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Published: November 28th 2007
Today was a short-ish drive, really to position ourselves for the climb into the Bale Mts the next day. So we set off south on the main road where the traffic was very heavy, firstly with everything that moves on wheels and then to lorries and buses heading, one supposes, for the Red Sea ports. So, when we left that road at Mojo the traffic thinned and we were able to get a move on, rather than travel at the 25-30 mph crawl we had amongst the heavies. Acacia and scrub country from now on.
We passed Lake K’ok’a and then Lake Ziway, both rather disappointing - just muddy coloured expanses of water in low lying land. Our objective was Lake Langano where the guide books advertised various lake-side “resorts” where we could possibly camp. We went to the best recommended which was a resort in the western sense, a weekend playground for those living in Adis. It had little cabins in which to stay and tables set out under the acacia trees while the lake shore was grey gravel on which lapped the muddy waters. We asked where we could camp and were shown the carpark where the
campers’ loos left more than enough to be desired. It was a take-it-or-leave-it situation and, although the place was deserted, there was no question of compromise - so we left. But further up the shore there was a tall cliff, several hundred feet high, on which grew scattered acacia .
We made our way northwards a bit to another resort, brand new, where it was $80 per person per night with no camping, so we hardly stopped engines there! Instead we drove back and went off road towards the top of this cliff. It didn’t take us all that long to find an ideal site, on the edge of the cliff, with magnificent views across the lake. So we set up camp here, with great expectations. It didn’t take all that long before an old man appeared, together with, we supposed, several of his grandchildren.
He was delightful. He kept the kids at a discrete distance and enquired what we were doing. Without a common language, it was difficult to tell him we wanted to sleep there for one night. We never did find out what his agitated concern was but surmised that he didn’t want us building
another lodge there or else he was worried on our account because of shifta - gangs of robbers. We assured him we were more than happy and didn’t want to build a lodge nor were we too concerned about the any unfriendly visitors. He shared a cup of very sweet lapsang tea with us and eventually took his kids away, shaking his head in despair. Later on another man walked past, shook our hands, realised what we were doing, and from then on we were left alone. What a lovely campsite it turned out to be, perched high, with some interesting birds, plenty of hyrax close by, stunning views and the privacy we wanted. We had drinks under the stars followed by an excellent meal before retiring.
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