Saturday, 26 November 2016

Day 101: Nairobi, Kenya to Arusha, Tanzania, border crossing at Namanga. 275km, 7 hours 19-20°C

Sometimes we wonder if  we are following the journeys of Ernest Hemingway - from the hotel in Varna Bulgaria to The Norfolk  here in Nairobi.
The hotel was built in 1906 when Nairobi was a village. We enjoyed all the historical photographs of early travellers and safari adventures. We enjoyed the comfort, too.

It is Thanksgiving in the USA.
We enjoyed our own thanksgiving dinner with the best beef steak we have had in months and more wonderful fresh vegetables. 
The hotel has its own herb garden. I had a lovely fresh green herb omelette.
All set to ride south.

Security was tight around the hotel. Huge military vehicles along the street.
The traffic was dense as we headed out of town. Slow moving, too.
Then we were out in the countryside; stopping once for a cup of tea for us and petrol for Orlanda.

The roads at border at Namanga are being reconfigured.
We hesitated for barely a moment and someone was alongside wanting to show us the way.
We have become quite benevolent about fixers.
First immigration( a yellow fever certificate was asked for... where have I hidden mine?)
No problem.
Customs was quick, too.
Then to Tanzania border control, after a slight detour through a 'herd' of trucks. 
Public health first. Yellow fever certificate? 
We got through this hurdle becaus haven't been in any countries where yellow fever is endemic and because of our age 
Next to purchase a 'visa on arrival', $50 US each, please.
Then Dick deals with the customs for Orlanda.

While he is doing that I have a chat with Alfreda, a maths teacher,  from Kenya who was heading south.
We have noticed that along the highway there are numerous signs and billboards for boys' schools, girls' schools, secondary schools, full kindergarten to secondary schools, church schools, international schools...
Alfreda tells me that education is very important to Kenyans. 

We talked about these words that I saw on the back of a truck...
'Dreams... are the seedlings.... for reality'
Education is one of the dreams for  Kenyans.
Education transforms the future of children everywhere.
Dreams can be transformed into reality.

Near the border the landscape changed from lush forest to scrubby grassland. 
Mountain peaks dot the landscape. 
They can't all be Mt Kilimanjaro.

The GPS takes us through a shortcut near Arusha.
A rumpty road through coffee plantations.
A reminder of roads past...

Then home for two nights in a coffee plantation at the Arusha Coffee Lodge.

We will be heading away on safari from here tomorrow.
Blogging will resume when we have internet access.


Friday, 25 November 2016

Day 100: Nanyuki to Nairobi, 197km 4 hours, 21-23°C

We are rejoicing today...
We have had 100 riding days since we left the Ace Cafe in North London on 29 May 2016 and have covered  29,106km (18,085miles) through 36 countries.

Today we rode from the slopes of Mt Kenya near Nanyuki to Nairobi.
Lush green productive landscapes.
Fruit and vegetables galore.
We are loving the fresh fruit and vegetables here in Kenya.
Great for us after several months of mainly pulses, breads, cheeses and meat dishes.

We have been truly blessed every day on the road.


We have crossed the equator a few times today!



Made to measure. Looks like rainy days are expected.






Day 99: Marsabit to Nanyuki 350km 4.5hours, rain.

Some more reminders of the British colonial influence...
Weetabix, full English breakfast...
Rain, mist, rain, some sunshine, rain...

We mulled over staying another night in Marsabit but at around 10am we decided 'Let's go'
First fill Orlanda with petrol. 
They sell petrol here at petrol stations.
 Then off we ride.
The photos tell the story.
The road was great.
Occasional police stops with fearsome road spikes.
Roadside stalls washed out and surrounded with mud and puddles.
Lush green fields on the hill sides nearer to Nanyuki.
Fences, stock, coffeee plantations, bananas, 
Probably our the last sighting of camels.

It has been so dry in this region that people must be rejoicing at the rain.

The last rain of any consequence that we have had on the road was near Artvin in north eastern Turkey in late August.

Our GPS took us to a the guard house at military establishment. 
That definitely wasn't our hotel in Nanyuki.
After a ride through meandering lanes we find the Mt Kenya safari hotel. 
A very nice place for the night.
In fact so nice we stayed for two nights.

We watched and chatted with people in  several groups who were also in residence.
A UN food programme group, a group from Shell involved with the Gravity light  which might revolutionise life for people off the grid, especially young folk trying to study,  and a group Action in focus who were heading out to medical camps where village folk will receive medical treatment.

And English breakfast in Marsabit.

Gravity light