North To Ethiopia
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999 Days Around Africa: The Road Chose Me
I leave Loiyangalani early in the morning, and immediately can see the difference in the road. It’s much smaller and less traveled, and I get the feeling very few vehicles venture in this direction.
The hours roll on and the road surface continually changes from rock to sand and even with the occasional mud section. The landscape is extremely barren, and I’m not at all surprised when I see camels wandering around searching for what food they can find.
In the scorching 100F heat I stop for lunch under the shade of a rare tree, and push on to the entrance gate of the extremely remote Sibiloi National Park. This park is famously known as the Cradle of Humanity, and it was on the shores of Lake Turkana where the oldest human remains ever to be discovered where unearthed – commonly known as Lucy.
The rangers working at the entrance gate explain they are lucky to see one lone vehicle per day, and can sometimes go a week without a single vehicle passing. After paying the entrance fee for myself and the Jeep, I continue North, into what is now clearly even more remote and barren landscape. Absolutely nobody lives in the park, and with only one vehicle per day passing, it’s unlikely I will see a single soul while I’m here.
I’m a little torn about going straight North through the middle of the park or cutting West to the lake shore, and eventually settle on the Northern Route. After only ten miles it’s extremely clear this route is never used, and I find myself in low range first with both diff locks engaged to pass one particularly sticky mud section. All the rivers are dry, though the crossings are at least a hundred yards wide and cut very deep into the rocky landscape.
At one huge crossing I loose the track, and after walking around for forty minutes searching I start to lose the light to another approaching storm. I make camp on the bluff above the riverbed and am treated to a stunning display of clouds and distant storms, though I only get a few drops of rain.
The solitude is enormous out here.