Travelling Nairobi to Marsabit
Towards the end of October this year, I embarked on a road trip to northern Kenya. My last attempt to head north was in 2006 when the April rains rendered the place totally inaccessible by road. Seven years later, thanks to Safari Desk, I buckled up in a Gametrackers overland truck and it was ‘Turkana or burst!’
This was an 8-day trip which had been marketed as an eclipse tour. For me, it was a tour of the northern frontier, a dream for many years come true.
From Nairobi, you stick on the A2 and you won’t get lost. There’s a lot of construction happening along the highway between Nairobi and Thika.
When travelling to northern Kenya, you need to be as self-sufficient as possible. We carried all the fresh produce we needed with us. A flash flood can render a road impassable making your destination unreachable. If you had planned to buy food there, it means you’ll sleep hungry. When you have all your supplies with you, you can set up camp anywhere and life will be okay.
Let me out!
Lunches were mostly sandwiches. The meats were stored under ice in sealed cooler boxes. The boxes were labelled in days of the journey to ensure they were opened only when it was necessary to get something out, making the ice last longer.
I spotted this guy hitching a ride at the back of our truck.
Mt Kenya. Spotting its snow caps is rare. It had rained a few minutes before so clouds had cleared.
Nanyuki to Isiolo.
When we got to Merille, we were received by Rendille dancers. They were out on the highway welcoming tourists heading to Sibiloi for the eclipse.
The Catholic Church has done a lot in sharing God’s word in northern Kenya. They have also built many schools, health centres and boreholes. This is the Merille Parish.
A young boy in Merille.
When we got to Merille, we learnt our radiator had a leak. Curry powder was the first aid that sealed the leak and we were good until our return to Nairobi, six days later.
A Rendille woman with her donkeys.
Merille is also where the beautiful tarmac ends. After this, we saw no tarmac for six days until we got to Rumuruti.
The Toyota Probox. It’s everywhere you go! This is in Laisamis.
The Defenders here are used to ferry people, animals and goods, all in the same journey.
This was at the Marsabit County Governor’s office. We had to report there at his instruction for a flag off and extra security escort as we headed for Sibiloi. We left in a convoy of ten vehicles filled mostly with eclipse chasers.
Winds carrying moisture from the Indian Ocean find no resistance as they travel on flat ground across Somalia into Kenya, only to find Mt Marsabit standing tall and proud in the middle of a desert. Here they dump rain, making Marsabit a very wet town. This was on the morning of 1st November.
A few kilometres out of Marsabit, we were in the middle of the most arid place in Kenya with not a drop of water for miles.
More about the journey to Sibiloi from Marsabit next week.