Transfer from Sololu Camp to Marsabit
172km, off road !!
6.00am and were finishing breakfast already, the trucks are all loaded with our bikes and were just about to board the bus ready for the transfer to Marsabit. As its nearing election time the local authority has wisely decided it would be better for us not to cycle at the moment, the election is on the fourth and hopefully when the result is given it will be all ok !
Lucky for me, the crew found room for me in one of the trucks, I get a bench seat all to myself so I’ll be more comfortable during the transfer! We were all loaded and ready to go but our security didn’t turn up on time so we were late leaving.
Finally we got going and immediately you could see how tough it would have been to cycle this section, rough rocks, corrugation and deep sand, it would have meant walking some of it. Also it became apparent later that there were no shops, no villages, no shade and it was damned hot. The scenery looked like something out of a film set, a huge expanse, as far as the eye could see in all directions was a field of lava rocks. The rocks are all quite uniform but they just go on for miles and miles, nothing but rocks, no trees to speak of just tiny little shrubs struggling to survive. The sky was a deep blue above and the sun was scorching, even the breeze was hot.
The truck pitched and rolled and bounced along and every few kilometres they’d stop and check the truck and bikes on the roof….wouldn’t want to lose a bike !! The maddening thing was that for most of our journey there is a new road being built and it runs parallel to our road, shame it’s not finished yet.
We stopped for lunch after about 115km, it took 4 hours to get that far !!
Sandwiches of tuna, last nights veggie curry, tomato, cheese and the ever present peanut butter and chocolate spread….a tasty spread, well received 😉
After lunch it was back to the bus for more off road, we only had 55km to do so it didn’t take long to reach Marsabit, it’s incredible though that in just a little over 1km the entire landscape changed from barren wasteland of rock to lush green vegetation and thriving community. This particular community were in full voting mood, as we drive through the town it seemed that everyone was out wearing there colourful t-shirt with the candidate of there choice proudly emblazoned on the front. A different colour t-shirt for each candidate, we counted at least six colours, this could be a tough election to win outright !!
We soon passed through the melee and turned onto a side road leading to a convent, the sisters would be our hosts for the evening, camping or bedrooms were both on offer as were hot showers and a fantastic dinner of lamb stew, cabbage and rice……brings back fond memories of my grandmas cooking 😉
And so to bed, we’re up early again tomorrow to complete our transfer to Nanyuki, we have 350km on and off road, it’s going to be a long day !!
PS, the trailer was repaired last night and made the journey today, it seems the repair is good 😉
Transfer from Marsabit to Nanyuki
It’s going to be a long day !!
350km, on and off road !! The first part was definitely off road, leaving the convent we tracked back to the ‘main’ road……nothing more than a glorified farm track, only difference this farm track lasts for 200km !!!
Our surroundings were lush green vegetation to start with, agriculture, goats and oxen, small villages with mud huts soon gave way to huge flat valleys ringed by large hills of in the distance. The valley floors were littered with short scrub trees and bushes and camels made there homes here to. I’m not sure why given the huge amount of space but the road winds through the valley rather than a nice direct route, it eventually snakes its way between the huge out croppings of rock . Giving way to yet another change of scenery, as we climb higher it seems that the vegetation is back and teeming with wildlife, we actually saw our first wild elephants. Two huge brown beasts wandering through the lush green landscape, at first it was hard to see them as they blended so well into there surroundings but once you’d seen them they seemed to stand out, almost posing for photos -)
As the convoy heads down from the hill the next valley seems to lie before you like a huge picnic blanket, the colours range from almost black earth, terracotta, rich red, warm sand and every colour in between ! Our driver spotted ostriches and the van slowed so we could take photos, this is the Africa I’d dreamt of !!
After lunch we were soon onto paved road, about 150km to go but at least were moving fast and smooth now, my poor old bones are glad of the rest !!
The paved section just makes me want to unload my bike and ride, I’m warned by Nix that this is bandit country and I’m better of in the van with the armed guard !! Shame as the road is smooth and the scenery now seems to change so often it makes my head spin, were back to agriculture, fields of ripe wheat standing tall in the blazing sun, lone trees standing tall like sentries defending there crop. Nix and I agreed that for the occasional species of tree we could be back in middle England 😉
The road is now climbing and will do so for about 35km all the way into Nanyuki, even this wouldn’t have put me of being on my bike, my senses are almost overwhelmed by what I’ve seen today and my smile is as broad as the valleys we’ve passed through…..what a glorious and vibrant land, hello Kenya !!
And so to the Sportsmans Hotel in Nanyuki, whether your camping or taking a room this is a good place to be, were here for four days so lots of time to complete all the jobs and chores that need doing. The hotel also has wifi so blogs, Facebook, emails and photos will all be dealt with. I feel no urgency to go and be a tourist, I’ve not been well recently and it’s left me anxious and frustrated so a good rest will hopefully do me good. I look forward to being reunited with Kylie my trusty bike and having the opportunity to cycle through this beautiful country. I only hope we get the chance, firstly the elections need to run smoothly and peacefully or I feel we could miss Kenya altogether and that would be a real shame !!
I leave you with hopes for a peaceful outcome, night night 😉