Read / lees in : Nederlands
In the morning I woke up still dressed, and drowning in my own sweat, in our little tent. Lucía was a bit grumpy, so we probably had a fun night. While we were enjoying our instant coffee our travel mates told us – casually – that they were planning to hire somebody with a boat to ferry them to a deserted island in Lake Turkana and spend the night there. We didn’t feel like that, because we wanted to be on time for that flight at all costs. At the same time we felt that we had some kind of unwritten contract with them to stick together, at least until we’d reach Omorate in Ethiopia. Not only because in the mean time we had reached an extremely isolated area where they got stuck in the mud the day before. But also because we had the most challenging off-road part in front of us! In case of emergency we wouldn’t be able to survive without each other. After all, I had the sat phone and they had the fridge with ice cold beer in the car.
Going for a swim
The plan to go to the abandoned island was – involuntarily – quickly abandoned due to a lack of people with a boat. So we thought we’d all go pack our stuff and leave, but they swiftly came up with a new plan. They were going for a quick swim in the lake. ‘Quick’ is of course an arbitrary concept, but around two ‘o clock we’d had enough of waiting for them to return. Unwritten contract or not. For one because we didn’t have a clue how long it would take to reach the border town of Ileret, and in case of problems we didn’t want to get caught out there in the dark. Not unlikely as we had to drive via the lake shore in deep sand. Possibly with flooded parts, rivers that feed the lake or trenches with water. A bit of luck came our way in the form of an army jeep that came from the direction we were about to go. Therefore we could just follow in the tracks they had left behind.
Together till the end
Fortunately, because otherwise we would have certainly
gotten lost been underway a lot longer. There wasn’t a road or jeep track to be found anywhere in that area. Tracks around there get wiped out by the elements every day. Our three ‘mates’ proved to have followed our tracks in their turn, because all of a sudden they stood in front of us while we were enjoying the sunset with a cold beer on the porch of the place we stayed that night. The next morning once again they preferred to dick around instead of coming with us. So again we were on our own. And again, contrary to what our GPS told us, there was no road or jeep track. For hours we drove through bushes circumventing deep crevasses in the earths crust. Once we got to Omorate we entered the customs and immigration office a bit nervous. After all we had photoshopped e-visas that were only valid for entry through the international airport in Addis Abeba and we didn’t have a Carnet de Passage. The confiscated German overlanders rig on the compound didn’t help to make us feel less nervous. But miraculously we and our car were stamped into the country without any problems. An hour later we moved into a small hotel in the village of Turmi, a bit further down the road. But before we even finished our meal we heard our three ‘fellow travellers’ enter the hotel. It seemed they wouldn’t let us go just yet….