Turkana route



// Nikon D7200 | 2,75621 : 36,72124 | alt. 383m

Well, some bad words for Nikon here, this is my second D7xxx dslr, and the second one to die on me in a trip…. This time looks like water damage, and I still cannot figure out what happened. The camera is making a short, and burning batteries in a few hours, but as long as I store the battery out, it’s fine to take a picture.

After I left Nairobi, ethiopian visa in my pocket, I went on a short section of the Turkana route with my friends Eiji and Chizu, and god….. I wish we could have done the entire route, Turkana area is one of the most beautiful drive in Africa, it reminds me of northern Chile, in this very remote corner where the salar de surire lies, hundreds of kilometers from human settlements. It was time to make a wise choice, and to accept the simple fact that mister Fox is not in good shape enough to go further into the wild……
It’s about 40°c outside with a very warm wind from the desert, since my thermostat from Rwanda is not designed for my van, the engine always overheat a little, my water tank got stolen, and the fuel pump on the second tank just died. I managed to drive that section of the Turkana route, but I had to crawl under the van to manually pump all the fuel left in the second tank. I could barely make that journey back !
We drove as far as we could with what we had of fuel, I wish we could have done the entire trip….. There is now camels in the bush, tribal people with AK47 and left overs from the war. This place looks like a different planet, hostile, yet, appealing. Hard to describe what we feel here really.

This is where I have to say goodbye to my friends Eiji and Chizu, after a few months together on the road. Unfortunately, they didn’t manage to get a visa for Ethiopia, and they will now start their way south back to South Africa, before taking on the west coast !
We will meet again for sure, somewhere around the world, in the bush.

I drove the 250kms from Marsabit to the Moyale border very quickly. Amazing new road, flat landscape, and now totally safe. This used to be a different story, and a few years ago you had to take a police convoy to cross this area.

The border was surprisingly quiet……way too quiet….. this cannot be right. Biiiig buildings everywhere, lot of construction, no sign, no one to guide me…. this is strange. Found immigration, they check for my ethiopian visa, then I get my stamp. I then went to customs, they asked me to pay for road tax (40usd), but I’ve been told I could get 2 weeks for free at the Ugandan border, and I’ve been in Kenya for 16days….. insert a smile here… and here it goes ! I didn’t have to pay the road tax 🙂

Now, let’s do the Ethiopian part. A fixer came to me very quickly, always ignore those guys, and whatever business you’ll do with those guys, you will lose money. But sometimes, you really need them. Today is one of those times, there is no one working at customs during weekends !!!!!
So this guy is guiding me around the border, immigration is located in a remote building, hidden behind lot of shit, which makes it nearly invisible from the main road. Very good camouflage ! But Why ??? Anyway, I already have my visa, they gave me clearance and approval in 5min, and I was out to find customs. No one is there, so here comes the fixer, he asked my 50usd to call someone from customs, but for that price, I told them I could sleep on the car park until next monday. They were not expected this ! Price went down, it took time, and I ended up paying 15usd, and the guy was upset about it !! Come on ! This is Ethiopia, that’s a lot of money for a phone call !!
I changed a few shillings with my fixer, and this point I’m not yet asking for the black market rate, so he’s obviously making a nice benefit, but it didn’t take advantage of it, and invited me for a few coffees. Since it was late, he also arranged an hotel for me at the border. Reception was asking for a steep price but this guy cut it by half 🙂 In the end, I paid his drink.
He also gave me a few advises about roads, and it looks like the main road to Addis is badly damaged on a long section.
By the way, the coffee was excellent !

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