Things are different in Kenya. The road turned to dirt and we have to bike on the left hand side. We are called mzungus instead of ferengis. There are cooler animals! People speak English, don’t throw stones, and don’t care to to watch us at camp as intently as Ethiopians. No more perimeter fences, no more toilet tents (and no local audience when I go to the toilet!). Kenya is also less populated than Ethiopia, so there are fewer people in general.
We biked through the lava rock desert called Dida Galgalu this week. It was mostly just us out there in wilderness passing through a few villages. There is a big road construction project to pave the road from the border (Moyale) to Marsabit, but only small sections are currently paved. Most of the vehicles and people we saw were the road crews. My most exciting animal sighting was a road kill hyena. It was huge and scary. Some people who rode by quickly thought it was a donkey.
On our first full day in Kenya back on the dirt about 8 people took falls off their bikes. A couple people cut up their faces and one guy broke his pinky finger. I heard that there hasn’t been a Tour d’Afrique without a broke bone yet. If we can get by with just a broken pinky, I’ll be happy. Riding a non-suspension bike is hard in these sections. My arms, elbows, wrists, and hands are sore from all the vibrations.
There was a lot of talk and scouting done concerning our first two days in Kenya. Northern Kenya is currently having tribal conflicts and our group wants to stay out of the cross-fire. The tour director went ahead to discuss with the police and other overland tour companies about the situation. Two nights before we arrived in Moyale there was a gun battle between tribes there. Kenya sent 300 military men to Moyale in response… So now the area is extra safe for us to bike through. The fighting also happens at night and is between tribes, not directed at us.