The Long Road to Moyale

While the drive from Marsabit is no longer hard, it is still immensely rewarding. Leaving the misty highlands of Marsabit, you drop onto the bleak-by-name, bleak-by-nature Dida Galgalu Desert (Plains of Darkness) and trundle for endless hours through a magnificent monotony of black, sunburnt lava rock. The only sign of life, aside from the odd nomad and his camels, is the hamlet of Bubisa, a fly-blown place marked on few maps, where bored-looking people sit chewing miraa (leaves and shoots that are chewed as a stimulant). Then it’s onwards over an empty landscape until you reach the tiny village of Turbi, sheltered by two small, forested peaks. These can be climbed in half a day, but take a guide as there's a lot of wildlife and wild people in these parts. If you were to get stuck here for the night, there are a couple of very meagre places to stay. For security’s sake, however, it’s best to push on to Moyale. After Turbi, scrubby thorn bushes replace lava desert and, in the distance, the mountain vastness of Ethiopia springs up and tantalises.