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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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  #1  
Old 31 Oct 2003
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Kenya to Ethiopia via Marsabit

there is no longer a convoy and there is currently no mud. the rocks still eat tyres and wheels! there's so much livestock on the road that it feels like you're goihng to market!
police suggested 8hrs Isiolo to Marsabit and 6 hrs Marsabit to Moyale. absolutely flat out, I did Isiolo to Moyale in 6 hours, but I was on a mission on an XR650L - ie long-ttravel suspension and long neck!
if you're driving a car, allow 2 days. if you're biking find out if there's been rain as the black-cotton soil (or similar) would become a quagmire. I'd suggest leaving Isiolo early and Marsabit no later than midday to avoid runnning into night. I think the border shuts at 4.30 and the Ethiopians were out to lunch 12.30-2.30.
Rich
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  #2  
Old 1 Nov 2003
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Has the convoy been stopped cos the security situation has improved or cos they just can't be bothered to run one any more?!
George
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Old 3 Nov 2003
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mostly cos they're too disorganised! actually, they say there has been no trouble for some months, but I didn't go off-road other than the road itself which isn't one.
the day before I set out, I checked with the police who sent me to a checkpoint. the chap at the checkpoint was persuaded by a tout to tell me to arrive for the convoy at 6am. the tout found me in my hotel at 2am to say he'd found a lorry to put the bike on. I told him to beat it before I beat it for him and set off without further hassle at 6.30am. there was no one at the check point and the lorries had left one at a time without escort throughout the night.
cheers
Rich

PS I just met a couple of americans who left on a lorry at 5.30am and got to Moyale at 9.30am the next day ... grim was the best they could find to say about it.
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  #4  
Old 5 Nov 2003
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Agree with Richlees,

I was there in about March or so, couldn't find a convoy or anyone who could tell me about it, so I left on my own to Marsabit in the morning. I saw about 2 trucks along the entire journey down to Marsabit and no traffic between Marsabit and Isiolo. I stayed the night in Moyale just below the Prison Canteen. This canteen is a worthwhile visit for a few s and some pool games, while meeting lots of locals who can tell you what is really going on. The Prison canteen used to be the actual prison canteen but is now just a drinking spot. I sat at a table with khat-chewing Somali truck drivers who told me all the ins and outs of traveling this route. In summary, the Oromo Liberation Front and their symphathisers do launch attacks ocassionally and sometimes it is just robbery. There is an alternative route via Wajir, closer to the Somali border which is supposedly less corrugated and more sandy, thus probably ideal for cars, maybe less so for motorbikes. I didn't travel this route but found the standard Moyale - Marsabit route quite scenic and straighforward. My luggage rack on the bike obviosuly disagrees with me as it had no welds left by the time I arrived in Archer's Post for that firts cold . Luggage rack was off and strapped to the seat with rope and wire, chaffing against the tyre. I saw quite a lot of wild animals near Moyale as well (Hyenas, wart hogs, giraffes etc)

Wish I was there still ..

hed

PS. Solid advice from RichLees not to listen to any "local guides"in Moyale and for that matter most other border towns (think Ghana/Togo border). I generally found them more a nuisance than a help and also found their advice generally useless and unnecessarily confusing.
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Old 5 Nov 2003
hed hed is offline
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Sorry, I wanted to add that the place I stayed at is a very cheap Hotel that I can only recommend. They have small, cheap rooms, with mosquito nets, clean sheets and no bed bugs, plus a pleasant verandah bar and very friendly staff. They also have a high wall around the compund and they lock the gate at night (careful if you are the only guest, as I was locked in early in the morning and had to leave via the roof as the guard had not arrived yet :-))

This place can be found if you turn right after leaving teh Kenyan border post, on top of the hill, past the police station a few hundred metres further down, on teh Kenyan side.

hed
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  #6  
Old 9 Nov 2003
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We went down about 18 months ago. At that stage there was a convoy running but we managed to avoid having to wait for it. We crossed over the border at Moyale then bombed it down to Masabit using the Australian method of driving on corregations which involved driving fast so you skim over the surface. Took 4 hours but quite tiring. Stayed overnight in Masabit then continued on the next day. Guard wouldn't let us out so we had to argue with the new Chief of Police who eventually let us go with a police landrover loaded up with police. However when we would let some of them ride on our roof rack they dissappeared off a side track and didn't come back. We lost the suspension further down and ended up limping into Archers post at about 10.00pm. Stayed the night then went on to Isolo and Nanyuki. We had no security problems but 4 Dutch people were stopped in their offroad truck by 15 gun men. Driver was made to lie on the floor with a gun to the back of his head and they took a load of money. Didn't want electrical gear, other valubles. Also British troops out there on training exercise said they were getting shot at. This was all 18 months ago though so may have changed.
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