Nairobi to Moyale (Kenya/Ethiopia) and onto Addis Ababa.
Replies: 11 - Last Post: Mar 17, 2013 5:52 AM Last Post By: LizD
May 14, 2012 2:34 AM
There is a bus that leaves Nairobi for Moyale every day at 4:30pm from Eastelee (spelling?). It costs 25000KSh and takes about 24 hours. This time of the year it seems packed, so book at least the day before!
Eastelee is east of the River Rd/Accra Rd bus/matatu area...it's an area with many Somalis...you can get there with a red matatu from Accra Rd or Moi Ave...ask around there or listen for the bus boys screaming "Eastelee"
The company is called Moyale Beach and/or Moyale Raha...one is a bus, the other is a truck converted into a bus. Not sure which is which, and if each has a daily departure. On my way to Moyale there was only the truck kind, but I saw both going back to Nairobi.
Also, you can do the trip in stages, as there are shuttles Nairobi-Isiolo, then buses Isiolo-Marsabit and Marsabit-Moyale...for what I saw, I would never ever take one of the trucks organized by the local touts in Isiolo or further!
The road Marsabit-Moyale is rough, you get bounced around a lot, try to get seats in the front if you can...I was in the very back and I still have bruises! Security seemed perfectly fine, although all buses and truck/buses have 2-3 armed guards (the local trucks don't, which is yet another reason not to take them!)
The bus gets to Moyale before 5pm, with a bit of luck, so you have time to walk to the border (less than 800m) and across to Ethiopia...the bus to Addis Ababa leaves the next morning at 5am and costs 220Birrs. It stops around 6pm in Awasa for the night, then takes off again around 4:30am and should arrive in Addis Ababa before noon...although mine didn't!
Do NOT stay at the Tourist Hotel in Ethiopian Moyale (it's on the LP book) or you will be sorry...I have never seen so many bedbugs in my life...and I have been to a few places...these infested my body and my bags...they are reddish, they crawl and they are called "tihan" in Ethiopia...even the locals seem to be scared of them!
Ethiopian Moyale seems to be catering to guys having fun, drinking and enjoying girls, so many hotels are loud and full!
You can change Ksh into EthBirrs through the local touts everywhere, or else there is a bank about 2km from the border, 1km from the bus station. They do not take KSh though, but USD and Euros. (They gave me a very good rate for my Euros!) And they close early, so if you need to do this, do it first right after you cross the border.
Let me know if you have any questions. I may have to go back the same way in 2-3 weeks (don't be jealous!) so I may be posting a follow-up on the reverse trip.
PS: In order to cross into Ethiopia this way you need to have a visa in your passport already.
May 14, 2012 3:10 AM
May 14, 2012 3:15 AM
2I got it in my country of residence before leaving...I think it's impossible to get it in Nairobi, but don't quote me on that...other threads will be more helpful on that.
May 14, 2012 5:32 AM
May 14, 2012 6:11 AM
4Ksh25000 from Nairobi to Moyale. Is that right? Why didn't you just fly?? A one-way ticket from Nairobi to Addis is about $300. Or did you mean Ksh2500?
Edited by: strikingstar
May 14, 2012 2:33 PM
May 14, 2012 8:32 PM
6Thank you for the updated report. That bus station in Nairobi is in Eastleigh.
May 15, 2012 3:35 AM
May 16, 2012 1:01 AM
8Getting your visa for Ethiopia and Sudan is very easy at the moment in Nairobi. For us Dutch people it took 1 day for the Ethiopian and 1 day for the Sudanese visa. The Ethiopian embassy are not very nice and be sure you tell them for how long you want your visa. The lady from the Sudanese ambassy was very helpfull.
For both embassies you need a letter of recommodation from you own ambassy. For the Sudanese you also need a copy of your creditcard and if you are driving with a car they need a copy of your car papers and carnet.
Ethiopian visa cost 20 US and the Sudanese cost 5500 Ksh.
Never get your Sudanese visa in Dar Es Salaam. We tried that first and waited for 3 weeks and still no visa.Nairobi is the place to be at the moment for your visa.
Aug 16, 2012 5:37 AM
Thanks for the excellent information in your post.
To add to your info, I found Moyale Bus and Moyale Raha but needed some directions once in Eastleigh. They were in side streets that I probably couldn't find again if my life depended on it. The price quoted was 1500KSh. Not sure why this was lower but I think they were trying to explain that they lower their prices for Ramadan. Seems unlikely - would be interested if anyone can confirm this.
However, after a lot of asking around, I also found that Kampala Coach company also has a 5-00pm daily bus from Eastleigh. It operates as Moyale Coach Express. Kampala Coach is a big regional operator and pretty reliable. The office (and departure point) is down the left hand side of Eastleigh Mall near the Shell petrol station on the main road into Eastleigh. This cost 2000Ksh but was good value. It's a 2-2 seating configuration (as opposed to a 3x2) and has big, comfy reclining seats. We picked up two armed guards for the northern part of the trip.
The trip took about 21 hours travel time including a puncture, a stop to assist another bus and a two hour stop at Marsabit.
With a bit of luck, if you get out of Eastleigh at 5-00pm you should easily make Moyale in time to cross to Ethiopia. However, when I asked the driver how long the trip takes, he replied with refreshing honesty "Usually 20 hour. Sometime two, three day."
Hope this helps - again, thanks to the OP!!
Aug 19, 2012 6:34 PM
10Hi all, thanks for the advice as I'm doing this trip next week, so I'm taking notes and this is all really useful. I am travelling with a Kenyan from Nairobi so he is booking the bus seats at eastleigh, apparently it's the 3 and 2 configuration and the bus leaves at 3pm (saa tisa mchana) so I'll report back. Also for any Australians I got my Ethiopian visa on the spot in about 3 minutes at the Ethiopian consulate in Melbourne so that might be a good tip if possible.
I'll update later if I find out more.
Mar 17, 2013 5:52 AM
11I am a bit delayed but just remembered I promised to update this on my return, in case someone elso wants to do it.
I know the situation is less stable in Kenya now, however the Moyale area was apparently 'Do Not Travel' according to our government when I went there, and I saw no issues. This being said you make your own evaluation of safety of course.
I took the bus from Eastleigh, Nairobi to Moyale, on the border of Kenya and Ethiopia. The experience was unique, I loved it. The bus was supposed to leave at 3, we sat there for 3 hours and it left at 6pm. T.I.A, you get over it. The bus consisted of me, 50 Islamic Borana tribe people and, for the last leg from Marsabit to Moyale, an armed guard. I guess that's one way to put off the bandits.
Now Moyale, that place was so cool and unique that I stayed for an extra 3 days. One locality, two countries, two towns - two different worlds. The Kenyan side is very conservative Islamic, Ethiopian side loose as you get.
Here's a tip - if you need anything in Moyale there's a guy called 'Alex' who you will find just dwelling, maybe at the border, maybe at a hotel. Hang out with him, give him a tip and he will help you with anything you need. He's actually not a bad guy and pretty harmless.
I stayed at the nice hotel on the hill on the Kenyan side, it's quite charming but a little rigid. I then moved to the Ethiopian side and stayed at the hotel with the big gardens up on the hill, across from the bank.
From Moyale you can take a bus up to Awassa, where there are cheap hotels and some nice walks but not a whole lot to see, then onto Addis. Unfortunately I couldn't get up into the north of Ethiopia without own transport so I was stuck in Addis in the end for 5 days, which is about 4 days more than you want there. One nice thing I did there was walk up to an old church out of the city with a young local boy, who was very charming and we had a nice long chat.
If you want to explore the north it's hard to organise from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia has not opened up to tourism a lot yet, which can be good and bad, so just plan ahead a bit.
Other than that, the main barrier across Ethiopia for a foreigner is language - eating out was tricky for a vegetarian who speaks English, Swahili and French but no Ethiopian languages.
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