2013 Sept 1, Northern Kenya

    • Brand new tar for 30km past Marsabit
    • Camels alongside the loneliest road in Africa
    • Hotel Koket Borena backyard, Moyale - hellhole
  • The loneliest road in Africa, 500km from Marsabit to Moyale, takes 8,5 hours – not 4 hours, as we had been told in Marsabit! The 30km brand new tar road was absolutely the best surface ever, a 4-lane highway, thanks to the Chinese. Some sections under construction are finished and just await opening. Very frustrating not to be able to drive on a gorgeous highway, but to struggle instead on the interminable deviations.

    Arriving at Moyale, immigrations procedures on both sides of the border went smoothly. Ethiopian customs do not work on a Sunday, so we were told to come back the next day, which suited us fine, as there was no way we could go further, and did not plan to either.

    Moyale has to be the biggest dump of a border town ever. It is a hell-hole of the first degree. Dingy, filthy, tacky, seedy are all perfect descriptions. We camped on the Ethiopian side, in the back yard of the Hotel Koket Borena, the best accommodation in town, and were offered buckets of water, since a running supply did not exist. We got to washing some of the red dust from our tent, I believe we were shell-shocked from the awful road and the abominable surroundings.

    We were filled with relief and numbness when the border official told us that there was tribal unrest with lots of shooting about 20 km on the other side of the border in northern Kenya the previous day. It suddenly made sense why two villages that we passed through were ghostly and completely deserted, no sign of a living soul, no animals, nobody, even though washing was still hanging outside. I had a creepy feeling from about 50km south of the border, having read that the shiftas preferred this section of the road because of the cover provided where the scrub starts to thicken. Jannie had driven superbly, but this qualifies as our most trying leg of the journey.