightly and we didn’t dawdle more than about 15-20 minutes before pushing off again, water bottles refilled. Some more long hills to reach the border in about 30 minutes; not steep at all, but hills all the same.
Lots of people along the roadside this morning; responses varying from simple stares to almost hysterical “...how are you...” by the little kids, or repeated warning calls of “Farangi, Farangi !” (foreigners or more simply put, whites). It gets pretty tiresome, and not at all easy to acknowledge when gasping up these hills in the heat. But at least no overt aggression this morning, a relief.
We make Moyale (Ethiopian side, at least) on a long downhill into a perhaps typical border town. Not exactly inviting:
Photo courtesy Michiel van Walsem
The formal exiting Ethiopia and entering Kenya goes really smoothly; no issues at all for the riders at least. The TDA vehicles are held up for a few hours but eventually clear by about 2:00 pm or so; in the meantime, after hitting the ATM for Kenyan Shillings and then the nearby mobile shop for a ‘Safaricom’ SIM card and accompanying data bundle, we’ve been relaxing in the local Prison Canteen; cold drinks, cold beer, and superlative security. Once we see the TDA vehicles pass by, we rouse ourselves to go only the few hundred metres to a Kenya Wildlife Service park on the edge of (Kenya) Moyale.
It’s a great camp site; not the least being real showers and eastern toilets. And no need for hot water when it’s 30°. There’s even a tap for laundry water, so I take advantage of that to wash out the day’s kit. A highlight of the campsite in the afternoon is watching a red-billed hornbill carry food to its young, virtually hidden in a tree bole.
No TDA dinner this evening as the truck got in so late, but a local dinner is arranged and shows up by 6:30. Really very good: grilled chicken and potatoes, simple but good and filling.
No rain fly on the tent (too warm) again this evening so I can see the stars through the mesh. A couple of warm days coming up to reach Marsabit; am really happy being in country no. 4. Must try and remember to ride on left hand side of the roads from here on in...