March 01, 2008 GMT
Ethiopia, Kenia


Looking forward to a cold beer in Ethiopia.

Crossing into Ethiopia we did not realize that there would be no petrol for almost 400 kmís and although there were many fuel stations they only stocked diesel. Running on fumes and stopping to drain fuel from BMWís to keep the KTM going we eventually came across a fuel station that sold petrol in cans at an inflated price. Needless to say we were happy to pay whatever he wanted.


Maintenance being done.

At the stone churches in Lalibela.

Deciding to turn north to Lalibela we did not realize how remote this area was and did not make contact for seven days and this caused great concern in Dubai and Cape Town. I would like to apologise for any distress that was caused and would like to thank everyone who attempted to locate us. It was also reassuring to see so many people concerned about our wellbeing.

We left Lalibela and made for Gondor in the west. The road we took was the worst I had been on and it took almost 12 hours to cover 200 kmís. By the end of that road my right front shock was starting to leak oil but it did not affect the handling of the bike. I got separated from Carlo and Jerry in the dark and we were only able to locate one another the next morning.


Cow that was struck by Carlo.

After our visit to Gondor we turned south to Lake Tana which is the source of the Nile. It was late afternoon and we had the sun in our eyes when a cow wondered out of the shadows into the road. Carlo who was riding up front did not see the cow and struck it on the neck at approximately 80 km/h. The cowís neck was broken and it died instantly while Carlo continued down the road with the BMW on its side for about 15 meters and came to a stop in a cloud of dust. Amazingly he did not even have a scratch on him although his BMW jacket took a bit of a beating.The bike sustained damage but the most serious was the brake fluid reservoir that had disintegrated on impact.

Soon at least 50 people had gathered around and the negotiations started for payment for the dead cow. The price was agreed at 250 dollars and we arranged a truck to take Carloís bike to the next town. The next day was spent knocking out pannier boxes and straighting out parts on the bike that had moved or been bent. Carlo found a guy that could work with Perspex and gave him what was left off the brake fluid reservoir to try and construct something temporary.
The following day the bike was on the road and we made for Kenia and the dreaded Moyale to Marsabit road.


The temporary Perspex brake fluid reservoir being fitted to Carloís bike.


Looking for a camping site next to the road in remote areas in the dark is not advised. This is me waiting for some assistance after dropping the bike.


The road to Marsabit, 250 kms of it and this is a good section were you can stop and start again without dropping the bike.

The fourth bike in the above picture is SimonPatrick O'Hara from Ierland who joined us for this section on his fuel sipping 640 KTM. He claims to get over 700 km a tank. He has been riding from Italy through North Africa and met up with us on the road from Gondor in Ethiopia.

We were told upon arrival at Moyale the road had been graded 2 weeks before but this turned out to be a vicious rumour and it seems the locals like playing these games with unsuspecting motorcyclists.

This section of road has a lot of loose gravel and deep ruts and one needed to focus on staying on an existing truck tyre print to prevent the bike from being sucked into the deep gravel on either side of you and just to complicate matters further there are plenty of large stones lying about waiting to direct that front wheel into the loose stuff. A momentís lack of concentration ensured that all of us dropped our bikes on this section, fortunately without any serious damage or injury.


Will this road ever end ???????????

The road from Marsabit to Isiolo is almost 300 kms and although there is not as much loose gravel it is heavily corrugated for the entire 300kms and you and your bike will take a pounding. The temptation was always there to ride it fast but without fail a very large pothole would appear and would force you to slow down. I know of many motorcyclist who have destroyed there suspensions on this stretch of road and would advise a slow but steady pace and prepare yourself for a long day.

tyre 1.JPG

Repairing Simonís tyre on the way to Isiolo.

As we were repairing Simonís tire we were unaware that Jerry had been involved in a collision with a vehicle a couple of kms ahead of us. Once we had the tyre repaired and set off we found Jerry and the vehicle waiting for us. He had been very lucky and narrowly avoided being run over and seriously injured. The vehicle had hit the back of the bike and bent the sub frame and exhaust. The luggage straps had also broken and we had to improvise to get the bike on the road again. Jerry was able to continue and we needed to get to Nairobi to check out the bikes and repair the damage they had sustained.


Absolute relieve by all at making it to asphalt after two days and almost 600 kms of the worst road I have ever encountered. It was great teamwork and support that got us through and I would like to thank you all for a great ride.

Posted by Lionel Haggard at March 01, 2008 09:53 AM GMT

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