What’s the Adventure?
What faces the Trans-Africa driver when he or she enters Kenya has become the stuff of legend among overlanders. The 300-mile stretch from Moyale on the border with Ethiopia to Isiolo near Mount Kenya is generally referred to as ‘The Worst Road in Africa’ or simply ‘The Road to Hell’.
This is due to two factors. Firstly, the road is horribly rocky and corrugated, and will try to shake your car to pieces and shred your tyres – unless it’s raining, in which case it’s virtually impassable. Secondly, there’s a risk of bandit attack.
This area is relatively close to Somalia and there’s a continuous flow of AK47-armed ‘shifta’ (bandits) through the porous border. As a result, the history of violence in this region goes back decades. Those in the know suggest that, as a tourist, you’re very unlikely to be targeted, but that theory was dealt a blow last November when a British motorcyclist was shot at while on a charity ride through Africa.
Our Favourite Bit?
And then it happened. Tarmac. You cannot imagine the feeling of joy after two solid days of crawling along awful roads. Smoothness. Quiet. The dizzying heights of 50mph. Progress. Happiness. Mind you, we later found out that, four days after we passed through, the rains did start – heavily. They washed out bridges and made the road impassable. We’d had a very close shave.
Things continued to improve. The scenery got greener and we saw an elephant in the bush by the side of the road. Beyond Isiolo, everything became surprisingly normal all at once. Not only were we driving on the ‘correct’ side of the road but there were road signs – and they were in English.
Making it out alive
We’ve read about many overlanding trips through Africa, but know of no other where the vehicle suffered so few problems, Toyota Landcruisers included. This really was a virtuoso performance by the Range Rover and, for me, easily makes it the most complete and capable vehicle in the world.
Bravo, Land Rover.
The full story can be found in the April 2011 issue of LRO. Download a digital issue, or order a back issue by calling 01858 438884.