If not Kili, then it must be Mt. Kenya. I am heading straight for the mountain after the border. Up to 2000m I can cycle. There I soon find a guide that accompanies my for the next days. The mountain lies only a few kilometers south of the equator and so the scenery is very divers. First we have to cross a dense rain forest, followed by a moor. After that it is like a walk through a botanical garden. Lots of aloe-type plants, some several meters high are all along the way up to way over 4000m. Right below the impressive summit rocks I camp for the second night. Soon it starts to snow quite heavily until everything is white!
Next morning we start at 4 in the middle of a starry night. For most of the way to the summit we walk now on snow. Unfortunately the clouds come soon and when we reach the summit of Lenana Peak (4985m) just after 6 there is no sight of the sunrise. But it is -10ºC cold and everything is covered with ice. During the descent I can every now and then get glimpses of the impressive rock faces through the mist. I talk my guide into walking back down to Naru Moru all the way the same day (2600m vertical descent). After that I am quite certain he is not going back on tour for the next days…
If I had the choice, I would make I wide circle around Nairobi (also called Nairobbry because of its doubful reputation). But I need a spare part and so I head into town anyway. The ride is not even that bad after all. The roads are so wide (12 lanes) that I always have enough space. Fortunately I find the urgently needed cassette and soon I am on my way out of town again. As relatively nice the ride into town was, as terrible is the one out of town. In a long climb the road heads north into the low clouds until visibility is almost zero. The road is nothing but a collection of potholes. From all the passing vehicles I get splashed with dirt. When I can finally leave the main road after 30km I am done in.
Hell's Gate is another game park, where I am allowed in by bicycle. But I almost see more giraffes and zebras on the way around Lake Naivasha right after the park. That I am now at the equator I would not have guessed by the climate: In the west of Kenya on the way to Lake Viktoria I cycle at an altitude of 2000-2500m with cool temperatures. Kenya is after India ind Sri Lanka the third biggest producer of tea and here I cycle along seemingly endless tea plantations towards Lake Viktoria and the border to Uganda.
Back in Kenya I head to Eldoret. A town lying at a pleasant altitude of 2100m. The locals proudly call their town the City of Champions, because it is home to so many kenyan world class runners.
I can stay with a kenyan family, the parents of friends. I can also park my bicycle here for the next days, as I have to go back to Nairobi one more time.
Almost a week I stay in Nairobi. For 4 days I am busy walking all across town from one embassy to the other. When I finally have all my visa together I feel more exhausted then after a hard week on the bike…
While I am in town I can stay with friends and enjoy having a temporary home for a change.
Duncan, an english cyclist has been on my heels for month already. In Kitale we finally meet and decide to continue together to the north. He is only half my age (!) but we get well along together and both enjoy having company for a change. At first we cycle over the Marich Pass before the long descent to Lake Turkana starts. There is a lot of forest and beautiful mountains around here. Somewhere in the descent the potholes get bigger and the road finally turns into a dirt road. Suddenly I see behind me a truck coming at full speed towards me. Then everything goes black.
When I sit up in the dust I can just see how the truck accelerates and vanishes at full speed around the next corner. This idiot has simply run me over. When I grab with my hands the back of my hurting head I realize there is blood all over. Soon some motorcyclists have stopped and help us. In 20km there is a hospital that I reach on the back of a motorcycle taxi. There my head wound is quickly stitched. The doctor hands my some antibiotics and painkillers and finally asks for 2$ for the whole procedure.
Next day I inspect the damage on my bicycle. Miraculously the back wheel and the frame are totally undamaged. The whole force of the impact seems to have been absorbed by my rear rack which is now totally crushed. But I can quickly repair that. My first aid kit which is an extremely robust box is totally crushed as if it had been run over be a tank. But otherwise everything is intact and I start to realize just how much luck I have just had. After 2 rest days I feel good to continue cycling.
In Kainuk we head straight to the police post where they warmly welcome us and let us camp on the compound. Our main concern is the security situation on the road. The next 80km pass through an area where bandits are often a problem. According to the police there has not been an incident for a while and we decide to cycle. The following day we meet every now and then shepherds begging for water and food. Not easy to refuse when they all carry a Kalashnikov! But they are always friendly and we never feel threatened. In a little village we stop for lunch and eat chapati. The scene in front of the restaurant is unbelievable. Dozens of kids, women wearing so many necklaces you can hardly see their neck anymore, men covered in colorful fabrics and wearing a funny little hut with a feather. Both groups, we the mzungus and the locals seem equally fascinated by each other and for quite a while we just watch each other.
When we reach Lake Turkana we have dropped to only 400m and the landscape has turned into a desert. The temperatures have risen to over 40º and after noon it is just too hot to be in the sun. From here on, a sandy track leads along the lake to the north. Because of the expected head we start the next morning in the dark with our flashlights on. For 3 day we cycle on this track, maybe spending about a third of the time actually pushing the bike through the deep soft sand. The ride is very tough but equally fascinating. We pass countless small settlements that consist only of very simple huts. In one village we ride onto the school yard. Instantly we are surrounded be hundreds of kids. Soon they all start singing and dancing around us. We can only continue after the teacher has ordered them back to school.
The number of traditionally living tribes here in the north of Kenya and the neighboring Omo vally is unique in the whole of Africa. It is by far the most interesting corner of Africa that I have been to so far. Many of those tribes have conflicts with each other. Mostly it is about grazing grounds, cattle and water. Many of the shepherds walk around armed with kalashnikovs. Along the lake there are some missions where we can stay for the night.