Sept 23rd Migori, Kenya
Start Point: Oscar’s Place, Migori, Kenya
End Point: Rocky Bay Resort, Busisi, Tanzania
KMs travelled today: 333
Total KMs: 680
While yesterday’s drive from Nairobi was mostly familiar, today’s journey over the border started to take us all into uncharted territory.
Repacking this morning was another game of tetris, but we’re getting slightly better at it. We still ended up with 2 smaller bags and the toilet seat on the roof, but definitely a vast improvement.
First stop was the Isebania Border, covered with signs saying its’ a super-efficient ‘One Stop Border Post’, but it’s still actually 2 posts in different locations, both of whom have officers seemingly intent on drawing out the process. Luckily we have a custom clearance ‘Carnet du Passage’ so we were out in just over an hour and half.
From the border, the road south converges slowly with Victoria’s lakeshore but we started through boulder covered rolling hills, dotted with productive looking subsistence farms – postcard rural Africa. Slowly we dropped lower and met the plains of the Serengeti National Park, with the main road we were driving acting as the far edge of the Serengeti’s ‘Western Corridor’. It was here we had our roadside lunch, under the shade of a small acacia before hopping back in the car for our speedy safari … we did see some buffalo and gazelles as we whizzed past. It was still early in the day, otherwise we may have been tempted to stop at the Fuku Fuku Campsite … sadly, I didn’t get a chance to photograph the sign.
The road towards Mwanza hugs the lake as it goes south and finally starts to turn west. Village and village went by … which in Tanzania means 50kmh zones and speed bumps on an otherwise largely empty and very good road. But the scenery was amazing – farmland, sandy beaches with livestock milling around on them, thousands of schoolchildren in Tanzanian flag jerseys and, in one place, 1,000’s of black kites circling over a series of rocky outcroppings.
Several hours and one brief journey down the wrong road later, we arrived at Kikongo for our ferry across the Mwanza Gulf. We joined a madding throng waiting to go west for the weekend and by all accounts were lucky to get onto the first ferry that arrived after only 20 minutes wait. There is a new bridge under construction … and impressive Chinese funded effort in the same style as the raised railway across Nairobi National Park.
We’ve ended our day at the Rocky Bay Resort, a South African owned and run stop on the lakeshore. As I write this we’re trying out their self-proclaimed famous cocktails (I opted for a Kilimanjaro beer) as we watch the sunset colours reflecting off the lake. Our final task – to leave our mark on the bar wall. Cheers to another day!
Sept 22nd Nairobi, Kenya
Start Point: Nairobi, Kenya
End Point: Oscar’s Place, Migori, Kenya
KMs travelled today: 347
Total KMs: 347
Captain’s Log … Day 1 …
It’s been a crazy week. The idea for this Nairobi – Cape Town ‘African Adventure’ was conceived as soon as Kian settled on St Andrew’s School in Grahamstown, South Africa. That was about three years ago, so you think we’d have had time to get ourselves prepared!
Instead, things have been crazy, trying to get everything together and last night was my first attempt to try and fit everything I wanted to take inside the car … which it didn’t! We managed to make it all work and this morning we set off in our smartly-stickered Toyota Hilux, albeit with a couple of bags and a folding toilet seat attached to the roof.
Over the last few days, we have spent time with, and said goodbye to everyone, before the journey. This included friends, family, the Queen and our two dogs, Yoyo and Rey, who looked rather forlorn as we pulled out of the driveway without them.
Today’s drive was all about putting down some miles towards Kenya’s western most border crossing point with Tanzania, Isabania. Our drive took us across the dusty Great Rift Valley at its narrowest point (about 40km), through the dry wheat fields that ring the northern side of the Maasai Mara and off into the fertile rolling hills of western Kenya. After months of being concerned about droughts in much of the country, it was a welcome change to drive through lush tea and sugarcane fields and experience a prolonged heavy downpour (we had to squeeze the bags from the roof in next to Kian on the back seat!).
We’ve finally arrived at Oscar’s Place, a hidden Airbnb gem about 30km from the Tanzania border. We’re all a bit tired from the trip and the events of the last few days. Tonight will involve a bowl of pasta, glass of wine and hopefully a nice long sleep. We even made a friend of the farm dog, newly christened snowflake, who’s keeping us company in the absence of our own pooches.
The adventure really kicks off tomorrow as we cross into Tanzania. This will be where our bird and mammal count will begin and everywhere will be part of the new exploration for Kian, with lots of new places for me and Gillian as well.
Wish us luck …
Sept 19th Nairobi, Kenya
Kilometres covered: 0
The vehicle is fully kitted out, branded and ready to go! Now you know what to look out for along the way. There are only three more sleeps left until the African Adventure begins on Thursday. The Southern African themed send-off party with family and friends at the weekend was a huge success, thanks to everyone who joined us.
Sept 16th Nairobi, Kenya
Kilometres covered: 0
Joe and Kian are starting an African Adventure. Next week they will be setting off by road to travel from Nairobi, Kenya to Cape Town, South Africa … a journey that will take 3 months and cover over 10,000km.
Along the way, they will be passing through Tanzania, Malawi, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Botswana and Namibia before arriving in Cape Town in time for Christmas.
Some of you may know that Kian graduated from Banda School in Kenya in July and is off to start the next phase of his life’s journey at boarding school in South Africa in January 2023. It was while thinking about the opportunities presented by this move that the idea of the ‘African Adventure’ was born. What better way to drop Kian off at his new school than via a road trip covering half the continent – a chance for Joe to revisit some familiar old haunts and for Kian to explore some new countries!
The boys will depart on Thursday 22nd September with Gillian accompanying them for their explorations of Western and Southern Tanzania. She’ll then meet up with them at strategic points along the way to check in and share in some of the most fun parts.
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