Monday, June 20, 2011


Daryll writes:

The traffic entering Nairobi was horrendous.  We arrived on a Saturday afternoon thinking that there won’t be as much traffic as compared to a weekday, but we were wrong.  There was mini-bus taxis trying to cut us off, motorcycle taxis trying to squeeze into every gap possible and will pass us on the right when we were trying to turn right.  The dust in the city was unbearable.  I had my visor open so that I could get some air flow on my face as we crawled along in traffic, but instead of getting some cool air, all I got was a mouthful of dust.  Several of the roads were under construction and the detours were actually a dusty gravel side road.  Thank god for the GPS and it pointed us in the right direction to Jungle Junction, a must stopover for all overlanders.

Chris the owner used to be a troubleshooting mechanic for BMW Motorcycles and lived in Nairobi before deciding to go on his own and open a hostel/camping/workshop of his own in one of the nicer suburbs of the city.  He also stores vehicles for travelers that have returned home before continuing their trip.  The yard was filled with some very expensive toys.



We also met up with Tom, Pat & Chris who had arrived a few days earlier and were having Chris look at a few items on their bikes.  Our time in Nairobi was purely business as well.  We needed to get our visa for the Sudan before we could move on.  Dom on the other hand was making arrangements to have his bike flown home as Nairobi was the end of his trip. 

Even though Nairobi has a bad reputation and has been nick-named “Night-Robbery”, there is a lot of money in this city.  We walked to the nearby mall and it seemed as if we were back home complete with a Walmart owned chain supermarket and a food court.  There are also a lot of expats that live here and you know when labor is cheap when you see all the expats being driven around.

After saying a sad farewell to Dom the night before, we set off early in the morning to try and avoid the traffic congestion to get out of the city.  It wasn’t that bad after all, but our early start hadn’t been a good idea after all.  As we climbed out of Nairobi, we road into a cloud of thick fog.  My visor was misting up badly and I was forced to open it, but I could only have it open for a minute before I had to close it again because the cold air against my eyes caused them to tear.  I couldn’t see after all.  As the sun burnt the fog off, the road heading west was one of the worst paved roads so far.  Combined with the heat and the heavy trucks that use this route, the road had formed troughs in each lane the size of car tires.  These troughs were fine when we had an open road in front of us as we could just sit in them and ride along comfortably.  It got tricky though when we came up on an 18 wheeler semi or a slower moving vehicle and needed to pass.  We had to slow the bike down, so much so that our passing vehicle got further away from us, then gently ride out of the trough, speed up to pass the vehicle and then immediately brake to slow down again so that we could gently go back into the trough.  Very tricky around corners.

As soon as we crossed into Uganda, we left the southern hemisphere and crossed into the northern hemisphere, but that did last long as we crossed back into the southern hemisphere the very next day.  The last time we had crossed the Equator was back in Ecuador. 


We skipped Kampala as we heard that the traffic here was worse than Nairobi.  We were able to find a ring road that by-passed Kampala completely and were quiet happy with the few extra kilometers that it took us.  I couldn’t bear sitting in congestion, breathing in buckets of dust in this heat.  Yes, it was getting warm again.  The main reason to come to Uganda was to see the mountain gorillas and as we hadn’t pre-arranged permits, we made our way to another well known overlander stopover – Lake Buyoni Overland Camp to see if someone could help us get some permits.   We asked around the campsite and were in luck when the reception guy found 2 permits for a days time.  We were off to see the Mountain Gorillas of Uganda.

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  1. K do you realize I was at that exact spot at the equator in Uganda. I warmed it up for you guys! Things are going well for me feeling much better. I have some great news to tell you! But I will wait till we can skype.

    Love you guys

  2. are you going to leave us in suspense?