Nairobi to Addis Ababa (9) Marsabit

We were excited about Marsabit as we’d heard that we’d be able to do some safari hiking in the national park. No 4x4s and zoom-lens for us, we wanted to get stuck in, at ground level with whatever northern Kenya wildlife had to throw at us. That, and also because tourists don’t go really go there the entrance fee is dirt cheap… We needed to procure said entrance tickets and also rangers (guys with guns) in case out any charging elephants or suchlike. We hiked out to the park entrance at dawn to make our arrangements and proceeded to spend a strange few hours sitting in various offices with several different Kenyan national park service guys who were both very pleasant and bemused at our request to pay up and go for a wander in the woods. It all came together in the end and the four of us set out. The first encounter of interest came when we heard the unmistakeable sound of axe on wood in the jungle off the trail. Going to investigate our rangers came back with two illegal loggers. These guys looked pretty resigned to their fate (likely a few months behind bars) which was, essentially, all down to us – the two scruffy mwzungu who rolled up on that particular day wanting to go for an amble in the jungle…

The rest of the day proved to be a good hike in luscious surroundings with the ever present (but ever out of reach) prospect of seeing something big and wild. We tracked lion prints, watched buffalo from afar and saw one (really) dead elephant.

We hiked back to the town at dusk, knackered but ready to get started on the gin and tuskers for Arsenal vs. Barcelona in the Champions League. It was a good day but it was difficult to get the thought of the two guys cutting firewood in the park out of my head.

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