Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Rogue Elephant and Hillman Imp reproduction

This was the painting that started it all, it probably dates back to around 1964, when Rootes Car Co wanted it as a calender page.

The picture now has become true, the JoLon Imp has done the drive from Johannesburg to Coventry in the UK, five weeks, one Imp, two guys and three continents but they made it!

Note, of the small amount of re issues made, its fourteen? four copies are now in South Africa.


Charlies Auto Fitment Center

On monday Jean and myself called on Charlie to have new tyres fitted on our VW Polo, the company has now expanded enough to take the much larger premises next door.

Charlie on his new and larger drive way, more parking means more space for more customers.

Charlies wife is now in the reception area and made us very welcome.

I have known Charlie for many years and since I started using the services of one of the countries main tyre and exhaust fitment centers.

Then just over a year ago, Charlie decided to go it alone, think about this, the world is in decline work wise, yet Charlie puts up what ever was in the bank and goes it alone!

The workshops are compact, yet the space is fully utilised, a wheel alignment bay is to the left, then three car lifts which you can see in this picture.

Charlie stands next to my Ford Bantam 1600i, the service was all wheels to be balanced.
Job done and I was on my way in very little time.


Towbars, Tyres, Shocks, Suspension, Exhaust, Wheel Alignment, plus general Auto Repairs, they will collect and deliver also.

Unit 5, Nautilus Street, Paarden Eiland, Cape Town, 7405.

Phone 021 510-6807  Cell 079 179 7319


Monday, 6 May 2013

Rouge Elephant and a Hillman Imp painting

For well over two years I have been working behind the scenes to find out if the un signed painting I had a copy of was painted by David Shepherd.

Its a very very long story and will not be told today but David did paint the painting and had agreed to signing twelve copies, they are numbered also.

All pre sold and in secret, only Richard Sozanski of the Imp Club and myself had the full story.

Today two of the twelve were gifted the those amazing drivers of the JoLon Imp, now in Coventry, England and after driving through Africa to achieve the IMProbable.

Click to view in a larger size.

The award took place today at the hosting rugby club in Coventry.

To the left is Richard, then Terence, Geoff and the club chairman, Graham in the black tee shirt.

Terence said when he heard the Name David Shepherd a shiver went through
his body as he remembered seeing two pics of David's in the bank where he
once worked.

Ill sort some more pics  out very soon  (just arrived and will be posted on this blog in the morning)


While the arrival was emotional, it was nothing compared to the speech later on, not a dry eye in the Clubhouse

Two amazing guys and one great little car!

A trip to remember.


JoLon Imp drives from Johannesburg to Coventry

This sounded like some sort of a crazy idea, some said Terence needed his head read?


They arrived in Coventry, England at 7am South African time, which is 6am UK time.

1 Imp, 2 Guys & 3 Continents

May 6, 2013 We’ve done it! Johannesburg to Coventry with our Hillman Imp.

This just goes to show that ANYTHING can be achieved if you put your mind to it!

Thanks to all of you who supported Geoff and I achieve this milestone!

Terence (yes a very tired Terence but a HUGELY HAPPY Terence!

Final Push to Coventry!

May 4, 2013 To our family and friends who have offered Geoff and I support during this very challenging trip (Moral, Technical & Financial) we want to thank you all very much indeed. Without your support we would have been lost for sure.

Furthermore, the good people of Egypt, Turkey, Bulgaria ,Romania and the countries west of them wish also to thank you for the help because without it they would surely have been stuck with the two Imp characters and a very second hand Imp in their backyard somewhere.

This was at 6.20am UK time this morning and at the rugby club just outside Coventry.
The Imp Club held their Go Imp 50 event there over the past four days.


we have just had a quick burger just outside Vienna and will now make a final push to drive through the night to make as much of the Imp 50 Convention as possible. Wish us good luck.

Terence & Geoff

Bahir Dar to Wad Medini and beyond

May 2, 2013

It was always a big ask, seven odd hundred kilos in a slow car with a border exit from Ethiopia and an entrance to Sudan. we always had a big reservation about the Sudan part of our journey. seems we had to dance through many more hoops to acquire our visas for Sudan more than any other country and then we had the complication of the exit of Sudan via the Wade Halfa ferry for passengers and the separate barge for the car. we soldiered on nonetheless.

In searing heat we arrived in reasonable time to the Ethiopian exit border to Sudan at precisely 14h00. we know this because we were promptly informed that the customs officials had just commenced their lunch break and would be back at six. back at SIX, that’s crazy we thought. but it was not quite as bad as this, because the Ethiopians have an odd way of read the clock. In fact it was only one hour we had to wait in unbearable heat parked at the border boom gate that was nothing more than a dirty rope dangling between two loosely, barely standing wooden poles.

Of course we were permanently surrounded by the YOU YOU YOU brigade all wanting to sell us something or change Birr to Sudanese Pounds or help us with immigration. we never tired of saying “NO THANK YOU’ but let it be known we must have had to repeat ourselves every two or three minutes for the full duration of the sixty minute wait. Geoff at one stage thought he heard someone scratching with some of the kit on our roof rack. it was not a person but the 20litre plastic drum of fuel about to explode. it had swelled up to such an extent that it was groaning out of its tied owns and if he hadn’t spotted this we would surely have had a huge problem to say the least. We very quickly decanted it into the main fuel tank of the car and it was unbelievable how hot the fuel actually felt. I wonder just how close to its flashpoint it was.

In spite of the blistering heat i decided to break the monotony of the wait by organising two nice hot Ethiopian Chai for Geoff and I. It was served in a quaint little pot and consumed out of tiny handleless cups. It tasted nice and certainly gave us something to pass the time with. Sitting with some of the guys in the Chai shop was a rather interesting little interlude trying to make conversation with a mixture of /Arabic, English and Ethiopian.

Another casualty of the searing heat were our coffee and sugar containers. they were unceremoniously shrivelled up by the sun to make them totally useless. Serves us right for putting them on the roof rack in any event.

So the guys from Sudan were not to be outdone! what happened here was having the misfortune of landing up with an official who was clueless with how to deal with a carnet du passage for our car papers. Not only did it take him over one hour to actually complete the necessary paperwork. in fact part of the paperwork because as we were to establish on our attempted exit from Sudan not all of it was complete and we we at serious risk of having to drive back the 1,500 kilos form Wadi Halfa to Wad Medini to have the correct papers redone but a for phone calls of confirmation and a few hours of sweating bullets in Wadi Halfa a few days later the matter was resolved. ONCE AGAIN, NOT OUR FAULT! All our paperwork was sharp but yet another incompetent official could easily have properly scuppered out trip! what he did however was delay our trip solidly by at least one hour more than was necessary.

We were now so late that we could not even take our good friend and brilliant back home trip advisor’s advice to sample the excellent chicken kebabs on our way to Wad Medeni. We knew that we would arrive in Wad late, very late in fact and by the time we rocked up at the Wad Medeni International Hotel it was well after midnight. No worries, we were tough and we knew the trip from Addis to Wadi Halfa was going to be a real challenge but absolutely necessary due to our delays in Kenya. so 2,300 kilos in three days was going have to be done by hook or by crook.

At about 21h00 while still en route to Wad Medeni we pulled off the road and cooked up a thumping good dinner to at least keep our corporal side strong and well sated, climbed back into the cabbie and hit the road again.

A cold shower (thank God it was cold because to the unbelievable heat in Sudan) a massively noisy fan above our beds and an equally noisy aircon unit was not enough to keep us from sleep, we were wrecked exhausted.

At 05h30 next morning we dragged ourselves out of bed and back to the car.

it was only two hundred kilos to Khartoum but we decided to get in super early so that we could get hold of Waleed to get our tickets fro the Wadi Halfa ferry sorted before we headed back to Wadi. into the rather busy road to Khartoum we launched ourselves and all was trucking fine until at one of the police check points we tried to stop as normal but i found the clutch was not properly disengaging! My mouth went dry, and my stomach churned! All of a sudden Geoff’s words of the previous evening rang loud in my memory; “I’m battling to get 1st gear” he had said!. This did not feel good. so having brought the car to a stop by killing the engine for the police check and slipping it into first gear before starting and when given the all clear by the cop we ran it straight of in first off the key, luckily it started.

we pulled immediately into a gas station that was one of the only places around with any shelter from the blazing sun to examine the problem. We desperately hoped it was a slave cylinder problem and we furiously bled it and even removed it and were almost disappointed to find that the slave seemed perfect. the gas station started to put pressure on us to move as we were now starting to interfere with their business with our tools and bits and pieces spread around us on their forecourt. So we had to pack up and head out in the traffic towards the capital city of Sudan with getting gears almost impossible. In fact it had gotten much worse since we had stopped at the police check.

Geoff heard it before me, the release bearing was making a horrible noise so i realised there would be absolutely no more stopping unless we were actually forced to. Well forced to we were every now and then but we tried to gauge the traffic flow to minimise these full stops. Because each full stop was surely causing the problem to deteriorate and we ran the risk of being stuck out on the road with no shelter from the blazing sun and no-one to help us.

we still had about 180 Kilometres to go! It was sweating bullets all the way to Khartoum and as luck would have it every cop in Khartoum pulled us out of the traffic to verify our papers. By yet another miracle of this trip we made it to the Blue Nile Yacht Club and within minutes of our arrival Geoff selected a massive tree that offered perfect shade as our home for the next two engine changes, (more about that later!)

We texted Waleed to help us to get the paperwork started for the Wadi Halfa Ferry and barge to get us from Sudan to Egypt but he never responded. But without a car we needed not a ferry nor a barge. so we immediately got to graft on removing the engine to establish the nature of our problem. it did not take too long but it took litres and litres of sweat from both of us and this job was tackled with us having neither had breakfast not lunch. I for one was weak with hunger but knew we just had to press on or get stuck in Sudan for one week longer at least.

with the engine removed we found the release bearing hanging by one spring and the pressure plate had one finger broken as well as the centre ring completely ripped away from the centre of the pressure plate. add to this the clutch worn down to the rivets. as luck would have it, we did bring a new clutch with us AS WELL AS A PRESSURE PLATE!so within no time the new kit was in place and then turned our attention to the release bearing with only one spring to hold it in place! Well true to form Terence panicked and decided to run around town in the vai hope that he would find one of these Hillman Imp release bearing springs while MacGyver Geoff scratched around the yacht club until he found some bullwire.

Having found a friendly motorbike owner who said he knew town, Terence went about searching for the proverbial needle in the Khartoum haystack! Miracles of miracles. both Terence and Geoff met with success; Terence did find one of these little curly wurly springs and on his return he found that Geoff had with pliers, vice grip hammer and bullwire had secured the release bearing so we had a brief happy moment of high fives but soon got back to work since we still needed to get the engine back in, tested and then still do our ticket paperwork for Wadi Halfa.

So on we ploughed and had the engine back in in good time. with the car still up on the trestles we decided to run it through the gears to make sure all was in order. ALL WAS OUT OF ORDER!!! inexplicably the rhs doughnut was broken in six pieces!!!! I have never heard of such a break and doubt if anybody has actually witnessed such a break. Now I ask you with tears in my eyes, how were we able to drive this car with a bust pressure plate AND a rubber doughnut that was in six pieces.

we believe that the doughnut was probably damaged by the strap that had become entangled on the half shaft (that’s the strap we had put in place to help us through the heavy towing of the Moyale Mud road) and as much as it caused the damage to the doughnut it might have also held it together long enough for us to actually drive it at all! well whatever the explanation, we had no option but to remove the errant doughnut and the strap as well.

We all know that hard work was never easy and i certainly did not cherish the prospect of fitting a second hand doughnut without the bracing strap. well hard work was made easy by MacGyver Geoff who yet again managed to get the doughnut sorted in absolute no time. with all the bolts properly tightened and everything in place it was time for Geoff to test drive and around the Blue Nile Yacht Club he spun and was quite happy with our handiwork. in fact not happy… ecstatic was the word.

Packing the tool kit away and back into our car and setting up our tent for the night and nicely cleaned up with a nice cool shower we were about to start preparing a good hearty dinner for surely we deserved it. TT I HAVE SOME VERY BAD BAD NEWS, Geoff sombrely said to me. Somehow i knew he was being serious. What i enquired! did you tighten the bolts on the pressure plate? No i said. Well neither did I was Geoff’s reply. This of course meant another engine removal to rectify this omission. In the meantime we had many onlookers who offered us help. “all the help we need is to be able to find USD for the payment of the boat in Wadi Halfi” Terence asked of the one onlooker. where is the closest ATM? You know with the sanctions against Sudan by the US we have no affiliation to either Mastercard or Visa so you will not be able to draw any cash through our banks here with your cards! how much will you need? and we told them it would be in the region of 300 US Dollars. Come and see me later was the response. WELL this friendly Samaritan as we call him handed us USD300.00 as a gesture of goodwill from the people of Sudan. he would NOT accept a cent in exchanged and Geoff and I were gobsmacked at this gesture. this covered three quarters of the cost of the Wadi ferry. We cannot believe the goodwill of certain human beings.

We mustered up all our reserves and immediately got stuck in and contacted a second fixer for the Wadi Halfa ferry and told him we would be delayed and only be able to see him much later in the evening. It was 23h00 when we managed to finish the second engine removal and refit. Tired but deep down super content we dragged ourselves to make a bit of supper, the first meal of the day, and we hit the sack with the plan to meet our ferry fixer at 08h00 next morning and then take on the 982 kilometres to Wadi Halfa.

Sleep came very easily!

Posted in Uncategorized
Leave a Comment »

Addis Ababa to Bahir Dar

May 2, 2013

“Hey Geoff, the Garmin is gone cuckoo again; its only five hundred clicks to Bahir yet the Garmin tells us that it should take us about 10 hours driving!” Doesn’t matter we are on the road nice and early in any case.

the first taste of what was to come was on the Ethiopian long distance runners’ training ground! as we climbed out of Addis, and I MEAN climbed, we saw countless guys running, obviously in serious training on these massive hills that very smartly reduced our tiny engine to very often 2nd gear and even 1st from time to time.

With an elevation of almost 3 kilometres above sea level it’s no wonder that the little 875cc mill battled to push our car up the seemingly endless hills. How those athletes managed to walk let alone run boggles the mind!

Just north of Addis the road levelled out, still might high but it levelled out and w were able to build up a reasonable head of steam. However this brought about a new headache! between 67 and 7 kilos per hour the speed wobble was unpleasant to say the least. It was also setting about loosening every suspect bolt or nut up front so we decided to examine what the wobble was being caused by. Out with the trolley jack up with the front and we quickly found our problem; the steering arm that we had replaced our Moyale road damaged one with had a seriously second-hand bush with more play in it than a lively four year old! what to do now? MacGyver Geoff to the rescue again. He handed me the original bent one and a hammer then sent me across the road in the direction of a massive rock. I didn’t give us much hope of straightening the steering arm with a small hammer and nothing with which to hold the steering arm firm. Well with your back against the wall certain impossible things becomes not possible but n fact easy! Whack. (sting my hand nicely) wallop, turn it around, another smack. Hey it seems to be working! it just might work, I’ll give it a bit more knockometer treatment. Guess what? in no time we had it straight enough to use again! So under old JoLon I head with my 19mm and 3/4 spanners and ripped out the offending bad bush steering arm and reunited the original one with the steering rack.

With the inevitable gallery of onlookers the task of wobble removal was completed and with Terence lying prostrate under Impi a massive off road motorbike with a couple of overlanders astride pulled up next to our car and immediately greeted us by name! IT WAS SALVATORE AND TARSIANA who we had shared accommodation with in Naibobberi! What a pleasure it was to see some fellow travellers and they too were headed to Bahir Dar and also found their Garmin info to be weird!

The time calculation was weird because of the Nile Valley!!!!! it dived two full kilometres down on the Addis side of the river and right back up the two kilos on the Bahir Side in the space of only twenty five or thirty clicks.

The going down was just tricky dodging some serious rock falls and nursing potentially overheating brakes but the return to three kilometres above sea level was too much for us to ask of the little Imp engine.

the problem that we encountered was the fact that our speed was so slow, of course only 1st gear, and a massively steep gradient to deal with, our radiator was not getting enough air through it to cool the engine so we eagle-eye watched the temp gauge and every now ant then we would look out the window to see where we were going then back to the gauge again. then when the sweat on my brow from the stress matched the rising temp needle i would pull over and let the fan continue running and the electric water pump to bring our baby down to normal again. Then with the gauges looking better we would rev the little thing hard again to get us mobile up the steep steep hill again. this we did some ten or fifteen times, never getting out of 1st gear.

Thankfully not many Ethiopian athletes were not on these hills for training for they would surely have embarrassed us by overtaking our Imp on the uphill as they ran through their training programmes.

My nerves go the better of me and I was too scared to hurt our little engine since it had done so well to bring us so far that i stopped it and flagged down a very heavily laden tipper truck and asked him for a tow to the hilltop. with a price agreed on we hooked on and followed our by now third saviour up the Rift Valley Gorge at no more than 8 kph and then we realised why the Garmin says allow a bit longer to get to Bahir. We took longer, in fact we arrived at the Bahir campsite of the Ghion Hotel at 21h45 and our planned departure for Wad Medini the next day was 07h30.

Not much shut eye but at least a hot shower and some grub was desperately needed and it hit the spot indeed.

Posted in Uncategorized
Leave a Comment »

Addis Ababa here we come!

April 30, 2013 \Thankfully the roads improved and the roadside dwelling multitudes diminished somewhat. The only spoiler on this rip was a policeman – fat, ugly and dirty – who tried to bully us into GIVING him our two safety reflective vests that we had slung over our seats. he even tried to tell us that our car was all broken (just because we had raised the back of our bonnet to allow for better cooling) but we stuck to our guns and eventually he realised we were not going to relent and he had no option but to let us go.

at yet another road block in a very strange and again filthy town a guy dressed in untidy civvies asked for our car papers and i showed him our carnet which he wanted to see it but i immediately got out of the car and asked him who he was and what authority he represented as i could see this NOBODY just taking our papers and vanishing off into the crowd never to be seen again. so i approached a nearby soldier who was actually laughing at this whole triad and in fact it seemed that this civvy oke was in fact the guy in charge of the whole gaggle of soldiers or police of customs officials or whatever the hell they were and in the final analysis all worked out fine and we were on our way again. Incidentally every now and then you travel through a different area of Ethiopia and these areas are controlled by these checkpoints that restrict one from passing through by a simple rope barrier. but based on the amount of firepower milling around these controls it would certainly be a folly to drive straight through, except for Chuck of course. Chuck Norris that is!

as we entered Addis being guided to a campsite mapped on our Garmin we we shock surprised to note the number plate of the Landrover in front of us showing that it was a New South Wales registered vehicle. I told Geoff to step on all of our tiny ponies and try to get alongside of them which he managed after about ten minutes in the horrible and heavy traffic that we were in and a quick chat through the windows and again we were traffic separated. a few minutes later to the consternation and noisy hooter blowing anger motorists behind us the Landie slowed and handed us a piece of paper with the coordinates of the place where they were staying. it took no time for us to redirect ourselves to the new spot and through the rain and terribly congested traffic we slowly crawled our way to Baro Pension where we then properly met with the Aussi Landie couple, Oliver and Lisa.

in fact interestingly a number of days earlier as i had been standing on the Moyale muddy road inspecting whether it would be ok for us to venture forth in out Imp this self same Landie came whizzing past and we shared big happy waves to each other never expecting ever to meet up again. another miracle on our travels had just unfolded in the thick traffic of Addis Ababa.

Having travelled through yet MORE rain in a country that i thought gets hardly ANY rain and with the prospect of more torrential downpours we had reservations about setting up camp at Baro and since we would be camping on the hard flagstones of the guest house parking we opted to spend the extra 10 dollars and take a room in the house.

Geoff wasted no time in showering off the dust of the tiring road trip and DRESSED SMART with his only short pants and tee shirt that wasn’t creased to go off and jump on the net with the free WiFi, Of course this together with copious cups of excellent Ethiopian coffee. we found accommodation and food prices here very bearable indeed and i even managed to put away a few good square meals to compensate for the forced starvation diet that we had endured on the road before Ethiopia.

our mission in Addis was to have our wheels balanced as the left rear had already buckled and since we had only set our wheel alignment by eye it was definitely still not correct. the other big job was to repair our roof rack. so we had grandiose visions of getting to a tyre fitment centre with spotlessly clean four poster lifts and while the car was up we could also cleanout all the mud and gravel that was still in the various nooks and crannies of our little chariot. well the surprise was not a pleasant one! not only did we battle to find this tyre fitment HEAVEN but in fact the only tyre place that could assist with our balancing and alignment was in a grid of the city that had no electricity nor was like to have electricity for days to come! So looking down the barrel we decided to try to find a place where we could have our legless roof rack welded so we could move kit back to the roof and be able to see out our windows again! it does help in the traffic of course. especially when you are driving around a strange city and driving on the WRONG side of the road at the same time!!!

the only problem with finding a welder in Addis of course is the fact that without electricity no welding will be possible. no worries, a very helpful Ethiopian invited us to follow him to a guy that could possibly help us. in no time he pulled up at a terribly unkempt street side garage that had an old early 60’s Beetle sitting in the corner full of dirt and grime, in another corner was a spot where electric motor winding was carried out, on the man floor was a half worked on Mazda and the sidewalk section had two combies being flatted down in preparation for spray painting. and everywhere you walked throughout this tiny totally disorganised workshop you were a few inches deep in mud as a result of the huge rains on the previous night.

notwithstanding the conditions and the lack of electricity, the owner listened to our requirements took a few minutes to assess what could and needed to be done and then went about gathering his accoutrements and got to work. within an hour this artisan had gone and braised our four legs back onto our roof rack and made it so damn strong that the rack will now probably outlive the actual car!

Posted in Uncategorized
1 Comment »

The Ethiopian journey begins.

April 29, 2013


you you you

for those of you you you who have been to Ethiopia will of course know exactly what i am referring to! yep good people, Ethiopia is blessed with a very large family; 78 million of them and i kid you not, most of these seemed to have lived on the road between Moyale and Awassa and every child and teenager and young adults would shout at us as we passed, YOU YOU YOU. till today we still do not know if it was an insult intended for us, a greeting, or a warning. based on the vehemence with which it was mostly bellowed at us i believe it would not have fallen into the category of ‘friendly greeting’. The YOU YOU YOU people also mostly had extended arms and upturned palms at the same time. Some however did not have open and upturned palms, those were the ones that chose to welcome us to their country by pelting rocks at our little car. We knew that this was an Ethiopian ;thing. so we never worried too much and even the Ethiopian who spat onto the windscreen of the Imp as we crawled through yet another massively overcrowded village we understood that this young adult who had not acquired common decency in his 20 or so years of living would not likely be taught much manners in a short dialogue with us. anyway he probably would not even speak English or French or Afrikaans or Zulu for that matter. If the truth be told, there were many times that Geoff wanted to EXPLAIN NICEKLY to these folk a thing or three using Afrikaans expletives. Glad he didn’t.

Almost as numerous as the multitudes of people were the horse and donkey carts. during our trip through the southern part of Ethiopia two people cam every close to their maker with the help of the front of our front bumper.

Just to give one an idea of just how many people live in Ethiopia; at one stage we wanted to pull off the road to reply to a call of nature so we drove to a spot where there were no people walking along the side of the road, WE MUST HAVE HAD TO DRIVE FOR ABOUT 150 kilos!!! Every step of the way on our way to Awassa there were people walking next to the road. either just going from here to there or trying to peddle some goods or fruit or whatever to passing motorists.

Back to the border. Remember we left Kenya through the most friendly and accommodating border officials that ever walked the Earth. now we arrive in Ethiopia, firstly to be irritated to distraction by ‘official’ helpers so called and flotillas of freelance money changers. “no we’re fine thank you was only an invitation for these rabble to insist even more intensely to the point that we wanted to punch someone’s lights out! When does NO mean YES???

We are too clever by now, seasoned travellers and WE’VE JUST CONQURED AFRICA’S WORST ROAD, a road so bad it could not be called a road. So we head in the direction of the Immigration office and the surly official there said,

‘come back one hour, lunch time”

So one hour later we return punctual as requested! Which hotel you staying in Ethiopia and what’s the telephone number? What a first class manner of making a tourist feel totally unwelcome! while our passports were reluctantly being processed the border office took great pleasure in telling tow German tourists that since they did not have the correct visas they would not be allowed through the border! Luckily we had heeded the good advice of our friend Arnold and got our Ethiopian visas before arriving t the border.

once, eventually, we got past the border we found a half decent hotel in the village and booked in to try to get ourselves semi back to normality after our ordeal on the Marsabit Moyale road including our previous night sleeping in the back of Brian’s cattle truck. the showers were cold which was just fine due to the extreme heat of the day and freshed up we decided to eat Ethiopian for our late lunch. well what a pleasant surprise. we so thoroughly enjoyed our lunch that we couldn’t wait to get hungry again. another plus was the fact that not only did we have electricity but we also had WIFI. so we were able to let the World know what our progress, albeit delayed progress, was and to let our families know that we were still alive even though we had been through the infamous bandit country of north Kenya. We even treated our car to a car wash. notwithstanding that we had to draw the water from a well on the hotel’s property.

With our blogsite updated, Car nicely cleaned and our tummies filled AGAIN with a tasty dinner we headed off to an early sleep along with about one MILLION mozzies, yoh!

Our plan; get up 04h30 to head off early to arrive in Awassa by lunchtime or mid afternoon at the latest. this went the shape of a frot pear very early on in the day’s proceeding! Some completely inconsiderate individual just parked their bakkie right behind us and blocked the exit from the hotel parking. it now took us about twenty minutes for the security guard to rouse this illegal parker and get him to remove his vehicle. we need not have bothered to rush in any event… as we progressed up the village to get to the road to Awassa we were confronted firstly by some of the worst potholes we had encountered on our journey so far but we guessed it must just be on the way out of the border town as all the reports were that the road to Awassa was FANTASTIC! well we cold not get on to this FANTASTIC road because we were confronted with a police road block – that only opened at 06h00 – So we had now one full hour to sit and watch in the pre-dawn darkness a troop of about 12 soldiers/police get themselves ready for the duties of the day. their first duty of course was to open up the gate out of Moyale for us to be able to head north. Once again we were robbed of one hour’s drive time due to CONTROLS!

at least the road to Awassa is near perfect we consoled ourselves and we would easily make up the time! NOT TRUE! the road had almost 100 kilometres of gravel road just as bad as the Marsabit to Moyale road except this was dry so although rough it was manageable, but NOT enjoyable! Probably worse, far worse in fact was the stretches of good tar surface.1 Reason being that one gets lulled into a false sense of comfort and with the little Imp barrelling away at between eighty and ninety all or a sardine you get introduced to the foundations of the previously tar surface and the wheels tumble straight into the massive unavoidable cavernous craters in the middle of the road. ! how our suspension and tyres stood up to this new punishment is truly amazing! i believe the solid advice of our good friend and great travel advisor Roger Pearce of the Randburg based EmGee Workshop to put industrial tyres on the Imp paid dividends in these conditions.

so from what we expected to be quite an enjoyable and relatively easy drive turned out to be a seriously stressful and challenging journey that saw us deal with desperate road surfaces, millions of people all across the roads, endless and over crowded villages that seemed to be queued up one after the other all along the road from just outside Moyale right up to the entrance to Awassa.

a shock to us was the absolute filth of the country and people just chucking rubbish on the roadside in the vain hope that when they would bring another load the next day or week the previous would have mysteriously vanished! Not likely! it was then not surprising to have seen a dead hyena in a street of one of the small towns we travelled through! and why a hyena would be fond wandering around a build up area! well we know that hyenas love filth and dirt.

we arrived in Awassa just as darkness fell; another tough day behind the wheel!

Posted in Uncategorized

Unbelievable Hospitality from Kenyan Police

April 29, 2013

It would be remiss on me not to highlight the kindness that we were shown at the Turbi police station. Arrived as we did with our ailing car towed to the police compound, we were immediately made to feel like welcome guests that were very quickly made into friends.

At this particular stage of the voyage our minds were in complete spins with a badly damaged car, impassable roads, the worst rains in Kenyan recorded history and a very tight timeframe to get to Coventry for the Imp gathering. Within minutes of our arrival the police that were off duty but living in the little huts on the police compound were tripping over each other in assisting us in our endeavours to get our car sorted. one went off to buy cool drinks and mineral waters for us, another organised a 20 litre drum of rainwater for us to use in cleaning the mud off our car and yet another said he would get some food prepared for us to eat dinner with them.

As we manfully toiled on our car repair and drank gallons of the cool drinks and water in the searing heat we were all the time checked in on by the various members of the police to ensure we had all we needed. John the chief of the station late joined us and insisted on us accepting yet another 20 litre drum of rainwater for our exclusive use which we duly used to wash our by now mud caked filthy clothes.

Now 20 litres of rainwater in just that, 20 litres of rainwater; but bear in mind this little settlement sees rain once or twice every five years or so. therefore this rainwater is delivered to Turbi by truck AND SOLD TO THE TURBI PEOPLE FOR 20 US dollars a pop!!!

with the car suspension sorted we set up camp next to John’s hut and washed out clothes and hung them out to dry on the cloths line just behind our tent. it took only a few hours and each and every item of our washing was bone dry again. it was quite strange to have been held prisoner in this tiny village on Kenya by serious flooding yet there was not a drop of water to be had in the entire place.

We left Turbi with very fond memories of a superb team of people of the Police station of Turbi and if anyone reading this blog intends ever to travel past Turbi in the near or distant future and if you could spare the time to stop for ten minutes and stretch your legs, please do us one tiny favour; pop up to the police station and give them a few bottles of water and a bag of rice. i know its not much but if many people do this, then the guys in blue there will have a nice little collection over time. its just our way of saying a massive THANK YOU to the Turbi police who were to us modern day saviours.

Posted in Uncategorized
1 Comment »

Older Entries »


» About


» Uncategorized (128)