Wednesday 12th January 2000
Leaving Marsabit early, I was allowed through the police check-point without a guard, and so continued back to Isiolo. Amazingly, the new U-bolts snapped after just 50 km, and so I had o continue with a chain holding the springs to the axle - but it actually worked fine, and got me back to South Africa.
I continued through Isiolo, and reached Mt Kenya by evening, camping in a very pleasant campsite at the Timau River lodge.
Thursday 13th January 2000
I continued through to Arusha without incident, or seeing any new notable species.
Friday 14th January 2000
I tried to obtain more money using a credit card, but failed here, so again realized I had a cash shortage. Since I had enough money to fill up the tanks, I just hoped I could get to Iringa, and fall on the mercy of Dave Moyer - if he was there.
En route I finally found Grasshopper Buzzard, a species which I had expected to see easily in Ethiopia. By dusk I had reached Iringa, and reckoned I was totally out of fuel. My luck was in, and Dave very kindly lent me a considerable sum of money, which was enough to cover my petrol costs right down to Lusaka, where I knew I could buy petrol with a credit card.
Saturday 15th January 2000
I fill up with fuel in Iringa, and drive on the Zambian border, and then head south. I camped beside the road just before reaching Mpika, because there are no campsites in the area.
Sunday 16th January 2000
Continuing on, I fill up with petrol to discover that I have been tricked again. Zambian petrol has increased by approximately 50% in the two months since I drive north. Yet again, I am short of cash. So I drive as far as I know I can reach, and stay the night in a hotel in Kabwe.
Monday 17th January 2000
As soon as the bank opens, I get cash with my credit card, pay the hotel and fill up with fuel. I then drive on through Lusaka, and on to the Zimbabwean border. I reach Chinhoyi by late afternoon, and decide to spoil myself on my last day of holiday, and stay in the Orange Grove Motel rather than camping there.
Tuesday 18th January 2000
Setting off early in the morning, I pass through Harare by 08:00, and then … the engine starts misfiring- a spark plug lead has failed. Get a local mechanic to make me up a temporary one, and I am on my way again. By now it is into the fourth day of heavy rains (it has hardly stopped since reaching northern Zambia) and the rivers are all very full - I am used to seeing them dry. I can imagine how bad it must have been after the February floods.
I reach the South African border at about 16:00, and am amazed to find an elephant quietly roaming around the truck parking area just next to the border post. After crossing through the South African side, I think I have finally made it back - except that I suffer the indignity of having a flat tyre just as I pull out of the border post. I finally reach home at 01:00 the next morning.
Of course, given my luck, that wasn't the end of it. The next day the Landrover refused to move - the gearbox selector had jammed, and I had to remove the floor to fix it.
More seriously (as far as I was concerned) was that the ankle I had twisted on my second day in Ethiopia started to swell up once I was back at work and sitting "inactively" at my desk. Taking it to the doctor caused some amusement from him, but none from me after the X-rays - I had broken one of the bones, and although it had repaired OK, I now had to have it bandaged up, and rest it for 3 months. Thank God I didn't realize that when I did it!
An Ethiopian trip: 27/11/1999 to 17/01/2000Giles Mulholland 31 January 2000