Reaching Kenya after having driven through Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia really is a wonderful moment. Before crossing the border, there is nearly every square metre inhabited and wherever you stop (even if you want to go "behind the bush"!), you will not have even a minute of solitude. In addition to that, the road conditions on the road between Awassa and Yabello were quite "different" (it actually remembered us on the essay on the "African Pothole" written by Kingsley Holgate). Actually, we leave Ethiopia quite stressed and are more than looking forward to new adventures in Kenya and further down south in Africa.
Directly on the Kenyan side of the border a completely different lifestyle begins: people are extremely relaxed, friendly and also very helpful (i.e. the lady at the immigration office who fills in immigration forms for me just to speed up the process - there is nobody else there, so she just does it for me!) ...
Then, you for the first time after Sudan, drive through a more or less isolated, wild and impressive landscape, people wave at you instead of begging for "Money money money!" and for the first time you feel you are in the "Africa" you know from movies and books. "Australian Outback" was our first impression of the green and red landscape under a blue blue sky. Where have all the people gone so suddenly???
The road between Moyale and Isiolo, once one of the overlander's nightmares, now is tarred to a high percentage and traveling on it really is not problem at all anymore (here is our blog post on this road). There is a high army presence in the area to make sure that Al Shabaab and other Muslim fundamentalists are not able to continue terrorising both locals and travellers. As after Marsabit, we experience unexpected heavy rainfalls and 30 km of thick fog around Mount Kenya, we decide to move on to "Jungle Junction" in Nairobi, maybe the first overlander's hubb after northern Africa. Alltogether it takes us 11 hours of nearly non-stop driving. It is really impressive how relaxed our kids are when we have to drive for such a very long time. We listen to music together or to audiobooks, sometimes they are allowed to watch a children's movie on the i-pad or they simply dream into the landscape. Great kids we have!
Jungle Junction, which we reach at 11 o'clock at night, is a very convenient place, as this is a "real" campsite with restaurant, laundry service, a really fast internet connection, lots of toys for kids, cold beer, hot showers, a proper workshop where you can service your car (or have it serviced) et cetera ... something every overlander looks forward to after long days of driving through northern Africa. Only maybe the pool is missing here!
And then when you go to one of the shopping malls in Nairobi, culture shock strikes! Juliane, coming from the eastern part of Germany, feels like it was when the Berlin Wall came down and she was in a west German supermarket for the first time. I feel more reminded of the USA. Here, behind the well-guarded gates, you can get everything, French cheese, South African red wine, even German Nutella or Kinderschokolade (Sóley's favourite). Fasting season is over now for the 4-wheel-nomads ...
As our friend Sam Watson from (then) Cairo had established some contact with the Kenyan Land Rover club "Bundu Rovers" for us, we meet this funny group of great people and go camping in the Ngong Hills with them.
The party sitting around the campfire is as colorful as Kenya is: some people are of Arab family background, some are deeply rooted in Africa since time began, there is the Australian volunteer who fell in love with Kenya and decided to stay, there are Christians and Muslims, old and young, well off and "middle class" Kenyans ... even people who don't own a Land Rover at all. What a wonderful and relaxed mixture! A dj plays reggae music and hip hop ... As everybody has brought their families, the children play outside and are with us until the very end of the party. We feel so very much at home here and really enjoy our time with the "Bundus". It is great to meet the locals and we make a lot of new friends this evening. Africa definitely has taken over and we are deeply infected by it's virus!