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Pole to Pole

Day 87: Moyale to Marsabit

Michael Palin - Pole to PoleThis does not deter Kalului from setting off like a man possessed once all the border checks are completed. Unfortunately the British were never as keen on road-building as the Italians, and the smooth tarred Ethiopian road north of Moyale becomes dirt track to the south. A fine dust soon settles over everything and I now know why they laughed when I appeared at breakfast in a clean white shirt.

Every now and then we hit a run of shallow ruts and for fifteen seconds it's like being in a cocktail shaker. I cannot imagine how the vehicles survive this kind of treatment. The answer is they don't and at 11.20 we have our first puncture.

Wendy is philosophical about the delay. She has been in the safari business for years and as she says cheerfully, 'I haven't lost anyone yet'. Born in South Africa and now living in Kenya, she describes herself unapologetically as 'an old colonial'. She thinks that there have been many improvements in the country, but the fast-growing population has brought problems. Wild animals are now increasingly confined to expensively maintained reserves, with results that include a sharp growth in elephant numbers. From being almost an endangered species elephants are now in danger of damaging a fragile environment. Richard Leakey, the Director of Kenya's Wildlife Services, is, Wendy reckons, facing a tough decision.

'We made this stand on elephant poaching and we burned all that ivory, so now we have got world attention we've got to think of a solution other than culling.'

Apart from the security checkpoints - nail-studded wooden strips laid across the road - there are few breaks in this silent wilderness.
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PALIN'S GUIDES

  • Series: Pole to Pole
  • Day: 87
  • Country/sea: Ethiopia
  • Place: Moyale
  • Book page no: 196

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