An absolute highlight, this route. The most interesting, fascinating area I visited in Africa! Along Lake Turkana and in the lower Omo Valley there are lots of traditionally living tribes. A true highlight to meet these interesting and friendly people. The ride is brutal with lots of sand but a unique experience.
Along the 81km between Kainuk and Likochar, bandits are often a problem. Inquire with the police what the current situation is. Many shepherds are armed with Kalashnikovs. The same goes for the no-mans-land at the border.
It is a good idea to get some Ethiopian money in Nairobi already. Although technically not possible you should be able to exchange some with a shop owner at the Ethiopian/Somali quarter Eastleigh in Nairobi. I would go there with a local. The first bank in Ethiopia is in Konso, the first ATM in Arba Minch. Cash dollars can always easily be exchanged but Kenyan Shilling get a bad exchange rate.
If you travel this route in the opposite direction it is a good idea to get some Shilling for Kenya in Addis already (difficult in Omorate).
While descending from Marich Pass the tarmac gives way to potholes and finally becomes a dirt road. Just before and after Lodwar there is some more tarmac. Along Lake Turkana it is a sandy track. I probably spent about a third of the time during the three days between Kalokol and Omorate pushing the bike through the soft sand. Once in Ethiopia it is quite a good dirt road until you reach the tarmac in Key Afar.
See roadbook. There are some missions along the route where you can stay.
Along the lake there are many small Turkana villages where you can get water and buy sodas but not much else. At some of the missions you can also eat.
There is no Immigration on the Kenyan side, so you will leave the country without an exit stamp. If you want one, get it in Nairobi. The immigration in Ethiopia is in Omorate.
If you travel this route in the opposite direction you can get your entry stamp for Kenya in Eldoret (N0° 31.393' E35° 16.581').
In the past it was often almost impossible to get an Ethiopian Visa in Nairobi. In 2013 is was no problem if you could prove to have been in Africa for quite some time and therefore were not able to apply for the visa at home. Best is to prepare a list with all the visited countries and the corresponding pages with the visa and stamps in your passport.
The embassy is quite easy to find and you can walk there from the center. Address: State House Avenue.
You need to bring:
- 1 passport photo
- 1 copy of your passport
- list of visited countries (helpfull)
- 20US$ (to be paid at a nearby bank)
- On your vis application you have to name a hotel in Ethiopia (with telephone number!)
The visa is issued on the spot. If you ask kindly and the women has a good day, you may get 90 days, otherwise it is 30 days that start immediately.
If you plan to continue to Sudan after Ethiopia you should get that visa also in Nairobi. You will need a letter of recommendation of your own embassy.
- 2 passport photos
- 1 copy of passport
- copy of your bank cards
- letter of recommendation
- 5000 Ksh
Apply in the morning (9:30-12:00) then you can pick up the visa the following morning.
Address of the embassy: Kabarnet Road. Take Matatu #111 from the train station along Ngong Road as far as to the Yaya shopping center.
You get a 60 days visa valid for 2 month, meaning that you have 2 month time to enter the country and then can stay for 60 days.