The flight from Addis Ababa via Djibouti to Nairobi went without any major problems. Even the 15-hour stopover at Djibouti airport was pretty interesting. The US Army maintains its base here for its drone strikes in Yemen and Somalia. In addition, a whole contingent of European units is stationed here. We saw armies from Spain, France and Germany, but also the Red Cross, the UN and many other organizations. A permanent come and go of combat and relief aircraft prevailed here. We just needed to look at the runway and had pure entertainment.
At 6:00 in the morning we landed in Nairobi. Right after the exit the yellow fever vaccination was checked. Andy had vaccinated in 1984. The agency did not want to accept this, although such a vaccine is life-long. Andy told me to go ahead and he would follow. The customs clearance went very quickly and after a short time I could take my bike. After putting everything back together, Andy still did not show up. Slowly it was getting pretty hot and I really wanted to reach the 15km away from the big heat. That's why I drove off already.
Left-hand traffic prevails here in Kenya. Partly I and my tractor on the streets were pretty dusty. The reddish earth almost looks like rusty metal. At last a name came to my mind for my bike. I decided to baptize "Dusty".
In the Jungle Junction I found my haven after all the stress in Ethiopia. Chris, the owner, has been managing this Overlander Treff since 1999. He arrived here after a long journey from Germany through North Africa and met his wife Diana. Professionally, he works as a mechanic and runs his own workshop here. Between South Africa and Europe, this place is totally known among Overlander, motorcycle and bicycle riders. Anyone who travels through Africa with their own vehicle simply comes over here someday. While Chris and his crew are repairing the vehicles, you can relax or hire your vehicle for a long time.
Here I met again Marco, one of my travel partners through the Sudan (Band of Brothers).
But he drove on the next day. Pretty many people came and went. Every evening we had discussions about traveling in Africa on the terrace. In addition, there is a really large shopping center nearby with all the things I had dreamed of in the last few months and in the evening there was peace and quiet. No church that makes noise throughout the night as usual in Ethiopia. I liked the place so much that I decided to stay longer. In the end, it became 9 weeks. Another factor was the dawning of the rainy season, which submerged the entire country.
I got in touch with Yashar via Facebook. We met on my second day in Nairobi. Yashar comes from Azerbaijan, is a journalist and cyclists from his homeland to South Africa. He wants to draw attention to the lack of democracy in Azerbaijan with this project. In Sudan, the Ethiopian embassy did not want to issue him a visa. Therefore, he decided to cycle through South Sudan.
The journey went up to 80 kilometers before the Kenyan border without incident. However, he was then attacked by four men who nearly beat him to death with stones and stole his bike with all his pockets. After lying unconscious on the ground for several hours, he awoke again and made it to the next street. There people soon attacked him and took him to the hospital. His forearm and a few ribs were broken and his head had a large laceration. The police soon found the thieves. His bike and some bags with the most content were still there. The doctors could not operate on him. With a lot of organization, he managed to organize a transport to Nairobi, where he was finally able to operate the broken arm after one month.
Many people in Nairobi helped him. At Daisy, a Warmshower contact, he could spend the night for free and in the Safari Simba (a Velo Academy, which is led by David Kinsha) his bike was repaired. We spent a lot of time together until he was finally able to get back in the saddle after 4 months to tackle his onward journey. Yashar is for me a person whom I deeply admire because of his strong will.
At the end of May the rain started to slow down and for me the time to move on came. First I wanted to cycle through the area of Kikuyus towards Nyeri.
The Kikuyu are a Bantu ethnic ethnic group in East Africa's Kenya, which comprises about eight million people and accounts for about a quarter of Kenya's population. In the multi-ethnic state of Kenya they are the largest population group with about 22 percent. In the 1950s, they dominated the struggle for independence against the British colonial power and for many years large sectors of the economy and politics of independent Kenya, which has often led to conflicts in recent decades.
The 9 months of doing nothing quickly became apparent. Kenya is not a flat country. Road construction is pretty simple here. Just up the mountain and down again. No matter how steep the slope is. After 4 days I reached Nyeri and could hardly walk because of my sore muscles. The slopes were often so steep that I had to push Dusty (or has my condition decreased so badly ?!).
Kenya also has people everywhere. Compared to Ethiopia, however, they are a lot more pleasant and very friendly. Only the eternal "Muzungu" (foreigner) cries of the children gets a bit on the nerves. After a while, I almost did not register it anymore. Finding a campsite was often almost impossible. That's why I usually asked the schools if I could pitch my tent there, which was never a problem. One time a teacher even invited me to his home and his wife spoiled us with Ugali, the national dish. Almost like polenta. In addition, everyone is very interested in my trip and want to learn a lot about Switzerland and Europe. That's what I missed so much in Ethiopia.
I visited Nyeri for one reason: the grave and monument of BiPi (Lord Robert Baden-Powell of Gilwell) and his wife Olave are here.
Baden-Powell's life as a general, scout leader and citizen was remarkable. He wrote, for example, 34 books, initially for the army, and finally for the Scouting movement. Baden-Powell spent his old age in Nyeri, where he died on January 8, 1941 at the age of nearly 84 years.
Lord Baden-Powell was buried in the cemetery of Nyeri. On Baden-Powell's tombstone there is a circle with a dot in it "☉". It is one of the international, all scouts known way signs, with which they can give across all language barriers encrypted messages. This message from Baden-Powell says, "I've done my job and gone home."
Dellis, the museum's director allowed me to camp in the grounds. I spent nearly 20 years as a boy scout. This place is almost a small milestone on my Africa tour for me. After a rest day I climbed back into the saddle and headed northwest towards the Great Rift Valley. The main roads would actually be fine. However, the drivers are a total disaster. For this reason I tried to lay my route on the side roads.
Off the paved roads, you also get to know the real Kenya. At school, all students are taught English and Kiswahili. However, there are 42 tribes, all speaking their own language. On the other hand, our 4 national languages in Switzerland are quite laughable. A class usually consists of 40 to 60 students. The primary school lasts 8 years, followed by 4 years upper school and possibly another 4 years of study.
The Great Rift Valley is a rift zone that stretches from East Africa to Southwest Asia, formed by the splitting of the Arabian Plate from the African Plate during the last 35 million years. The Great Rift Valley is about 6,000 kilometers long from its northern end in Syria to its southern end in Mozambique.
The Rift Valley is considered to be the "cradle of humanity" according to today's fossil record, although some recent finds from South Africa and the Sahel have relativized the theory of development exclusively in this area. The Rift Valley continues to evolve: in a few million years, eastern Africa will presumably be split off from the rest of the continent, forming a new land mass of its own.
Some roads here can not be described as such in my view. Several times I had to cross rivers, climb over boulders or push through the sand.
In the villages, I saw many people with very beautiful body jewelry. But I did not want to take pictures of people for two reasons: first, I had the feeling that too many people had tried this, and second, they wanted money as soon as I sought a conversation with them. Often, when people saw me, they simply called "give me". In my opinion, the "Great Rift Valley" should rather be renamed "Give Me Valley".
My highlight here came on the third day, when I suddenly discovered a giraffe in the bush. My first on this trip ever! Me and Lucy really enjoyed it.
Zebras, monkeys and dromedaries as well as many birds can be seen here. However, these animals are usually already gone until I have unpacked my camera.
Kenya is generally very high altitude and therefore offers a fairly pleasant climate for African conditions. Here in the Great Rift Valley, however, temperatures rose during the day to nearly 40 degrees. My water consumption increased rapidly to almost 8 liters per day. In addition, there is not a supermarket for shopping at every corner. So I had to carry a lot of food and water.
From the Great Rift Valley it went right up again. First in the Kerio Valley and then on the actual high plateau with the Cherangani mountains. After arriving totally exhausted on the second day, I could hardly believe it when I found the first real supermarket in Iten for a long time. The city is also known for its runners. Almost all athletics talents of Kenya come from this city. I met two of them who were already training in Davos and participated in the athletics meeting in Zurich.
In Kitale, my last big city off Uganda, I actually wanted to plan a rest day after all the hardships. However, there was simply no campground. Finally, the Bishop of Kitale took me in for a night. I got a hot shower, dinner and a real bed. Pure luxury! At Nakumatt, I refilled my food supplies and met a motorcyclist from South Africa. Roy is currently driving through South and East Africa. He gave me some good info for Uganda and me for Kenya.
Afterwards I drove on towards Mount Elgon (4321 meters above sea level). There is a small border crossing. After 5 hours driving on the dusty track, I reached the border post totally exhausted. In front of it is a fenced meadow. The border guards allowed me to set up my tent and spoiled me the next morning with tea and bread. Kenyan hospitality to the end!
In Ethiopia, I almost broke off my Africa trip. Kenya, however, helped me to keep my dream of Africa. I would like to wholeheartedly thank all the people here who have helped me in these 3 months. Asante sana Kenya!