Leaving Ethiopia, back to Kenya

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Africa » Kenya
February 10th 2020
Published: February 10th 2020
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We set off early with the aim of making the border, we didn’t expect such good roads but we didn’t expect such hassle crossing the border. We’re here now all safe and sound though.

We got up early expecting the roads to be busy and not so good but we were wrong. We were treated to ever emptier roads heading toward the border on ever better roads. As such we made the border crossing at Moyale for lunchtime. Unfortunately in classic African style the border was closed from 1200-1400 for luch.

When the Ethiopians returned the exit was relatively speedy and efficient, they didn’t seem to care much about the content of the car but were very keen to check the engine number of the car (perhaps this is a smugglers tactic?).

Unfortunately when we got to Kenya things got difficult. They decided our visa wasn’t valid, I won’t go into the details but on checking with London it was but they were not having any of it and were playing boss. So we had to fork out $100 each on new East African visas, not a great start. Next we had to go to customs to clear the car…

At customs they wanted us to fill in an online form to enter the country but couldn’t provide us internet access to do it. So we had to leave the border, go to an internet café, fill in the forms and print one for him and come back. On our return he said he needed two copies of the print out (so off I ran), then his computer crashed and we had to start again. Finally when we had all our paperwork we went to the exit gate which was blocked with many Lorries. Using my finest “white man” idiot I went to the front, got the man (with a guns) attention by discussing my intimate knowledge of the premier league and jumped the queue. Finally we were into Kenya (again).

We’re sad to leave Ethiopia, it has amazingly kind and friendly people, we never felt unsafe and they have some of the most spectacular roads and landscapes. That said their main dish involves what looks like a cold anaemic pancake that tastes somewhere between a bathmat and a sheep’s stomach. Nobody seems to have any road sense from the cars to pedestrians to livestock. Finally, it is a poor country and that means whenever you stop and wherever you stop (even if it is the middle of nowhere) someone will appear in minutes and bug you for money.

On entering Kenya we were passing through a previously heavily disputed area around Moyale (where only last November the military had to shut the town down for fighting). Also the road south from Moyale to Marsabit used to be bandit territory, so our stress levels were a little high. All told we had no issues but we did pass through at least 10 heavily armed military checkpoints. These were not your usual ill-trained and ill-dressed soldiers, these chaps new what they were doing and checked everything on our passports and cars thoroughly. While this did slow us down, it did feel very safe and we made Marsabit (out of dodgy territory) by nightfall.

We set up camp with Henry who is a 60 year old Swiss-man who came 40 years ago and stayed. He’s made a lovely camp and pleased to say we’re his only guests. He even has hot showers!


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