Friday, 25 November 2016

Day 98 contd. crossing the border from Ethiopia to Kenya 250km, 2 ½ hours ride from Moyale to Marsabit, 1 ½ hour for both border crossings

This post is mainly to provide an update about the border and roads as at 21 November 2016  for overlanders, especially motorcyclists.

This border crossing and the ride to Marsabit proved for us that the crossing is relatively easy and that the rugged road and the bandits no longer exist.
Until last year riders on this section of road would sometimes take days or would need to call for help and be trucked to Marsabit in Kenya.

The road from about 20 km north of Hagere Mariyam in Ethiopia to Moyale is a lovely sealed road.
There is some road construction at Moyale in the border crossing area. 
A new Ethiopian border control building is being built.

We  arrived to the existing Ethiopian immigration building at 12.20pm.
Alas the staff were at lunch till 2pm.
Some fixers appeared and showed us where we could find some lunch.
First Dawid had to cut up the goat leg and weigh out 500gm. We asked for no green chillies.
The pieces of meat were sent off to the kitchen and cooked into a highly seasoned tibs served with injera. 
Plenty of green chillies.

One of the fixers exchanged our Ethiopian money. Dick is good at making sure that there is very little left to exchange.
Then back to immigration. While we waited we talked to George from Nairobi who had ridden by bus to Addis Ababa to renew a visa for one of the Stans where he works. It was a two day bus ride from Nairobi to Addis and two days return. He described some of the roads as sheer hell on a bus. 
The exit process involved finger printing and iris  photographs - just like arrivals in Los Angeles. Entry at Metema was the same.
'Stamp' 'stamp' in our passports and then Dick took Orlanda to customs while I waited in the shade.

On the Kenyan side of the border the border control buildings are almost complete with drive through immigration booths ready to open in December 2016.
We were directed to an immigration building nearby. Staff were at lunch however the helpful security guard phoned the staff and they appeared. He explained to me that because the post is not busy then staff can be called back to process travellers. We filled in the blue card and were soon hearing 'stamp' 'stamp'as the immigration stamp hit the ink pad and then our passports.

I chatted with the security detail and established that the road south was sealed all the way to Nairobi.

We knew we were in a little slice of England  when we saw a road sign saying that the road meandered for several km. 
And for the first time since we left the UK we were riding on the left side of the road. 

Orlanda was cleared through Kenyan customs by  2.45pm so we decided to ride south toward Marsabit.
It took about 2 ½ hours and then a bit of faffing around while we tried to find a hotel. 
It had rained during the afternoon in Marsabit so there were plenty of muddy puddles around.
We retraced our ride a few km north to near the airport and found the Jirime Hotel.
Perfect for the night.
Orlanda spent the night under the watchful eye of an armed guard beside the main entrance. 

We had roast chicken and lots of fresh vegetables for dinner.




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All secure for the night at Jirime Hotel.



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