Day 132 Kenya : Sibiloi National Park - Loiyangalani

Day 132 Kenya

Trip Distance 219 km (136 m) Total Distance 15411 km (9578 m)
Road Condition 100% off road    
Time to travel 8 hrs    
Stopover
Loiyangalani
Palm Shade Resort N2 45.377 E36 43.252 KSH1500 - Long drop loo, lovely shower from hot spring, rustic rondavel not worth money

Breakfast was indeed comforting!!  Coffee and homemade bread with butter, jam and, for the weird ones amongst us (me!), marmite.  Iain was still talking about the bread from a pot on a fire and those thoughts were to bat around his head for a couple of days.

After breakfast we set off again and drove away from the research station on route to exit the park.  We passed a few more herds of animals and at the south gate paid our US$20 each (KSH300 for each vehicle) for having entered.  I can't say that the park was worth the US$20 and wouldn't visit it specially unless it was to do the route into Kenya again. 

So we pushed on again and 7kms after exiting decided to stop for a spot of lunch.  Jorg pointed out that there was water dripping form under Sully.  Yes, just the airconditioner but Trevor stuck his head under the car just to make sure.  And there it was.  A dreaded thick spray of dark oil spread across the suspension arms and surrounding engine.  Noooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo a_P1000476.  Out came the Land Rover manual, up went the bonnet and a long discussion ensued.  Trevor eventually worked out after cleaning up the mess, that it had originated from the vacuum pump - a notoriously common failure in the TD4s (Puma).  Well, we had a spare and a spare gasket and as the engine management hadn't indicated a failure and all brakes were working perfectly, we decided to press on but to continue to check it for further failures at regular intervals.  Turns out that it was a one-off failure and hasn't happened since but we are waiting..............watch this space.

After some lunch we started off again and this time with the use of paper maps and a little intuition (the road doesn't appear in our version of T4A) found the road that shortcuts across the Chalbi Desert from Hurran Hurra village just before North Horr to meet up with the C77.  With only fuel in the main tank left, the indicator dropping quite steeply and needing to do at least another 400km before a fuel stop, we decided to switch off the airconditioning.  A good call as we could conserve at least 15% of our consumption but with a desert to traverse it turned out to be a tad warm :o) So on with the story....  As the road so far had been slow going alternating between soft sand and barren stone which almost resembled moon scapes, we thought that a road with a name was sure to be a little better.  We found the short cut after going passed it once.  Iain, driving up front, had missed it because it was just a little-use track.  As that is what we had been travelling on for the last 2 days now, we weren't phased. 

Driving on this track was a little more difficult as we went from barren moon scape made up of smallish stones and gravel Stone road  to crossing what looked like rivers of boulders up to 3km wide and having to engage low range to let Sully climb through them herself.  The environment was now even drier and more desolate but surprisingly wildly beautiful. Sometimes the road was 2m below the surface of the surrounding land and the depth of the river of boulders revealed itself.

We were somewhat crestfallen to find that a C road in Kenya just means that it is a road that has been given a name!!  The surface was as bad as anything we had driven earlier.  As the sun was setting we spotted our first view of Lake Turkana since we had left it behind in Sibiloi earlier in the day.  We entered Loiyagalani and here again another frontier town but with slightly more to it.  Several resorts (and I use this term loosely!! only because this is what they call themselves) have sprung up along with a few stalls and a fuel store.  We decided after an almost 9 hour day, and with the wind still blowing, to check into a room for the night.  Adam, a motorcyclist who we had bumped into in Sibiloi, he going north and us south, had recommended the Palm Shade so we pulled in there for the night.  Bed was a wooden frame screwed to the floor covered with a thin mattress and a single threadbare sheet all enclosed in a banda - a sort of rondavel with thatched roof and the gaps in the walls between the sticks covered with cloths (Kenyan curtains) to provide some measure of privacy.  Having to pay KSH1500 for a double room in this condition is not impressive but if you're tired enough, anything is good enough!

The kitchen was another banda with a fire in the centre which we used to make a huge pot of Chilli con carne and rice.  But the showers were wonderful.  Although they were incredibly basic and not the cleanest, the water was tapped from the hot spring and after a dirty, dusty ride through the desert, was a fantastic treat for all of us.  After dinner and a couple of cold beers (hooray!) we set off for our bandas and prepared for a (hopefully) restful night.