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ExploringRTW
11-03-07, 06:13
Sorry guys, there are no pic's in this one due to a faulty DVD...

After our time on safari we took a couple of days to recover from the early mornings and to get the washing completed. With us all clean and ready to go we headed off, somehow, even though we were organised, we left late and it was a fast dash to the border and onward to Nairobi. Fortunately the roads were pretty good and we could hold 70-80 miles an hour for most of the day, the downside was we couldnít really enjoy the scenery as much as we wanted.

We made the Tanzanian border pretty quickly and whilst we were sorting out the carnets and passports we met some Belgian bikers going south. They had come across Sudan and said that the road north of Khartoum was bad and recommended we put the bikes on a train to the border at Wadi Halfa and also there had been a lot of rain in northern Kenya and they had put their bikes on a 6 wheel drive truck as the road was so muddy. They also told us that the truck was having problems on the road as well!

Tanzanian customs cleared in just a few minutes and over the boader to Kenya. The carnets cleared pretty quickly but we had to by a road tax for the bikes and also a visa at immigration.
The dollars seemed to disappear fast. We were also being hassled by very persistent street sellers who would leave Ďfreeí gifts on your bike even though you had said no a thousand times, so we were both getting a bit stroppy.
To compound this an insurance salesman was insisting we needed insurance to ride but the guy in immigration said we didnít so I went back to customs to confirm and insurance was required! So we gladly left the throng of sellers to the insurance office. Once inside, and the prices quoted, we were back into haggle-land and after 10 minutes the prices were dropped and we bought the insurance!
Finally we could get going again.

The roads were pretty good and generally uneventful apart from a couple of camels wandering along the road. It was dark by the time we got close to our planned rest point a place called Jungle Junction. We had been told it isnít obvious to find but we had put the coordinates into the GPS and found it after a couple of attempts.

As soon as we arrived we were met by Diane who welcomed us and we found a place to pitch the tents. We also recognised a French couple Chris, Magdeline and their daughter Louisa who we had met in Arusha.
We pitched the tents and sorted ourselves out just in time as the heavens opened.

We had a quick tour by another Chris who was the owner and broke into a couple of beers!
The discussions over the beers soon broke into obtaining visaís. Ethiopia was fairly easy but Sudan was a problem. It could take a week or several weeks, it just depended upon the secretary in the Sudanese Embassy! The same was for the embassy in Adis Ababa.
We were in a big dilemma as we had flights booked to return home to the UK on the 18 December so over the next couple of days we spent a lot of time on the internet researching the different options including shipping the bikes Egypt and we would fly direct to Egypt. But the shipping costs were huge and after trying a number of options we had to put this on the back burner.
As we looked into this more and discussed with other travellers who had arrived at the site during our stay who had come from the north (Martin, Stephan, Sasha and Rebecca) that we would only have two days contingency if we rode up to meet our flight to the UK!
And every day and most of the night in Nairobi it rained which wasnít going to help our journey.

Things were not looking good but I found a reference in Chris Scottís motorcycle handbook of someone who had shipped their bikes from Mombassa to Mumbai. So a quick check on the internet I found a company that shipped and I dropped an e-mail to them.

Returning to the camp from a day of internet work, we saw two F650ís with UK plates. The bikes looked familiar but I couldnít work it out. Mike got there first, they were Sandyís and Paulís bikes who we had completed the BMW off road course with back in March 2005! I had e-mailed them a while back about meeting up with them in South Africa (their final destination) but at the time they were still in Poland!
So it was time for a couple of beers and story swapping.

At the camp some of the other travellers were still persevering with the visaís and progress was being made slowly but it wasnít inspiring us.
The next day at the internet cafť we had a response from the shipping line who said that they could ship the bikes. The price was very good. So we spent some time chewing this over as this was a radical change to our plans and we would miss out the Middle East and Pakistan. In the end we decided to go for it providing the brokers were trustworthy. So we made arrangements to meet the brokers but we had to ride down to Mombassa to do this.

The next day was spent servicing the bikes for a trip to Mombassa and hopefully shipping them to Mumbai. It turned out to be a full day. We both had niggly problems to sort out and it didnít help that my sump nut had rounded off!
The bikes sorted all our gear cleaned and dried from the constant Kenyan rain, we headed off for Mombassa. The roads were fairly good at the start but we travelled from one storm to another. It was so wet we had to wear the rain proof over suits but it was also still warm so we were cooking!

All was going well until about 35 km from Mombassa where the road disappeared into dust! The road was being reconstructed but everyone was redirected onto a rough dusty mud based road. The driving was not good and both of us had Mexican standoff with on coming vehicles overtaking on our side of the road!
We finally made it to Mombassa in one piece and the temperature was much hotter than Nairobi. We found the hotel recommended by Chris and settled down for the night.

The next morning we were up and off to the brokers. When we arrived we were warmly greeted and within an hour and a half the brokerage this side was arranged (the broker came to meet us at their offices)! and they kindly offered to store our bikes at their offices to minimise our costs! The premises were guarded by armed guards!
In the afternoon we brought the bikes over to their offices, finished packing as much as we could and brought the shippers some presents for helping us so much and for making the process so easy for us.

By late afternoon we were at Mombassa train station and on the overnight train to take us back to Nairobi.
We had booked a first class carriage and although it was now OK it would have been very good a few years back!
Dinner was served in the dining car and it seemed strange at the time but the staff put a number of battery powered lights up on the racks even though the train had its own lights! As the journey went on it became apparent! The train lights slowly dimmed to nothing!
We had a good evening chatting to a couple of Russians who had been working for the UN in the Congo! We retired fairly late and the train rumbled on through the night.
We woke in the morning still a long way from Nairobi and the train was travelling very slowly and eventually ground to a halt. We were stationary all through breakfast and were told that there was a de-railed goods train ahead and that we would have to go back for a while were mini buses would take us on to Nairobi. We were both disappointed as we were looking forward to seeing some the Kenyan countryside from the train. The mini buses were cramped and hot but we arrived at Nairobi three hours late and took a taxi back to Jungle Junction.

As we arrived we saw another familiar bike, Daveís F650. We had gone our separate ways in Tanzania and we hadnít expected to see him again. So out with the beers again to catch up.

We spend most of the next day completing admin bits before catching our plane to Cairo.

John