“In any situation, the best thing you can do is the right thing; the next best thing you can do is the wrong thing; the worst thing you can do is nothing.” Theodore Roosevelt.
Today we managed to collect our passports from the Sudanese embassy, WITH VISAS. The only options they were prepared to offer us were a 2 month single entry visa at KSh 5,000 each (US$50) or a 6 month multi-entry one at the exorbitant cost of KSh 27,000 each (US$270), nothing in between. The visa clock begins ticking from the day of issue, in our case the 29 Sept, but we were assured we could extend it easily in Sudan. However 2 months should be enough as we will probably be spending more time in Ethiopia on our return south-bound leg than when going north. Everyone we have met have emphasized how friendly the man in the street is in Sudan, but I would think a month there would be enough. Time is becoming a little tight.
We also were able to send our passports and required documents and copies (for details see the recent post in the Geeks section) via the DHL couriers at the nearby Karen Shopping Center (at crossroads) this morning. Our projection is that this will take a week. Tracking our replacement air-helper bags (to bolster our rear suspension again for the Lake Turkana leg), shows that these have arrived in Nairobi today. It usually takes about 3 days to clear customs and we expect soon to hear what the import duty will be. Then the only outstanding matters are a 5,000km service which Chris at JJs will do for us, as well as replacing the air suspension rubber bag.
Finally once our passports are back in our mitts we can drag ourselves back to the city center to Kenyan Immigration to be stamped out of the country. Those following my posts will remember that on the Lake Turkana route out of Kenya into Ethiopia there is no Kenyan customs or immigration. Our carnet has already been endorsed for exit out of Kenya before 20 Oct. So yes the clock is ticking and we are hoping for no undue delays.
We would like to take our time on the Lake Turkana route and it would be most unfortunate if we have to rush this. On our route south we will be travelling the easier alternate via Moyale to Marsabit so then can visit the arid parks we miss on the way north. However it seemed that we would most likely get a 30 day visa for our return leg, as South Africans according to the newish regulations governing us in Kenya. (Update: we were in fact given 3 month visas when we re-entered Kenya). We also then would want to visit places like the northern parks, Laikipia, the Tsavos, the coast, Lamu Island and Amboselli on the return trip. I predict that something is going to have to give.
To use our time waiting for these things to happen we, together with Wayne, have decided to head north tomorrow morning for the Aberdare and Mt Kenya National Parks. These 2 mountain parks are high on my list of priorities because of their unique habitats rather than just for animal viewing. Seeing rarities such as the giant forest hog or the melanistic leopards and servals would be a real bonus. We will probably spend at least 2 nights in each. We can probably stay in touch via email or cell phone should there be slower or even faster progress with our couriered items. The earlier we leave for Turkana the more we can stop and see along the way! For the second time on this trip we are feeling under some time pressure, it will do us some good I am sure.
Anne’s birthday is in a few day’s time and as a treat we have booked dinner at the nearby Talisman restaurant tonight. Once again this was recommended by Wazungu and is certain to live up to all the previous excellent recommendations.
Incidentally today Wazungu posted some very helpful emergency contact numbers for Kenya. I include the details so that others can also note them if they feel so inclined.
“Not that it is likely, but just in case, here is the emergency number of the Bio-Ken Snake Farm at Watamu in Kenya - http://bio-ken.com/index.php/snake-bite Emergency Snakebite Phone: +254 718 290324
And take AMREF (the Flying Doctors) - http://www.flydoc.org/ phone/contact numbers as below
Contact: 24hr Emergency Control Centre at Wilson Airport, Nairobi
• +254 20 6992299 / 6992000 / 3315454 / 3315455 / 6002492
• + 254 (0) 733 639 088 / 736 035 9362 / 722 314 239
• : +254 20 3344170 / 6000665
• Radio Frequencies: HF: 9116kHz LSB / 5796 kHz LSB
• Call Sign: Foundation Control
•Email, firstname.lastname@example.org “