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Old 02-10-2014, 11:16 AM   #181
michnus OP
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Originally Posted by KMC1 View Post
Oh man...44 degrees... I'd be melting like frosty the snowman! Lol...dude head for some altitude or the beach! Simply awesome trip....it's so cool to see the real Africa and not the shit shown on the news.


Can only imagine the shit of Africa been shown. The real Africa is robust and still the last real gritty ride for adventure and bikes left.
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Old 02-11-2014, 10:51 AM   #182
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Sand bloody damn sand!

As we left the next morning early. The first 10km of road was quite good and we thought if that could last we would be in Illiret late the afternoon. Well it did not last! One thing we learned was that planning goes out the window on routes like these.


Sort of nice road turned into this shitty sand track.

Also the claims that the park are maintaining the roads were bullshit. *Our speed dropped to 20km/h average and our fuel consumption to a 16km/p/L range, which presented another new problem. Our next place to get fuel would only be in Turmi, Ethiopia and still a good 500km away.



The bikes kept digging into the sand, when we got them to start to float the track changes. Add to that the track is over grown with bushes and thorns and our progress slowed to a crawl. Neither of us are new to sand riding and can cope with any sand track. This was the first time that we got into sand tracks that just did not wanted to play ball. The weight of the bikes were a serious disadvantages.



This was bad, it took us 3 to 4 hours to cover the 12km. We would work our asses going forward and then fall forward onto the bike's tank I could see on the GPS we only did 400meters.

Eventually just before Koobi Fora, there was a small uphill and I decided to gun it through the field to the houses. Elsebie got behind me but got stuck and in all the mayhem the bike started overheating.

We were fucked!! Totally and utterly fucked from exhaustion. I showed her to stop and walked back to fetch her bike.


Sucking water like a half dead camel!

One man gave me an old 5L oil can wrap in dirty old sponges and tied with old electric cable as a home make cooler for their water. We were really tired, and took us some time to cool down and feel normal again.


Fucked, properly fucked!

Eventually the men showed us around and they even had the nicest showers, we decided to set up camp in front of the main house for the evening. Without us asking they told us they would make us some fried fish and rice as it will help with building energy for the next day, we are going to need it.


Land Rover grave yard

They filled our water bottles from their 200L water drums that have been shipped to them. Other than that there’s nothing except old Land Rover wrecks that once in days gone by made it there and died there.


More dead Land Rovers


Still some wild life left.


About only this and grass growths there.

The setup is a research centre for fossils and they are just looking after the place. We went to bed knowing that the next day’s riding were going to be as hard.


Dinner, Turkana fish and rice.


Lake Turkana -baptism

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Old 02-11-2014, 12:37 PM   #183
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Man that's a tough route to follow.... Looking forward to your next posts
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Old 02-12-2014, 02:53 AM   #184
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I was waiting for this ‘Turkana’ part of the report as it is really a place where travel could become a struggle for survival.
And it really looks hard!
Did you meet any traffic there?
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Old 02-12-2014, 12:34 PM   #185
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Hello Grom

Turkana can be really harsh. One traveller told me the story of him struggling to ride the route and got so dehydrated that he could not go on. Luckily for him the rangers from park found him on their rounds they do once a month and took him to a convent in South Horr.

They radioed Narirobi to send a helicopter as a vehicle would be too slow to get him to a hospital. They just replied they must see if he gets through the night as they do not send helicopters that distance for somebody that is most likely not going to see the next day. He made it but said he never wants to go that route again.

The isolation is what makes this part so alluring to explore and enjoy. We did not encounter any traffic on the route. In fact the rangers from the park and the people from the research station said they haven't seen people for months Bikes are only seen once or twice a year.
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Old 02-12-2014, 12:35 PM   #186
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We were seeing forward to Ethiopia and some Injera and beers, but for now we still had to get out of Turkana and to Omarate, the first town in Ethiopia. Little did we know we would get a load more adventure for the day.


Early wake up call. Since we did not know what the days riding had in store for us.
The coffee was brewing while we packed up the tent and stretchers. We weren't talking much both of us were busy with our own thoughts as the days riding were still going to be on the difficult side of interesting.


This part from Koobi to Elliret is not used by people and only the occasional traveller use this route.

The first piece out of Koobi Fora is sand and with the bikes warmed up, we stormed into the sandy field next to the sand road. Soooorrrrryyy *Kenia for riding off the road in your game park and buggering up the veld but it’s either that or we would have struggled through the sand till mid-morning.


The morning sky is beautiful, at least it was overcast and made the riding more pleasant.

By now it became quite a lot of fun riding the rocky roads, skills got sharpened up in a jiffy, progress were good and we were in good spirit chasing down some of the dry pans that formed next to the lake. The bikes were keeping up well, and for once when they had to work and not drop us they came through.



The GPS shows small turns and curves on the track in Tracks4Africa, those are the places we knew we would be slowed down by rocky hills. *The big ‘baddy’ was an insignificant little curve on T4A. A few bikers in the past spend some time in the extreme heat trying to get over with loaded bikes, nearly killing themselves in the process.



Riding this terrain for the last few days taught us it will only be a short piece and should bottom out in the valley where the rocky road would be easier to ride. There were a few more but we cleared them quickly. As we got closer to Illiret the terrain and road turned into a great little rolling double track that was banked enough to carry some speed through the corners. Zebra’s and some other big buck were trotting away as we past them.


The terrain switched between rocky patches and sand tracks, keeping us focused




And then some flat open spaces again.

In Illeret we signed out at the local police station and headed off to Omarate, 60km away. God knows how de hell people make a living here and from what. The people and police are extremely friendly, even escorted us to the closest cold drink.


There's many dry river crossings on the way to Elliret.



About 20km away, when a guy came out of a small building waving his arms, we had to stop again. Initially we decided to ignore him but he made such an effort to stop us we rode into the fenced off area he was standing.


Last view of Lake Turkana. The Turquoise colours is stunning.

He made it clear to us he is the local police officer, certainly not dressed like one, and he must see our passports before going into Ethiopia. I passed our passport over to him and he started to flip the pages which to me seems like he knew what he was looking for. After a minute or so it became apparent the guy can’t read or do not really understand English.


Some of the steep down hills are better walking the bike down than dropping it on rocks.

I quickly showed him look here and here and here and this is it and cheers we must be going there are beers in Omarate with our names on. A waste of time, but with a smile on our faces and him very grateful for the quick lesson we were on our way once again.


Done it! Sibiloi is now behind us
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Old 02-13-2014, 11:29 PM   #187
Thomas B.
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Hi Michnus,
Thanks alot for this beautiful report. Brings back good memories. We took this route in 1999 from north to south. Sandra and me did quite well having 145 liters of fuel on our bikes when we started off. But an english guy travelling with us fell into a coma for around 24 h due to exhaustion and dehydration. We had him flown down to Nairobi.
Was a challenge, specially the big rock stuff, but I loved it.
Keep up the good work.
I just saw that you have the ATG saddle bags. How do you like them so far? Anything negative? Can´t find any prices on their homepage. Would you tell me the costs? Thanks.
Cheers Thomas

Thomas B. screwed with this post 02-13-2014 at 11:50 PM
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Old 02-14-2014, 12:54 PM   #188
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Great read and piccies

Could not sleep and spent several hours reading this one. Gives a real feeling for Africa.
Thanks.
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Old 02-17-2014, 10:18 AM   #189
michnus OP
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Originally Posted by Thomas B. View Post
Hi Michnus,
Thanks alot for this beautiful report. Brings back good memories. We took this route in 1999 from north to south. Sandra and me did quite well having 145 liters of fuel on our bikes when we started off. But an english guy travelling with us fell into a coma for around 24 h due to exhaustion and dehydration. We had him flown down to Nairobi.
Was a challenge, specially the big rock stuff, but I loved it.
Keep up the good work.
I just saw that you have the ATG saddle bags. How do you like them so far? Anything negative? Can´t find any prices on their homepage. Would you tell me the costs? Thanks.
Cheers Thomas
Hi Thomas

The guy's name was not maybe Andrew? :)

Man, the saddlebags is actually my own design and we manufacture them. We are busy with version 2.0 now, just to upgrade some things. But the idea works stunning and the cross over straps really help making the bags stronger.
if ever you you want a set let me know will make a special plan for you.

Man you have some groovy cool ride reports! I enjoyed reading them.
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Old 02-17-2014, 10:25 AM   #190
michnus OP
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Crossing into Ethiopia


This is the official GPS border between Kenya and Ethiopia


Nearing Ethiopia the vultures were as plenty full as Pigeons in Cape town inner city.

In Ethiopia there was an early start to their rainy season and the only two big rivers we still had to cross, 25km before Omarate, were full flowing, we only figured that out later. The first one I walked and we managed to pushed the bikes through. By now it was midday and hell hot.


One horse town, the horse died and nobody can stop you if you decide to just pass them. It is suppose to be a police stop.

Around 5km away, as we came round a turn we found the second river. A big mother of a river, in full flood. From this side of the river it initially looked good for us, to at least be able to walk the bikes through. It was close to 500 meters wide and as precaution I walked the river first. I nearly got washed away by the force of the water on my way to the other side. The bad news was that the bank was washed away too deep for us to get the front wheel on the bank.


What a good laugh, she rode a hellova road and then dump the bike on a puddle!

We walked up and down the river to look for a better spot with no success. Second problem, we had only 5L water with us and weren't sure if we could wait for it out. As we stood there contemplating what to do next, a local came up to us on a pikipiki with an AK46 over his shoulder.


River in flood at Omarate, the first of two.

Quite a friendly chap, we tried to communicate with sign language and smiles as he did not understand any English. We gathered that he had to get to Omarate himself and that he is a policeman (the reason for the AK). He indicated to us that the river can take around 3 days to get low enough for us to pass, a problem for us with our little bit of water and food. He then suggested we follow him, he knew a round turn to Omarate.


The policeman in the back helped us to get a detour to Omarate



We looked at each other with very tired expressions but had no other choice. It meant riding back 20km and crossing the one river again then take a northerly direction towards Omarate. This confused the shit out of me, we had to cross these two rivers again, according to my map, and they flow into a bigger river that runs past Omarate. With the language problem I could not ask more questions and had to follow him in good faith.
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Old 02-17-2014, 11:32 AM   #191
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This RR pretty much is top notch!

Thanks for sharing!
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Old 02-19-2014, 12:23 PM   #192
Thomas B.
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Hi Michnus,
yes, his name was Andrew. How come you know?
And now I´m very curious!
That was 15 years ago.

Thanks for the information on the bags and thanks for the offer.
Keep making them better. I might need some in around a year.
And find a distributer in Switzerland. I always like to have things in my hands before I buy them.

Just wanted to have a price in order to know if I can put them on the list of "lets look at them more closely".

Glad you liked my reports. We try to get around as much as possible and are always looking for some offroad around the world.

See you somewhere.

Cheers Thomas
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Old 02-20-2014, 08:13 AM   #193
michnus OP
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Thomas this world is too small. If it is the same Andrew we talk about. He is now married to Tina and have 2 small girls. He worked in South Africa and when they had to go back to Eu drove their car to Eu. We met them in Addis and kept in contact and visited them last year in Bonn.

Not many do that route, so I guess stories would go around:)

The ugly mug carrying the plate.
We had a barbecue with all the travellers at Wim's Holland house in Addis Ethiopia
PS: Will send you a price or bring a set with next year when we go to Eu again. We are now making the next ones even stronger.

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Old 02-20-2014, 08:17 AM   #194
michnus OP
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Going into Ethiopia


Second river near Omarate in flood, I am the small figure in the distance.

He rode his little Yamaha off road bike like a real pro and we made good progress on the cattle tracks leading towards Omarate. It was evident that the locals used these tracks to get cattle and goods to and from the Omarate market.


Damn hot!

Around 17km before Omarate the man stopped and showed me his tank is empty. We still had no idea how to get to Omarate as these tracks were not on T4A and I could not leave the man there. I gave him my last 2L that were in our jerry cans and hoped for a few more litres in Omarate.


Many locals use this route with donkey-cards with no one single track.

The small town of Omarate is a busy little place with friendly people. We were greeted by the familiar “you, you, you…money, money” that all the other over landers warned us about. The locals directed us to the local immigration office and a small skinny man came over to greet us.


Uncle the Baboon, a 3 year old local thinks I have just the type of hair for tasty ticks.


Ethiopia ended up being the mecca of punctures, we came in with one and we eventually left Ethiopia to Sudan on the border with a puncture. I can not remember how many but it was some 9 front on both and 6 or 7 on the back of both bikes.

He had to look in a book to see if he can find our names as we might have passed through there previously. It was an old accounting book he paged through, strange how they do things in Ethiopia, and what on earth would our names be in a book that looked like “my drag through the mud” homework book in pre school.


Omarate hotel, five star eco living, with complementary condoms on the floor

He then stamped our passports with a stamp that could only go to 2010, and then changed the 0 to a 1 with a pen in our passports. We objected as police or other officials were going to give us loads of shit when they see the date have been changed with a pen. He laughed and assured us it would be no problem and in any case the entire Ethiopia is on some old time format and not on the time format the rest of the world use, it is 2003 in Ethiopia now and they do not care what’s on the passport. *Well, we can’t argue with that logic and in any case you talk to much, where’s the beer?

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Old 02-20-2014, 02:08 PM   #195
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I am jumping ahead from page 8, did you find an explanation for this? and Thank you for making my world a little bigger... and more interesting. And thank you for all the time you have invested into this RR

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