Day 131 Kenya : Ilheret - Sibiloi National Park

Day 131 Kenya

Trip Distance 92 km (57 m) Total Distance 15192 km (9442 m)
Road Condition 100% off road    
Time to travel 3.5 hrs    
Sibiloi National Park
Koobi Fora (Research Centre) N3 56.877 E36 11.179 KSH1000 - Windy, windy, windy, VERY windy with clean toilets and great showers fed from the lake - cool but not cold

We woke up at around 1:30am with wind howling viciously around us.  The gusts we estimated to be blowing at least 50mph at this stage.  According to Trevor when I finally managed to wake him up, the roof tent being battered by the wind, was able to withstand a Force gale.  Truly, what I will believe at 1:30 in the morning!!!!  A sleepless 3 hours later, when the gusts were at about 70mph and the roof tent visibly bending under the onslaught, I woke Trevor up and demanded that we pack the roof tent up.  He finally agreed, realising that to leave it up in this weather would be folly.  Of course the result of packing the roof tent up meant sleeping in the seats in the cab - not a very comfortable solution but the only one available to us.  We've since talked over the issue of not having anywhere secure to sleep but in the whole trip so far, we've only had to de-camp once so it really hasn't been a big issue.  Perhaps this will raise it's head once more in another country or another part of the world but for the moment, we're happy.

Once we were in the cab, despite the howling wind and less comfortable sleeping position, we managed to grab another 3 hours sleep.  We woke up at 7:30am to still howling winds battering the car and rocking it from side to side and visibility down to about 20m.  Not good when we had plans to drive into the Sibiloi National Park and besides, the camp at the police station was very exposed and extremely bleak.  We all wanted to leave.

The local policemen said that we should wait until 9am when the wind was sure to die down.  So with a couple of hours of waiting ahead of us, Anja set about making coffee and porridge in Willy as they have a stove inside the back well protected from the wind and weather.  With a bowl of steaming hot jungle oats sprinkled with muesli and honey under our belts (I have to mention at this stage that we have all progressively become completely addicted to porridge for breakfast) we all felt loads better and the world looked a little rosier - although with the amount of sand in our eyes from the wind, it should've looked Sahara Sand colour!!

We waited till about 8:30am before the wind started to slow down ever so slightly and after a quick chat to ensure that Iain was happy to ride in it, we set off for our next destination.  With a howling wind in our faces and soft, fine sand under our tyres we made slow time for the first hour or so towards Sibiloi National Park.  Once we passed what we thought was the line into Sibiloi a_P1000470 , the wind was starting to slow down a little and with the sun shining, the visibility cleared and our journey became a bit easier. 

The drive through Sibiloi was quite something as Gemsbok chased down the cars and bikes and leapt across the road directly in front of Iain. a_IMG_1276 

Eventually just after lunchtime we arrived at Koobi Fora, the park research station used as a campsite.  The wind was still blowing as we parked up (well, Iain did get just a tad stuck in the soft sand a_IMG_1285) and settled in for the rest of the day.

Lunch was had in the shade a_RIMG1551 and we relaxed, swam and chased birds for the rest of the afternoon as the wind started to pick up again. 

Later as darkness fell, I prepared some supper and at the same time, decided that we needed some comfort food.  So bread it was.  Iain was fascinated that bread could be baked in a pot over a fire - we were so far removed from ovens, electricity and a controlled environment we expect for baking and cooking.  2 hours later once we'd finished supper, I baked the now-risen bread in the pot over the kitchen fire whilst outside a family of gennets wandered around amongst the crab-spiders and scorpions.  Everyone's surprise was genuine when the perfectly-baked bread (I was not happy as the top crust was a dark caramelised brown....) came out of the pot but, as it was for breakfast, it remained as a centre table ornament for a time!

As the wind was reaching fever-pitch, we decided that sleeping in the car tents was not an option, so we opted instead to sleep in the relative shelter of the research station office.  We got out our mattresses from the tent and by stringing up a mosquito net, safely blocked off access to not only flying but most (not the very determined ones, of course) crawling insects and spiders as well.  Anja and Jorg strung up hammocks on the 2nd side of the verandah whilst Iain pitched his tent on the 3rd side facing the lake.

Other than moving our mattress once to a more sheltered spot out of the screaming wind around midnight, we all managed to get some sleep.