Day 133 Kenya : Loiyagalani - Baragoi

Day 133 Kenya

Trip Distance 145 km (90 m) Total Distance 15556 km (9668 m)
Road Condition 100% off road    
Time to travel 6.5 hrs    
Stopover
Baragoi
Wild camp N1 44.699 E36 52.258 Just passed airstrip and next to a dry dam - wonderful!

Wake up call this morning was at 4:30am when an Italian tour group operator walked through the resort banging a pot to wake up his 2 guests.  Aaaaaaaaaaarrrrrghhh!  How inconsiderate and what a complete twit.  Surely a knock on 2 doors would have worked?  After rising in bed like Frankenstein, hearts hammering, we lay back down but sleep was hard to come by after that.  We all dozed fitfully till about 6:30am and slowly started to make our appearance.

Finally we decided to have some breakfast.  We had a few eggs left and a packet of bacon - just what tired, jaded travellers need!  But we didn't have enough eggs for everyone so Iain went out to forage.  Back he came with enough eggs for 4 people but as he preferred porridge anyway, I made 2 different breakfasts. With dishes washed we pottered around getting the vehicles ready.  In the meantime, we thought that Iain, with only 15l of fuel left, was off hunting for some petrol as we had seen a shop selling some that we passed by yesterday.  The plan was to leave Loiyagalani, cross over to Laisamis to avoid the bandits on the road to Baragoi, fill up in Archers Post and then continue to Nairobi.  This route would also mean that we would meet up with the main road A1 to Nairobi a lot sooner.  Is wasn't to be.  Iain had missed the opportunity to fill up, relying instead on having been told that there was possibly fuel in South Horr.  We had also used more diesel than we had anticipated getting to Loiyangalani but Jorg and Anja offered to give us some if we needed it in order to get to Archers Post.  We were right on the limit of emptying our tank to get there.

As we left Loiyagalani on another C road, the surface was punishing - a mixture of corrugations, potholes and stone and gravel.  If we weren't racing ahead, we were slipping on gravel or falling in potholes that continued for an unrelenting 60kms a_P1000484 .  At South Horr, we passed through the town and the most we were able to buy were some warm cokes. a_RIMG1560 (Trevor sheltering on top of Sully waiting for Iain to bring the full 20l petrol canister back).  But even the priest didn't have any petrol.  Some advice for anyone attempting to drive through Africa - when in Africa, if the opportunity presents itself, take it.  So with only 5l left in his tank we were forced to change our plans and head for Baragoi.  With local talk of bandits on that road and having been told to avoid it, particularly the stretch to Maralal, we were understandably upset.  But with little choice left other than letting Iain go off on his own, we changed plans and headed south for Baragoi. 

The road conditions were a little better than the first awful stretch from Loiyagalani but still difficult.  The scenery was great however as we dropped into the valley to approach Baragoi.  a_SG105010

Once we were in the town we found one of the 2 garages so that Iain could fill up.  As we were there, we all took the opportunity to get some diesel as well.  We had managed to use up all our Kenyan Shillings so only had US$ to spend.  I went and had a quick and friendly chat to the lady owner and after some negotiation managed to agree on a reasonable exchange rate to pay her in green backs. 

As it was Baragoi's day without electricity, the pump attendants worked hard to manually wind the handle to pump some fuel. a_P1000492 (Trevor out of harms way on the top of Sully again!).  Feeling a little sorry for them, we decided to take only 50l.  As the last 2l went into the tank, we heard a whirring noise and a cheer arose from the gathered crowd - electricity!  So we asked for another 50l to be pumped, this time by the press on a trigger, into the main tank.  Whilst we were sorting out fuel another Land Rover pulled up to fill up.  Adrian got out and Trevor introduced himself.  It turned out that Adrian was camped outside of Baragoi doing some research with his team for the wind farm project he was managing.  They were surveying the land for suitability of pylons which would carry the wind-generator power to Kenya providing 30% of the total of Kenya's consumption.  He told Trevor where the camp was and invited us to camp close by as the area was lovely.  And safe.

Adrian left to go back to camp while we finished paying for the fuel.  Once we were done, we took off to follow his directions and 12kms found the site.  It was as lovely as he had described and as the sun set we were called over to his camp to participate in the Kenya census.  So for the rest of time we will appear in the 2009 Kenyan census as 5 travellers in Baragoi :o)

The boys set about lighting a massive fire and we prepared supper having invited Adrian to join us.  It was a light meal of spaghetti with olive oil, garlic and chillie served with a salad.  Once the dishes had been done, we sat around the fire sipping coffee with whiskey, chatting about inconsequential things as 2 donkeys (subsequently named Donkey 1, the female, and Donkey 2, the male with a nose ring) hovered around the camp fire.