After waiting nearly a week we finally had our Ethiopian visas in hand and began the trip north to the border. The first few hours, going around Mt. Kenya are normal roads….with pavement. The next 300 miles or so, taking us back into the northern hemisphere (we’ve now crossed the equator 7 times in the past month) was another story.
Generally independent travelers like us have a few options on this path: 1) the dusty, dirty, once a week bus that runs to the border straight without breaks and usually has delays of around 12 hours or 2) the cattle truck, where upgrading to sit in the cab with the driver and his 10 best paying customers is half of what the bus costs. Did I mention its almost 300 miles and two days on this road? Weighing these two options, we considered flying to Addis Ababa.
Ultimately we were saved from the arduous journey by friends of ours. Now that we’ve survived a safari together, and almost been arrested together, the journey north couldn’t be too bad! Now that we didn’t need to worry about falling out of the cattle truck or suffocating from the smells of the most awful bus on Africa’s “most awful” road, we had only the bandits to be concerned with….ya’know, the ones who shoot at cars and trucks and all of that. (no, I’m not joking)
In the end no bandits shot at us, but we did have to contend with a few spitting camels and some herdsmen. Local people, decorated in full beaded headdresses and feathers made interesting companions at the Marsabit Internet cafe. The road was long,dusty and in terrible condition, but we made it through and arrived without any major problems at the Ethiopian border.