Kenya and the road to Mars … a bit

Posted: October 27, 2010 in africa overland, f800gs, Kenya
Tags: , , , , , ,

Kenyan border was by far the easiest and quickest border crossing ever … 1..2..3.. and we were done and we were on our way. At first I loved it .. off road, Kenya, wildlife, Africa baby !!

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At the Kenyan border, Moyale

All that soon came crashing down … who ever thought they could call this a road … I am sure the surface of Mars is better than this .. corrugation, rocks, mud, sand, more rocks, some boulders … just constant, never ending .. and almost 500km of this, nightmare ! About 100km into this road, I was in so much pain, ankles, wrists, back, just everything … and to top it off, I started developing a nasty cough, tight chest and a headache … not the best place or time to catch a cold.

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On the good section of the Moyale – Marsabit road … soon to get much worse

While in the camp site in Moyale, we met an Australian / ex-South African (Paul and Jan) couple also on bikes which did this road with us … Jan had a few falls and she was shaken up bit as I understand, so they decided to put her bike on a truck all the way to Isiolo while we carried on. Pete and his Land Rover have completely left us in his dust and we haven’t seem them the rest of the day. It was only Lindsay, Delilah, Andrey (Russian), Paul (Aussie) and I left to try and reach Marsabit in one piece.

We eventually gave up to pure exhaustion and pain around 40km before Marsabit, around 210km into the road and decided to stay over in a small village as the sun was setting. All day going on this road and by this time, my head was pounding, chest sore and I was boiling from the inside out … feeling very rough. The “hotel” consisted of just a room with 3 beds, no shower, toilet or running water. Lindsay and Delilah decided to sleep outside in their tent. Paul (the Aussie) realized he has completely lost his bash plate on the bike … completely missing, including his toolbox on the front .. didn’t even notice it .. he ought he just went over a big rock 🙂

Next morning early we left for Marsabit … it was so misty, you couldn’t even see 10m in front of you, no photos sorry, but got it on video … will do a post on youtube one day.

Reached Marsabit, found Pete and the Landy there, had some breakfast and by this time I was ready to pass out … this flu has got me bad … I was wet and cold from the rain as well, not going well for me 🙂

We all (5 bikes) mutually decided that it would be better for us to put the bikes on a truck for the next leg of the journey to Isiolo or at least until we find some decent road … the bikes is just taking too much of a pounding and of course I welcomed this decision as I didn’t know if my body could take another day of these roads, I can barely pack my pannier without being out of breath.

While on this truck journey, I sometimes thought the bikes are even worse off … and maybe they were, all bikes probably suffered more damage on the back of the truck then on the first leg … 3 bikes with bend side stands, 1 or 2 bikes with badly scratched paintwork … nightmare ride. We eventually reached Isiolo well after sunset .. probably around midnight actually .. off loaded the bikes and stayed the night in a hotel .. which was quite decent .. I had an en-suite shower/toilet with running hot water which is a luxury in this part of the world.

Today we are heading off to Jungle Junction in Nairobi for some repairs on the bikes …

  1. Luc Vanderstock says:

    Hi Andre,
    I have been following your epic journey for a week or two now and I’m particularly relieved to see that you made it safely through the worst part of the trip, the famous Moyale – Isiolo road. Keep going, you’re half way home and the worst should be behind you!
    My own journey along the exact same route will start in two weeks time leaving from Ghent, Belgium, so that makes your blog all the more interesting to me.
    Regarding the Moyale – Isiolo road, I have a question that will influence my choice of tyres: do you think the road is passable on more road-oriented tyres like the Michelin Anakee or do you really need more off-road oriented ones like the Continental TKC80?
    I dare not begin to think of how it must be to try and pass that road in the rain…
    Your advice will be much appreciated.
    Safe travels!
    Luc Vanderstock

    PS. Jy kan ook Afrikaans skryf, ek verstaan dit goed (ek is Vlaams).

    • m0ng00se says:

      Luc …

      Thanks for following my journey … certainly has it’s ups and downs, but definitely more ups. I still have a nagging cough, but at least no longer sore body, chills and feverish … so I am much better. We are just about to pack up and go to Lake Naivasha where there is apparently another great camp site with a view of hippos and stuff, so that should be cool.

      I definitely think Anakee’s should be fine … after the first 60km or so … it gets very rocky, some sharp rocks and this is where most guys get punctures, but if you take it easy, choose your lines well then you should be good. We met a South African travelling the opposite direction on the Moyale road and he had what seemed like normal road tyres on.

      Everything pretty much up to this point is good tarmac roads … and from now on, except maybe Tanzania will also be good tarmac.

      Safe travels .. ride safe

      • Luc Vanderstock says:

        Thank you very much for your firsthand comments, Andre.
        This is exactly the information I was looking for and it is a big help.
        Enjoy the rest of the journey, stay healthy and be safe!

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