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Published: November 28th 2007
The rising sun awoke us to the magical atmosphere of total isolation in the African bush - lovely! We soon packed up and set off, delighted that we had not been “found” in our camp. We drove only a mile or so down the road and were into a small village - how lucky had we been, we asked ourselves!
It was only 20 miles or so to Mega
and the next village we came to we found there was a deep volcanic crater which produced an abundance of soda which the locals harvested. We got out of our cars to look into the crater and to talk to the locals about it. There was clearly a market for the soda, the black stuff going to the livestock and the white for human use. I think they were disappointed that we declined their offer of donkey rides to the bottom of the crater to see the work at close quarters but I suspect this was more because of the lost revenue as tourists than any desire to show off their industry.
We drove on, soon hitting the Adis to Kenya tarmac road, some 5 miles short of Mega, where we stopped for limited provisions. It was nice to find some of the locals who spoke swahili, the first we encountered, some 60 into Ethiopia. We then drove non-stop to Moyale
, the border town straddling the Ethiopia/Kenya border. The Ethiopian side was bustling and busy where we were besieged by touts wanting to change money. Being Sunday all the banks were closed so we had no option but to avail ourselves of their services. We refuelled too, the last “cheap” diesel of our trip.
Ethiopian Immigration immediately picked up the error in Jeremy’s visa but, when Jeremy told him to ring the Boss in Adis should they need to query the mistake, they accepted the status quo and stamped us all up. The fact that we had contact with the Boss Man probably saved us from having to pay “chai” as well. Customs were swift, easy and courteous.
We then crossed into Kenya where this side of Moyale was scruffy, no tarmac, but just as busy. After a long wait (Sunday lunchtime) the immigration and customs officials arrived and could not have been more pleasant in dealing with us quickly and efficiently. What a nice welcome into Kenya!
It was odd to be driving on the left again after all these weeks of driving on the right. We kept having to remind each other to take care! Next objective was to find a campsite and we had heard that the Catholic Mission/Church offered facilities to the occasional travellers and, once we had found it, we were not disappointed. In many ways it was like our Nursing College grounds of 2 nights before, but this time with elderly Italian Catholic Sisters instead of teenage student nurses, and Father Francis was in charge. The grounds were quiet, shady and we had the use of their spotless long-drop loo - so nice. Father Francis joined us for evening drinks and it was interesting to listen to all he had to say. We enjoyed our evening meal and were in bed reasonably early.
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