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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 16 Apr 2009
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Lake Turkana

We will be travelling by Motorbikes & 4x4's from Cairo to Cape Town, we plan to go via Lake Turkana, can anybody suggest what route from Ethiopia to take (what towns/villages to go thru etc.) also if any body knows of safe camping along that route. Also if there are MUST SEE things as well, all replies
will be appreciated.

Thanks
Paul
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  #2  
Old 16 Apr 2009
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route

Paul,

There is one basic route via Konso, (detour Dimeka, Jinka), Tumi, Kelem (aka Omorate), Ileret, Loianganlani, South Horr, Maralal. Maralal has a nice grassy campground and ! I think I still have the track in Garmin format. If you'r interested I can mail it to you. I got it from other travellers too and it came in quite handy because the track is not always that obvious and there are frequent side tracks.

Things not to miss; the Samburu and Turkana tribes in northern Kenia and the many tribes in the Omo valley (Ethiopia). Any guide book (LP) will have sufficient info on this. Sibiloi NP is not special but they have some camping infrastructure, you can top up water. The parc is relatively expensive (I believe $20 pp), not much wildlife. Its more about 3 mio year old human skeletons and other stuff they find around the lake. The main route goes through the parc and it's very difficult to bypass the park. There seems to be a by pass road but we could not find it. At the south end of the lake there is peninsula with a perfectly conical small vulcano (easy to find in Google Earth) and which seems to be NG type of natural wonder. I don't know how accessible it is though, we missed it unfortunately.

Cheers,
Noel
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Old 19 Apr 2009
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Noel,

Does anybody go down the west side of Lake Turkana or is there nothing to see.

Paul
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Old 20 Apr 2009
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From the Sudan Border to Lokichoggio, there is a very good road built by the UN to bring food from the Logichoki airport to the Refugee Camp in Kakuma. Is a very wild and dry area. Sometimes, groups of people wait on the road to ask money from travellers. You will see them from far away because there is nothing taller than a bush. In Lokichoggio is a relative good hotel (and crazy expensive) for the UN people, but in Kakuma no camping site, everything is dirty and horrible. My advise is going to the Kakuma Catholic Hospital. There are some kenyan nurses, they are very good people. Ask about their guest house. It´s not for travellers but they are not to let you down. It´s poor and simple, but cleaner than places at town, and very safe. Don´t forget to visit the hospital to see their great job, and the most important thing: give them a good tip. They really need it and they know how to use it.
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Old 20 Apr 2009
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Hello, as everyone above has mentioned there is only one route into N.Kenya from Sudan. The Road down the East Coast is rough to say the least.

The Turkana West coast road is considerably better from Furgesons Gulf south, however the Northern approach is pretty much only accessible from Uganda. otherwise you need to figure a way around lake Omo,

What not to miss out on: Loyengalani the Oasis lodge is amazing, or rather once you have arrived there, you will be amazed at how special a cold can be, and the swimming pool is worth every penny you pay for the accommodation.

The Fishing is incredibly good, but really best done from the West Coast. with some world class Nile perch.

As for things to do: Youre in the middle of nowhere, in a lunar landscape, enjoy it.
If youve got nothing better to do and want to stretch your legs climb Mt Kulal, the views amazing, its just a tad warm, high and dry.
Try to remember that anywhere around here you are very seriously at the boundaries of civilization.
As for something very interesting, the fly's are tough, well theyre unbelievably tough I know its a weird thing to comment on, but you'll see when you get there, little swines are bulletproof.
Its also kind of hot here, by the time you get to Turkana its difficult to have the energy to see this as an adventure location, to have just arrived at and not the dangerously hot area that it is and just want to get away from as soon as possible.
South island is worth a visit, but security of your bikes is an issue and the crocodiles prohibit leisurely swimming!

Other routes;
There is a very difficult crossing from Loyengalani across the Chalbi to Marsabit and South East... eventually the police post at Mado Gashi, then onto Garissa. From there you can meander down the (mosquito ridden) Tana river eventually to Mombasa.
By the time you will have reached Turkana you will not want the challenge of riding this route (I promise you - its remote and, well not exactly safe) You will also need to arrange fuel and water drops to be made for you to collect in advance, as there is none.
When you pass South horr please think back to this statement, and try to imagine that this proposed route is much worse than the one that you are one and have just cursed.
If you are using this route keep the GPS track, and email it to me, my two attempts have failed miserably. Oh and take to sets of Michelin Deserts, just for this route, you will use them both.

Protect your Radiator from stones, (front and rear) its what ruined my second attempt. Use the heaviest oil that you can, and add an (extra) oil cooler double the amount of water you carry and be very cautious about the Lugga (dry river) crossings.

I am still trying to get my act together for this route again, but it may be a number of years.

Enjoy Samburu, and make sure you stop at the swimming pool in Buffalo springs.

Hope this helps.

Cheers G
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  #6  
Old 26 Oct 2009
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Wink west side is beautiful

there is a very nice campsite at elliye springs which is about 70 kms ahead of lodwar. West is sand dunes right next to the lake, east is just rocks everywhere.
I would always prefer to go west, the riding on the dunes is amazing, you can also travel 50 kms north on the lake shore to a fishing village called Kalkol. Campsite is well stocked with cold using solar fridges, they also have a small shop selling basics. No crocodiles in the vicinity so swimming in the lake is okay. Showers and toilets are clean
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