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sub-Saharan Africa Topics specific to sub-Saharan Africa. (Includes all countries South of 17 degrees latitude)
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Old 4 Aug 2013
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Ethiopia to Kenya- WEST side of Lake Turkana.

Hi Guys,

Has anybody done this road? I met some cyclist that just did it and it looks like a breeze... There is no road on Michelin maps but i saw some photos and it looks great!

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Old 4 Aug 2013
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I've been thinking about it. On google earth you can actually see a good track that you can trace and convert to GPX.
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Old 5 Aug 2013
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Have a look at

Or search turkana route on Hubb many posts.
Enjoy I hope to do it in 6 weeks time.
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Old 6 Aug 2013
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Hi there. I rode (bicycle) this route back in 1995. Ethiopia to Kenya, to avoid the shiftas in northern Kenya. There wasn't even a map of the area back then ! On the Kenya side the road was sealed as far as the turn off north of Lodwar. The dirt track as far as Lokitaung is quite large, easy to follow, and quite good. Little traffic and dry. I remember that Lokitaung had just one decent Indian-run store where I changed money and bought supplies. From Lokitaung to the shore of Lake Turkana the dirt road was a lot rougher with long stretches in a river bed. You get to a settlement on the lake where I was able to eat. I tried to take the dirt track right along the shore ( going south for me ) but it was too sandy and I turned back. At the time there was no official border crossing there but the Ethiopians stamped me out and the Kenyans let me in anyway ( I got stamped in in Nairobi 2 weeks later ). Once past the customs sheds you will have to get to Omorate on the Omo River. It is not very far, maybe 25 to 30 kms, but there is no real track to get there. It is actually a flat swampy area and if it is dry you can drive through it trying to keep your bearings. You will have to cross the river at Omorate, there was no bridge back in 1995 but I used a dugout canoe to get across. Omorate to Turmi to Konso is a beautiful ride/drive, totally illegal at the time, I had to sneak past the roadblocks before dawn. The dirt track is well marked and you will see and interact with all the incredible tribes that inhabit that remote corner of Ethiopia.
Sorry, this is all from memory and before our Google Earth and GPS era...
Hope that helps.
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Old 6 Aug 2013
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Wow, what a cool story. On a pedal bike, and back in '95 no less!


I met a motorbiker from SA that had made the same trip on an old XT600 a few years back. The biggest barrier for him was the dugout canoe that Levelo mentioned. It took a bit of negotiating and they charged him an arm and a leg to finally get across. It was a bit touch and go as the thought of heading all the way back wasn't that appealing. There was also the usual white knuckle portion where getting your motorbike in and out of a small dugout canoe that wasn't necessarily designed to carry heavy, awkward loads meant that the thought of dumping your bike into the river took a few years off his life. Other than that, he made it. The east side is an interesting ride though, I would recommend it if you have a good bike and even better if you can convoy with a fellow rider or 4x4.
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Old 6 Aug 2013
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Hi guys

Thanks for that. I heard that a guy on a 650 went north a few weeks back. Did Lodwar to Omorate in one day. I think this is the plan.

Have a good one!
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Old 6 Aug 2013
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West Turkana

Hi guys

I traveled west of lake Turkana last oktober on a F 800GS. You have to cross the river Omo on a boot. The Kenyanians don't stamp your passport either your CDP. In Nairobi at Jungle Junction ask Mr. Handschuh hi will help. But at lake Turkana don't miss Elys Spring. A wonderful Resort. You will meat Sheperds carrying MK 47. The problem is cattle thiefs. Some extra water and fuel I do recommend.

In Lavello biege ich rechts nach Westen Richtung Turkana ab. Die Naturstrassen sind recht passabel, so dass ich mit 60 km/h vorwärts komme. Den Rückspiegel braucht es nicht mehr. Ich bin allein unterwegs. Wenn Kamele auf der Strasse sind, ist besonders Vorsicht geboten. Ihr Fluchtverhalten ist sehr schwer einzuschätzen. Nach hundert Kilometern ist Hotel "Straßengraben" angesagt. Die schwarzen Jungs wundern sich sehr über den weißen Spinner!

Dienstag 23.10.2012

Immer noch mit einem komischen Magen geht es weiter Richtung Westen in die Ecke des Süd Sudan, Uganda und Kenia. Richtig geniessen kann ich die wunderschöne Fahrt nicht mehr! Psychisch und physisch geht der Zeiger sehr nach unten! Ich komme bei Woito, Key Afer, Dimeka, Turmi und Kelem vorbei bis an den Omo River nach Omorate. Dort ist die neue Brücke bereits wieder weggespühlt. Nach dem Papierkram im Grenzort, mache ich mich mit zusätzlich flauem Gefühl im Magen, auf die suche nach einem Boot. Für den sehr stolzen Bootsbesitzer, mit Rastas im Haar, bin ich einen Leckerbissen. Er verlangt gerade mal ein Honorar von eineinhalb Monatslöhnen! Weil ich nicht einlenke macht sich der Typ davon zum Lunch! Dummerweise hat er nicht mit Steffen gerechnet der mir eine Alternative angeboten hat. Für 15 Dollar ist er bereit mich sieben Kilometer Flussabwährts zu führen. Auf der anderen Uferseite, aber immer noch in Aethiopien, haben zwei amerikanische Familien ein Windmühlen Projekt. Auch für Steffen ist es schwierig die Stelle zu finden wo wir vorerst einmal den Töff stehen lassen und im Einbaum den Fluss kreuzen. Der Omo ist zur Zeit etwa dreimal so breit wie die Aare. Die Strömung relativ stark und die Uferbänke sind sehr steil und erdig! Mein schlechter Zustand macht mir unheimlich zu schaffen.....ich bin fertig! Kaleb der junge Missionar von der SIM ist ein sehr "cooler" Typ. Selber ein Töff Freak, hilft er mir gerne. Der Verlad und die Überfahrt geht besser als je gedacht und das auffinden dieser Amis war das beste das mir passieren konnte. Leider immer noch nicht fit kann ich die Tortillias die es zum Abendessen gibt, nicht genießen. Da die Amerikaner bereits in der dritten Generation hier leben und sehr erfahren sind, wissen die was mir fehlt und geben mir zwölf "Tinidazole BP 500 mg". Das Zeugs ist sehr effizient und mir geht es bald besser. Doron hat mir ja oben in Addis prophezeit, dass jeder der länger als fünf Tage in der Stadt lebt, krank wird. Da die Einheimischen kein Toilettenpapier benutzen und dann die Hände ohne Seife waschen, und nachher in die Küche gehen, muss es ja so kommen!
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Old 2 Feb 2014
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I cant comment on the route along the west coast, as I went along the east coast, but I'd think that crossing the Omo river should be easy by now. When I was in Omorate early January this year, there was a cable ferry capable of taking landcruisers, in addition to the usual dug out canoes, as well as a new bridge under construction. This being Africa, nobody knows when/if the bridge will be completed, but the ferry/whinch didnt look like it would be going anywhere soon. Doublecheck before you go though, just in case a flood takes out the ferry ...
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