Over the “camel border” back to Kenya’s coast

For a few days the frustration sits pretty deep: the fact that we could not enter Ethiopia via the closed land border due to Corona annoys us … especially, since we had so much luck so far! It is only a small consolation to know that we would certainly not have been able to travel further north from Ethiopia because of the ongoing civil war and border conflicts with Sudan.

But traveling also means flexibility and we have already thought of a “Plan B” in advance: we decide to head back south via Marsabit to Samburu N.P. Although rather small and unknown, this paradise is certainly a surprise for us: fantastic river scenes, a great bush camp right on the water and above all we see what we have been missing on all our game drives so far: witnessing a kill – and that unique experience with Shujaa and not in a guided game drive. During our morning game drive we suddenly see a pride of lions … not idly dozing as usual but very attentively and quickly walking through the bush. Soon a couple of game drive jeeps are also around us: they have the advantage of being much more agile and faster to follow the lions, we have the advantage of being able to see much better where the action is going on from a height of almost four meters. They are looking at a group of warthogs, which they circle closer and closer. Then they start running, we follow over hill and a short time later we see their prey: the father and greatest of the clan of warthogs has been caught. The body is still completely intact except for its bite on the neck, but within the next hour we can see from a distance of only two meters how such a warthog is completely devoured – the stomach is neatly spurned because it does not taste good. What a great experience towards the end of our East Africa trip!

We drive via Mount Kenya, over the so-called “camel border” (from here there are no more huge herds of camels) to Lamu, an exclusive island in the north of Kenya, near the Somali border. There are warnings everywhere that, for safety reasons, you should only fly and not drive to Lamu as there are always shootings in this area. Because we want to save the stressful journey from Nairobi and Mombasa, we take the much less congested route via Garissa. Except for intensified, but completely correct, military controls and an absolutely nonsense drive in a convoy (which sets off after a long waiting time without any police escort and of course is dissolved in a few minutes since everyone drives their own pace) we have no problems.

By absolute coincidence we met a friend from Munich two weeks ago on the extremely lonely Lake Turkana, who recently inherited a house on Lamu island and who has invited us for a visit. The next five days are a strong change from our life in the last few months in Shujaa: party invitations, dhow races, exquisite dinners, great lifestyle, interesting people, no overlanders 😉, but also much authentic Swahili style: donkeys, which are the only means of transport on this car-free island that block (and pollute 😉) the narrow streets, as well as endless beach walks on clean and completely deserted beaches. A paradise where the beautiful and rich of this world have built domiciles for a good reason… and where they gather right now during Corona for undisturbed get-togethers and celebrations.

After five days we slowly start missing Shujaa and with a heavy heart we leave our friend with her great Swahili house in the village of Shela on Lamu island. Across the north coast of Kenya with a stop at the great Barefoot Camp (with a deep sandy track to the parking space on the beach), the dream beach at Watamu with the whitest sand we have ever seen, and visits to various old, dilapidated Swahili cities (some culture is also nice from time to time) we reach Mombasa. We wait over two hours at the ferry to cross over to the south coast: due to a particularly high tide, there are far fewer ferries than normal and consequently there are long waiting times. The people are aggressive, and the chaotic crowd is even wilder than usual. This is (also) Africa! Completely stressed out and shortly before dark we reach the Twiga Lodge & Campsite, which we already knew from our stay four weeks ago. In this paradise we stay for the next 10 days, enjoying the dream beach and the sun, thoroughly cleaning Shujaa and getting ready for shipment. Despite a lot of work, we have a great time, go on a great snorkeling trip to Wasini Island in the Kisite Marine N.P. on the border with Tanzania, meet interesting people and are really “sedentary” by our standards.

Before we mutate into permanent campers however, we drop Shujaa in the port of Mombasa in order to have it shipped to Genoa/Italy. As always with a strange feeling: Does Shujaa arrive undamaged, will the ship sink or, or, or … We’re off to Mallorca and Europe, where we’ll meet our friends again, give Shujaa in good hands for service and will prepare the next section of our journey: Middle East, Arabian Peninsula, silk road – from autumn onwards if the borders are freely passable again. Otherwise, we have a “Plan B”. The world is so big and to have Shujaa back in Europe in our immediate vicinity should enlarge the options to travel.

We liked Eastern Africa with the countries Zambia, Malawi, Tanzania, Uganda and Kenya very much during our six months visit. The combination of great landscapes, animal adventures and very open and authentic people (e.g. Maasai, Samburu) were a great and in this combination unique mix. We start to wonder whether our trip around the world really is a “Project” – so an adventure that also has a clearly defined end. We could imagine coming back again at a later date. Of course, with our own vehicle!


  1. Following you all the way ☺️ From the netherlands
    Great story telling , awsome pictures and a great truck !! To bad Ethiopië did’t work maybe you will return one day …

    Hopefully see you on your next adventure there is a lot to see and hopefully the terrible lockdown will end soon in Europa. We are also making plans for our next try-out overlading trip in europe, we hope portugal 🇵🇹 (fingers crosser)

    Have a safe trip home to Mallorca, hope Shujaa is undamaged!!

    Grusse Sylvia

    1. Hey Sylvia!
      Thank you for following us. Yes, we hope, too. Shipping is always stressful for us. Maybe we will meet us somewhere in Europe …
      Bye and stay well
      Karin & Oliver

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