Travel Through Kenya on a Harley-Davidson

By Peter & Kay Forwood

Kenya on a Harley (11/2/00 - 24/2/00)
Distance 1529 km (178380 km to 179909 km)

This is part of the Sixth section of our around the world trip.
Complete Trip Overview & Map

Coming from  Uganda or read our previous visit to Kenya

11/2/00 Back across the border into Kenya, again no hassles and visas issued at the border. Back to the policemen stopping overloaded minibuses, the buses remaining overloaded but the busier the policeman the fatter he becomes. Back to the speed humps in every town, bridge or downhill section where the minibuses used to zoom. Back to the dangerous minibuses who think they own the road pushing you out of their way to get around the pothole ridden roads. 380 km to Lake Baringo to camp.

12/2/00 There used to be many hippopotamus in Lake Baringo but during a very dry time a few years ago many got stuck in the mud trying to get out to feed and many more were eaten by the hungry locals leaving a herd of just 30, of which eight forage near the campground, about the only green grass during the dry season. Last night we could hear them wandering around the site after dark, grunting to each other and early this morning they were just in the water, along with dozens of crocodiles up to three meters long and many different birds below our tent. Being more hungry than usual and grazing more often, a large male returned to graze in the middle of the day. Cautious but not overly concerned with the campers he grazed for about an hour then returned to the water for a cool siesta.

13/2/00 Back to Nairobi via the waterfall at Nyahururu and Lake Naivasha. 400 km and another longA hippo grazing a little close to our campsite day. This heavily touristed area and also the area of colonial settlement is perhaps the most modern part of Kenya. There are some large stately houses dotted on large properties, a contrast to the small hand tilled plots the African Nationals were working in Uganda.

14/2/00 Big city chores of Internet and shopping. Bill gates seems to be spreading his wings all over the world just to stop us getting our site published. It is easy to spell check and publish with Netscape but because off Bills free Explorer loading with his Windows most café's don't bother to load Netscape. Four more motorcycle travellers rocked up to the camp ground last night making seven in residence. We didn't see one on our loop to the west, most are sticking to the normal north south track with minor deviations.

15/2/00 Dunlop had a back tyre waiting for us, the old one had lasted 19000 km from Turkey on the worst roads we have travelled, much dirt and rock withCrocodile lazes on the shore of Lake Baringo the tyre running at very low air to soften the ride and no punctures. We have been having trouble with the front wheel wobbling at certain speeds and thought it might be the steering head bearings (still original), a buckled front wheel or a damaged tyre. We had asked the H-D dealer in Turkey to change both front and rear wheel bearings but there must have been a misunderstanding as only the rear ones had been changed. It was the original front ones collapsing causing the wobble. The remaining grease was full of small slivers of metal. Dunlop ferried us to an engineering workshop where the bearing races were removed by welding a bar between the sides and punching them out, new ones (carried as spares) pressed in, and with a new set of disk pads for the front hopefully all is back to normal.

16/2/00 Kay's birthday, a relax day with nice dinner and a couple of rum and cokes. Two groups of people have been robbed who are staying at our campground over the last three days. A high percentageDunlop had a new rear tyre waiting for us of the thirty people staying here. A couple mugged at gunpoint while walking back to the campground at dusk. Jumped by four men, she was thrown to the ground and partially stripped looking for a money belt. Another man jumped by five men at midday after being led into a laneway in the middle of Nairobi while attempting to change money on the black market (which doesn't exist). Both groups made basic mistakes like walking at dusk in a poorly lit area or following someone into a laneway but we all have lapses of concentration or get caught out later than we thought. Who wants to spend their holiday constantly worrying and looking over their shoulder.

17/2/00 An overland truck arrived having negotiated west to east Africa through Cameroon, Chad, Sudan and south. This now makes two possibilities for our next trip. This way is safer but much longer and more dirt with patches of sand. No more excuses to stay in Nairobi so we are off tomorrow.

18/2/00 Mombasa andChris, had just ridden across from West Africa though Congo the coast, first time since Djibouti two months ago. Five hundred km (a long day) of the usual shitty Kenya roads, despite this being their main port link to the capital, the road is bumpy, broken up and we were detoured for 50 km onto a dusty side track seemingly made worse by the amount of traffic. We were back to the multiple truck overtake I have not seen since Asia where truckies assume if there is room for one truck there will be room for two to overtake. Being a narrow vehicle we are on the edge of the road when the first truck finishes overtaking to look head on at the second one. Twice the second truck had to head bush leaving us to pass between the overtaking and the overtaken trucks. Luckily all this happens relatively slowly. The roads littered with crashed or broken trucks. Usually suspension problems with wheels falling off or axles broken from the rough road or overloaded trucks. Whole engines can be removed and repaired roadside. Trucks too badly damaged are left to rust away and empty container shells that have broken loose litter the roadside.

19/2/00 A changeLarge Boab tree of culture from African to Middle East /African combined. Mombasa was a major trading port between the two areas from the 12th century and both cultures and religions have a presence. Again we are awakened by the calling of loud speakers in mosques. The races also intermarried with some very attractive features of both producing stunning women. A much wealthier and seemingly safer more relaxed place than Nairobi. The old town has the narrow winding laneways between houses typical of Arabic towns and the Portuguese presence displayed by the 15th century fort overlooking the old harbour entrance where smaller wooden boats still come in from Tanzania and Oman.

20/2/00 A great way to get away from it all is to hang out at an expensive resort for the day. Generally open to the western public, particularly if you arrive on an H-D motorcycle you can lounge in the bar chairs overlooking the swimming pool or just sit in the foyer reading a book over an expensive coffee. We rode north to Watamu along the coast and relaxed at "Hemmingways" right on the beach next to the marine park. At over $US 250.00 a night we didn't mind paying $US 1.00 for a Coke to enjoy most of the same daytime activities of lounging around reading or strolling along the coral reef protected white sandy beach. Back to our $US 10.00 a night room in Mombasa.

21/2/00 We left MombasaFriendly vervet monkeys happy to eat our fruit scraps Island by ferry to the southern beaches. Tiwi, just 20 km, a camp ground, cabins and restaurant fronting a sandy beach protected by fringing coral reef half a km off shore. A large shaded camp with just six other tents, and a 4x4 owned by Marcel Kersten. Yet another indication of a shrinking world, Marcel was also at the Bernd Tesch 20th Treffen, has also travelled the world by motorcycle and knows many of the people we have met travelling by motorcycle. The camp is also home to about 25 vervet monkeys, tame enough to accept fruit scraps from your hand. These non aggressive monkeys play and frolic in the trees, also sleeping there and urinating on our tent during the night.

22/2/00 Rented snorkelling gear and with full moon and big tides the reef was completely out of the water other than for some warm shallow pools. The reef edge was too rough but the pools provided small colourful fish similar to those of the Great Barrier Reef back in Australia along with thousands of cowrie shells, (obviously not collected here like in Asia) starfish and sea slugs. Through the day touts would wander through the camp selling tropical fruits (papaw, mango, passion fruit, pineapple, banana) or fresh fish, prawns or lobster. Vegetables could be ordered and even a newspaper salesman. Drinks at the bar and restaurant. We decided to stay another day.

23/2/00 One in ten people we see in Africa will be dead in five years, in some areas as many as one in five. As you cruise along past some of the 700 million you realize the devastation AIDS is going to wreak here. There are not many visible signs to the casual traveller, some underweight people, some lying in the streets looking sick, all pretty normal here, some skin blemishes or discoloration, hard to see on dark skin. Some countries claim to have reduced the incidence of new cases but is that because there are now fewer people in the sexually active age brackets that don't have AIDS. Women are reported to have six times the incidence of HIV to men, is this because they are tested during pregnancy underlying many more cases of undetected males. 50% of children breast fed from infected mothers will get HIV. What a dilemma for the mother who can't afford milk powder, has no one to give the child up to and knows it has a 50% chance of a death disease from her. In all this in our isolation as just observers we noticed the front engine rubber mount on the motorcycle has torn, and cutting up an old 4x4 tyre we fashioned a temporary repair. Concerned whether it will last the trip our problems are minute.

24/2/00 Headed down the coast to the Tanzanian border, an easy crossing, no money and less than an hour.

Move with us to Tanzania or go to our next visit to Kenya




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