Sunday, May 5, 2024



By the time we head north from Mombasa it is midafternoon. It was just as well John got the tyre shop to check one of the wheels. There were lots of little holes which they filled with a sealer so hopefully they will be OK on the rocky track to Turkana. We head through nonstop traffic northwest to Lake Naivasha, finally stopping for the night at Elwai Camping. It has lovely views of Mt Longonot and the lake.

In the morning, I decide we should really have a look at Hells Gate National Park. The scenery for the Lion King movie was taken from here. So, we head to the park only to discover it is overpriced, having the same exorbitant entry fees as the major parks. And the gorge is closed, as too are some of the tracks. We decide to give it a miss and instead we continue northwest on the busy road. We are glad to turn at Gilgil and head directly north to Turkana. Everywhere is lush and green from the recent rain. In fact, we get a torrential fall of rain after lunch. Late afternoon we head into the camping area of the lovely old colonial Thompson Falls Lodge located right near the falls. Of course, we have to pay to see them (foreigner price) so we make do with what we can see from the Hotel grounds. It is a lovely cool night because we are up at altitude. We will come down tomorrow.

And sure enough we do, down down to flat Samburu territory. The road is excellent and we are lulled into a false sense of security. Then GR2 starts to throw a few faults that John can’t clear with his fancy GScan, so we decide to stop midday at the Maralai Safari Lodge where there is a lovely grassy area to camp.  John tilts the cab and sets to work. Later in the afternoon we watch a large group in full Samburu costume arrive. They are a singing group from the local Church doing a photo shoot. We get the privilege of watching the performance and chatting to some of them.

In the morning, we head to the local Church. We have been informed our group is performing and that it is an English service. Awesome! Much later we head off to tackle the Turkana Road. The lovely seal has ended in town and now we have 200km of washed away track or just plain rock face to navigate. After juddering very slowly along for 20mins we make the decision not to continue. The truck is not behaving well, our tyres are worn and we are waiting on news of our shipping. So back to our good road, then another back road we shouldn’t have turned down to reach the lovely Lalansai Lodge & Camp. At least we can come out a better way!

We have decided to drive around the eastern side of Mt Kenya, but as we head towards Meru GR2 throws more faults, and again they can’t be cleared. We have to drive in “limp home mode” which is a bit tedious with all the hills. Then she starts to cough and splutter. Oh no, we will have to stop at Meru Isuzu, but fortunately the shuddering stops and we decide to continue to Mombasa (albeit rather slowly) to the workshop we have used before. AND we have finally been confirmed on a ship. We need to see our shipping agent ASAP.  Just as well we didn’t continue to Turkana. It is a long slow drive, but the mountain scenery is lush and gorgeous, with lots of bananas, coffee and tea. Once we reach Embo at the bottom of the mountain the terrain is flatter (much better for GR2) and we head south stopping on dusk at a little place we used last year.

As we head off bright and early, we can see the snow-capped peak of Mt Kilimanjaro looming. Last night John tilted the cab and fixed the problem so we don’t have to drive in “limp home mode.”  The road is great until we reach the infamous Mombasa to Nairobi Road with its unrelenting queues of slow trucks. We drive all day reaching the shipping agent by 4pm. It is great to get the shipping confirmed. We will take GR2 to the yard on Friday to be strapped to a flat rack, and it will leave (fingers crossed) on the 25th April bound for India. We head to AM Motors where we will camp the night before they work on GR2.

We are up early ready for our mechanic to start. The foreman is away so no one is rushing. In fact, all he gets done before morning tea is fill in his job sheet. Finally, by 11am he starts, so of course it is not finished by the end of the day, so its another night in the workshop. We had been planning to camp out at the beach tonight, but when Halimi invites us to a wedding we can’t resist. We will have to stay here again as the wedding is practically next door.

What an experience. The men go to one building and the ladies to another. All the ladies (especially the younger ones) are in their most gorgeous sparkly outfits with hair done, full makeup and beautifully patterned hennaed hands. Fortunately, Halimi has loaned us outfits to wear as my clothes would definitely not make the grade. The bride arrives with both mothers, but we can only see her lovely gold woven outfit, her head is completely covered and remains that way the whole evening. There are prayers, then lots of hugging followed by all the ladies going to bless the bride. The only Wedding part is when the bride signs the marriage papers. Then its time to share a yummy biryani. Outside I see John beckoning, it’s time to go. John said the groom looked nervous, but it is an arranged marriage, so I guess he would be. In a day or two there will be another party, this time with the bride unveiled.

Back to business. The next morning, we pack. I empty the fridge and clean while John locks bars over all the windows and roof vent (an extra layer of security for the truck.) We head out while we await our instructions. Nothing yet so John decides to get a rental car for the next few days, so we get that organised. When we know where we are going a driver will deliver it. John does suggest I drive BUT golly you should see how they drive here. I’d be a nervous wreck! Finally, an address from our agent and we head there. A few hours later John drives onto a metal rack that is lifted by a forklift onto our flatrack. A few tense moments, but all goes well. We check they don’t need the keys and head off. We are going to Diani Beach for a few nights. There is a long queue for the ferry and then a long drive so we are glad to find our lovely B&B, try out the pool and have a relaxed evening. The only annoying thing is a call from our agent. Customs need to see inside so we will have to drive back to town tomorrow instead of going to the beach!

We leave early. We will notify our agent when we get onto the ferry so he can coordinate the inspection with customs. Well, the ferry queue is appalling, and its Saturday! We wait for well over 2 hours, so by the time we reach the shipping yard customs have been and gone, so we have to leave the keys behind. The only plus here is that we can get a list of things I forgot to pack! Then another 2 hours waiting for the ferry to return. Most of the day is gone.

Our flight is early Monday morning so we decide to return to Mombasa for the night. We don’t want to risk a long wait for the ferry on Monday morning. So, Sunday we leave late morning and hopefully the queue will be shorter! And yes, it is. In fact, hardly a queue at all. We check-in to a lovely Hotel right beside the harbour and later head to Amir & Halimi’s home. They want to cook a meal for us. A lovely evening chatting and eating fish, chicken and naan.

Monday morning, we are up bright and early. We need to collect our keys and stamped carnet before we fly out. Our agent has promised that we will meet at his office at 7am to collect them. Really! Of course, it doesn’t happen and we head to the airport, drop off the car and check in. We wait and YAY the keys and stamped carnet are delivered to us before we have to head to boarding. We are totally relieved!!! We sit at check in, but there is no plane there. There was a bird strike in Zanzibar which delayed our plane 2 hours. But eventually we board. Goodbye Africa.


  1. Gr8 Blog, so enjoyed your journey in Africa.....will await Hello India xx

  2. Looking forward to India stay safe Dave tas

  3. Where's my good buddies now Lynda Pinder?
    Seems ages since I have seen you! All this flitting around....haven't you got a house to clean or something?
    Carry on! Missing you! Big Hugs . Love from Lesley xx

  4. OMG - what nerve recking moments, and glad to hear that all worked out OK at the end.