The Last Frontier

I crossed over to Kenya today after spending the night on the bank of the Nile as it leaves Lake Victoria. I wrote in my journal that it was a pretty smooth border crossing, and it was, by my new recalibrated sense.
To put some perspective on it, and to show how much my calibration has changed, a few more details. As I approached the border about 2km out the traffic was stationary the whole road solid with trucks. I skipped into the oncoming lane, switched on my headlights and cruised along on the wrong side of the road, twice I had to duck into petrol stations, once into the ditch, and a couple of times crawled past as trucks and tankers came the other way.
Once I got to the border I had to ignore the people telling me to go to the Kenya side for the one-stop process, as I had to get my carnet stamped before leaving Uganda, thankfully I had done my research and found the elusive office of the Carnet lady, who ignored me for a few minutes but eventually did stamp the Carnet. I ducked about 10 persistant touts on the way in and picked one to change my money.
On the other side I was supposed to pay the road tax by mPesa on the phone, which of course I cannot do, so we danced around it for a bit and then the customs guy took my cash and paid it for me. Getting out of the customs area meant more driving round truck traffic jams, leaving by the entry gate instead of the departure gate.
I spotted a phone shop to buy a SIM, the manager came out and suggested I drive down the bank and over a of ditch so I was parked across his door so that his guard could keep an eye on my truck. Finally I found a bank with a secure car park and was able to get some local cash, on the way out the road was good, ie it had only occasional 6 inch deep potholes that would take a wheel off if you hit them at speed.
To get to my camp for the evening I have to negotiate a steep track in low ratio
In my diary that rates “smooth crossing and easy drive to Kismu, nice view over Lake Victoria”
This is a milestone as it is the last frontier I have to cross. Due to the war in Sudan and a change in importation laws for Ethiopia I cannot drive up to Egypt as I had hoped so this trip will end in Mombasa on the 19th when Nelson goes in a container and I fly home…
I navigate the horrible traffic of Kampala thanks to some good tips from my hosts and end up camped on the banks of the Nile
Sunset view from the bar of the campsite
On the way to the border the road runs along the edge of Lake Victoria people busy with the rice crop in the fields
When I get closer to the border I am faced with a solid line of trucks for 2km, into the oncoming lane it is then, headlights on and ready to duck out of the way when the trucks come the other way
When I get closer to the border I am faced with a solid line of trucks for 2km, into the oncoming lane it is then, headlights on and ready to duck out of the way when the trucks come the other way
Getting into the border post meant going in the “out” gate, and the reverse on the exit, its the only way around the solid line of trucks
Once clear of the border I go looking for a Safaricom shop, the manager suggests I bring the truck closer so I negoiated the water filled ditch and steep slope from the main road
Tools are out as I spotted a small leak from my gearbox oil cooler, it took half a bottle to top up but that should do me to Mombasa, the damage report list for repair back in Scotland is growing, but nothing critical that cannot be managed
a steep downhill road to my campsite for the evening, even in Kenya once you are off the main roads you are on mud and stone

About Gerry Mulligan

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