66 days remain. I know this because I finally caved and set up the exact same system of daily mailers that I so derided previously as being overkill. So now I receive a pretty picture of something East African in my mailbox every night at seven thirty sharp (today was the Simien mountains) and a countdown to the number of days left (today was 66 days to departure). Sixty six. As in, less than ten weeks. A little over two months. Three fortnights. Not very long.

Given the move to Grahamstown that must somehow be magically completed before I depart, it dawned on me this morning the enormity of the management task I in fact face, having to ensure that every last scrap of clothing, bedding, hanging or whatever else which is not coming in my pack to Cairo gets moved down to and stored (no idea where yet) in the Eastern Cape. The nights before I leave will quite literally be me, in my sleeping bag, on the couch. So yes, readers, there is a lot to do.

Three, as they say, is company – though four would be even more handy in medical emergencies.

On a more Cape-to-Cairo (and less pack-and-freak-out) note, we have an enthusiastic new recruit to the trip in Lesley – recently sold on the idea and quite possibly joining me from the very first Cape Town leg of the adventure. Three, as they say, is company – though four would be even more handy in medical emergencies. We may have a fourth (since Audrey missed a calling in the church and has instead taken to proselytizing African adventure in the last few days), but only time will tell.

I, on the other hand, have spent my time getting excited over gear catalogs, visa requirements websites and other journey-related minutiae that I can roll around in like the happiest of piglets, savoring every last drop of pre-trip excitement.  During the course of such rolling, the extent of the instability in Northern Kenya has started to become clearer – focusing my attention a great deal more on how we intend to navigate from Nairobi to Addis Ababa via Moyale. The Internet is largely in agreement that inter-tribe violence, exacerbated by severe resource shortages, has resulted in at least a few hundred dead over the course of a few massacres in recent months (in truth stretching back far longer than just this year). All of this makes journeying right through the area in available transport something that should probably be well-thought out beforehand. So while my list of things to read about and people from whom we will be seeking advice has grown rather large in recent days, so too has the determination and excitement that nothing will put us off finding our way up the continent now.

Hmm. It just passed midnight.

Sixty five days left.

Categories: Africa, Cape to Cairo, Kenya, Travel
  • Ty

    I came across your website while researching my own Cape Town to Cairo trip coming up right after the World Cup in beautiful South Africa. This is part of a round-the-world safari and the first leg will take me through Japan to Singapore overland(and boat) before flying to Cape Town right on time for the World Cup semi finals.

    I’ve read your blogs but never commented until you blogged about Kenya, which happens to be my country of origin(I’m now also an America citizen, easier to travel on a US passport). Well, here’s what I can tell you about your safety concerns on your way to Ethiopia via Moyale. Most of these clashes are inter-tribal and go back many years. Its mostly cattle rustling which is a culture on itself in that part of Kenya. Kenyans can show tremendous savagery but they have some sense to confine it to themselves. Even during the worst of our post-election violence in 2007/8, not a single tourist was hurt.

    And that road from Nairobi to Moyale is well travelled. Back in the days there used to be a lot of banditry but with the police offering armed escorts, the bandits had to find another career.

    I will be following your blog as it will give me a preview of what to expect when I take the same trip.

    Safiri salama!

  • Woot woot!
    I’m getting that butterfly stomach feeling… I likes it :)

  • Hi Ty

    Thanks very much for the information – it’s so much more useful to hear from people who know the place than digging through news reports on the internet.

    Your own trip sounds absolutely amazing. Japan to Singapore will blow your mind! Are you going to be going through Vietnam/Cambodia/Thailand as well? If you have any questions about South Africa closer to your arrival here, please just yell – I would be delighted to answer any questions you have on my home ground :)

  • Ty

    Thanx for your offer, I sure will need it while navigating through SA, dont hesitate to holla if you need any assistance while in east Africa.

    My intinerary goes through Vietnam/Laos/Cambodia/Thailand, all by using boat/train/bus. I’m really looking forward to this trip and I’m sure it wont dissapoint.

    I’m a big advocate of overland transportation by public means as it is the best way to closely interact with the culture and thus have a more fullfilling trip. I found a very helpful resource in planning train/bus trips, maybe you might find it useful:

    http://seat61.com/

  • Looking forward to following the blog when you get going. This is not the latest post, so I know it is less than 3 fortnights to departure :-) I will be waiting eagerly for updates, this will be a great journey to follow.

  • @Ty

    Thanks for the link – I had used it to discover the train from Lusaka(ish) to Dar es Salaam, which will save almost a thousand km of bus rides. Which my bum will be most thankful for :) Where there are trains, I will definitely be taking them, as having a bed during the journey and the comfort to settle with your own thoughts and watch the world go by is priceless. There will also be more than enough busing around later to make up for it!

    @Alison
    Thanks for the encouragement! I realised afterwards that I had my maths regarding fortnights wholly wrong (today marks 60 days to go), but the clock is still counting down way too fast!

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