Soon we arrive at South Horr town. It’s surprisingly cool at this town. The town is located right on the slopes of Mount Ng’iro. Fun fact: There’s a lodge on Mount Ng’iro that charges about KES 100,000 a night. Seriously, look it up. Hint coming later in the story.

Getting into South Horr.

We take a short break here. I want to look for a place to eat, but Timam tells me that we should keep going and get our day’s meal at Loiyangalani, our destination. I get convinced, a decision I would later regret. I do better taking regular meals, as opposed to few large meals, and this taking of frequent meals becomes worthwhile in my subsequent trip to the area. (Read about that here, in fact I have a quick meal just a few kilometres from South Horr during that trip.) We go on towards Loiyangalani. It’s here we learn that we again lost the new road somewhere at Illaut. The new road does not go through South Horr, but directly towards Loiyangalani wind mills.

Always curious children everywhere. One little girl asked where I was from. She said she had been to Nairobi too.

We exit South Horr and head on towards Loiyangalani. It’s not as woody.

We see signs of tarmac… We know we are approaching the wind farm now. At some point we have come back to the new road.

See the windmills? They are so many, hills upon hills with them.

We stop for a photo op at this group of windmills that are nearest to the road. You can read more about the wind project here.

Satisfied, we roll on towards Loiyangalani. It’s about 30km to Loiyangalani, and we know the road won’t be good. The sun is also hot, and it adds to the fatigue.

Exiting the windmill farm.

We come over the brow of a hill, and suddenly we can see the lake!! Lake Turkana, people!! It’s exciting! We stop for a moment to soak in the sight. It feels so good to have rolled over all the landscapes, and to finally see the lake shimmering in the afternoon sun, beautifully punctuated by the hilly South Island.

Lake Turkana, and South Island.
The road becomes rocky. (We think this is bad, but after the stuff of the next days, this is a super highway!)
Road to Loiyangalani whipping over the hills and valleys, next to the lake.
Some sections of the road have concrete.
He says “Piga mawe polepole tu utafika.”

After what seems like ages and ages of riding, Loiyangalani town presents itself!! It’s a sight to behold, with all the little huts dotting the landscape.

Children are are always the first to excitedly approach. They immediately suggest hotels and attractions for us.
Men are always next to approach, sometimes chasing the children away and starting to ask unhelpful questions.

We do our best to gather valuable information from the gathering crowds. We need to fuel up. We need a place to stay. We are informed of a fuel shop a little distance away. Everyone seems to agree that Palm Shade is a good place to stay, so Palm Shade it is.

At the fuel shop, you can’t just say “Fill ‘er up!” You have to say how many litres you want. There’s no fuel pump. The fuel is brought out of the depths of the mabati house in varying plastic containers, depending on how many litres you have ordered. There’s no guarantee you won’t get even a litre less than what you have ordered. We are hoping the fuel is not too adulterated, as to affect our bikes’ running. We fill up our tanks. We will have to carry extra fuel for our next leg, but we can sort that out tomorrow. Tomorrow is rest day, touring Loiyangalani and visiting the El Molo people.

The fuelling station.

We go to the lodge, and book a hut. It’s a small hut with two beds. It’s hot inside. I opt to set up my tent on the lawn outside, and use the hut for my luggage. Timam opts to sleep in the hut.

We feel fulfilled that evening. We are still apprehensive about the rest of the trip, but getting here is an achievement in itself. I don’t have any other shoes apart from my riding boots. I strip off my riding gear, and walk to the market, and get myself some light sandals. The lodge has a shower, bless the Mother of Mary! The food is also good. Fish and Ugali.

It’s a peaceful night (after the power generator is switched off) but I don’t really sleep well. It’s windy. The wind causes the tent to make lots of noises that keep me awake. The wind causes the palm trees to make lots of noises. But I do catch some sleep… Eventually.

Day 2 – 151km.

DAY 3 | El Molo tribe, Desert Museum

Behold the sunshine, it’s a beautiful morning! Today’s plan: relax, rest, take a chilled ride to visit the El Molo people. If they will welcome us. I toy with the idea of taking all our luggage and going to pitch camp for the night among the El Molo. But we really don’t know what kind of people they are. We don’t know if we shall be welcome. We have no idea how we shall be treated. So we leave most of our luggae at the lodge, and at about noon set off for the day’s mission.

Men seated under a large acacia. Seems to be the social hub of the town.
Wana swap?
Curious munchkins.
An adult shows up and starts chasing the kids away…
…then proceeds to be quite not helpful…
He claims to be a tour guide. He is trying to tell me the places he can take me to. He is a bit inebriated and largely incoherent. An incoherent tour guide… Brilliant!

A woman with short brown hair shows up. She is not wearing a hijab or burka.

“Take me with you,” she says.
“Where to?” I ask.
“Wherever you are going to…”
“Wueh! Hard small!” (That’s a Kenyan expression.)
“Take me!”
“Erm… I don’t think your husband would like that!”

She gets visibly angry. “Now you have given me a husband, eh?”

The kid is like WTF?
Dude interrupts the woman’s pitch with his, and it’s my turn to be like WTF?!

We are heading towards The Cradle of Mankind. WTF? stands for What The Fossil?

Timam shows up. Finally! But he has forgotten something and has to dash back to the lodge for it. We ride a short distance away from the crowd and he takes a right turn back to the lodge. I wait for him at the junction, and guess who shows up again?

Timam arrives.
He has to dash back for something.
Insert eye roll…

I tell him, “Hey, I will talk to you when I come back. You told me your name is Marley, right? See? I still remember. Let’s talk in the evening.” He seems pleased that I remembered his name, but not for long…

One of the children around bursts into laughter. “His name is not Marley!”

“Marley” gets angry and starts chasing the children away. I tell him to stop. I like the children. “Let the little ones come to me…”

Timam shows up again and the marleydrama comes to an end… Thank God!! We begin our short ride. It’s less than 20km to the El Molo people’s villages.

Turkana Cultural Festival site to my left here.

We decide to check into The Desert Museum, which is on our way. We get some people there, who seem to have made it their home. They sleep right outside on the verandahs. They tell us that the guy in charge has left, but will be back soon. We tell them that we are going to visit the El Molo villages, and shall pass by on our way back. We then go on with our ride.

The Desert Museum is built in an arc, representing a section of a manyatta.
Leaving The Desert Museum.

I have left Timam behind again. He is always doing something on his phone. I reach a place with a track branching off to the left. I’m not sure whether to take it. I wait for a while, for both Timam, and a passerby who can give me info on this track. Timam shows up, and we take the plunge and follow the track.

As we clear the brow of a gentle hill, a settlement comes into sight. It’s a small village. It’s comprised of huts, and a few mabati roofed buildings. There are signs of some development here, as shown by a huge concrete water tank.

We have arrived at one of the El Molo Villages.

There’s a very colourful structure that stands out in the village, and it stands right in front of where the road into the village ends. We stop where the road ends and switch off our bikes…

It’s a bit scary. My heart is beating kinda fast. I’m not sure what is going to happen next. We had no contacts in this village, and they had absolutely no idea we would show up. They have no idea whom we are, or what our intentions are. What will they think of us? How do we appear to them? Motorcycle gear and helmets with cameras sticking out of them… The images of the boys at Ngurunit with bows and arrows flash through my mind. The images of Jack Sparrow being chased through the water by savages with body paint flash through my mind…

There are people coming out of their huts, standing next to their huts and just looking at us from the distance. Some with one hand on a hip, and the other on the chin. Are they peaceful? Do they think we are peaceful?

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