Friday, 22 January 2010

More thoughts on ... A Gentle Drive to Kenya

A gentle drive from home in the UK, through Europe, Asia, and some of Africa to home in Kenya, a total of about 6,500 miles.

I slept on this and I am still enthusiastic, although I can see a myriad of problems. Still, it would be no fun without problems.

First off, I need to choose a vehicle. I have decided that I should not spend more than £3,000 (not that I have £3,000 at the moment), which limits the newness.
It needs to be 4WD with hi-lo and probably diff.lock
It needs to be diesel, as I would like to use bio-diesel which I would make on the way.
So what are the options?
  • Toyota HiLux - very difficult to find a good one. they are too popular
  • Toyota Surf - ditto for models with the 2.8 litre engine
  • Toyota Landcruiser - too heavy, fuel consumption too high
  • Isuzu Trooper - fuel consumption is high, but this is one strong vehicle
  • Land Rover 110 - I am told they break easily and the diesels are underpowered
  • Discovery - Hmmm, nice, but a good one is expensive
  • Range Rover - thirsty
  • Mitsubishi Pajero/Shogun - with the right engine, this could be the one.
The route

I reckon the first leg across Europe (Calais to Ankara) should take about 5 days, allowing 8 hours driving a day. Of course, with an enthusiastic co-pilot/navigator, this time could be halved and that knocks almost 3,000 miles off the total.

From there on, I do not know the state of roads etc. through Syria, Jordan or Israel to Egypt, across the Suez canal and down the west bank of the Red Sea, then to Aswan, Khartoum, Addis Ababa. But I am fairly sure that south of Addis, into Kenya, down to Marsabit the road is pretty awful, and I am not sure about the road to Nyeri and Nakuru either, but from there to Kericho and eventually Kisii, it is not too bad. Any advice on this would be appreciated.

Would it be better to go further west and into Uganda?

Duration? Well, if it takes 5 days to get to Ankara, which is less than half-way, and the roads deteriorate from there on, the second leg could take 10 to 15 days, assuming we hit no snags. Then there are the border crossing delays. I have read that these can take anything from 10 hours to 36 hours. Oh boy!

So, 25 days would be the target, from Highclere to Kisii. That's a long time to be in a vehicle.

We will need sponsorship, so NGOs and charities with ongoing projects on the route would need to be contacted. I will be doing a lot of filming on the journey, and could highlight work done.

We could do with a high-profile patron as well. Within a couple of miles of where I am sitting, I have Lord and Lady Carnarvon (Highclere Castle would be a fantastic starting point!), Andrew Lloyd Webber, Keith Chegwin, and there must be others. In the past Mick Jagger lived not far away and Rod Stewart nearly moved here, too.

There is a lot to think about, but I reckon it is feasible for an old(ish) mildly disabled, grumpy old man can do it.


Diane said...

it sounds like the beginnings of a great adventure to me. wonderful. how about taking someone who's got a bit of mechanical knowledge. I'd say that would be very valuable along the way

BabaMzungu said...

Early days yet, but a diesel mechanic would certainly be an asset!
But first, I must raise the cash, sponsorship and organise some sort of support along the way. Oh, and acquire a suitable vehicle! But the more I think about it, the more determined I am

Diane said...

I'm looking forward to reading all about it!

Richard Trillo said...

I'd choose a vehicle that's not to desirable and that you can sell again, and repair easily. An old Land Rover might be the safest option? The only bit of the whole trip that is dodgy (once you get to Egypt) is Moyale to Marsabit to Isiolo, which is often done in a convoy. Isiolo to Kisii is a day's drive, via Nanyuki, Nyahururu, Nakuru and Kericho.

Safari njema!


PS, if you didnt mind missing out Ethiopia, I think you can once again drive through Sudan from Khartoum to Juba (where was I reading about new roads south of Khartoum?) and then down to Loki, Lodwar, Kitale and Kisii. Or Juba to Kampala and then east.

BabaMzungu said...

Richard, thanks for your comments. The vehicle chose me - it belongs to a friend who will let me have it for far less than it is worth. I also know the history and have used it a lot.
Suffering from a damaged back, I have to be careful what I choose - an old Land Rover would cripple me before I got to Dover.
I was thinking about turning SW about 100 km before Moyale and taking the C77 through Kisima to Nakuru. Then I am home and dry.
Alternatively, make for Omorate, Illeret, and follow the east bank of Turkana, picking up the C77 on its SE edge.
I don't know if it is any safer, but I expect I will find out from bloggers and Twitterers.
I have a friend who is presently driving through Jordan and Syria from Aqaba. I await his report on how things went.
This is a crazy project - I have never driven further than the French Med from the UK, but then, that's half the fun, isn't it?