Cycling The Globe

A Cycle Touring Expedition Around The World

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Day 2074 – 2075, Turmi – Key Afar, Ethiopia!

Posted by Thomas Andersen Posted on Nov - 04 - 2016

Distance: 81.3 km
Ride time: 6:23:46
Average: 12.7 km/h
Max speed: 40.7 km/h
Total: 51464 km

After talking to the road engineers yesterday I knew I would be back on dirt roads today. What is interesting though, is that this might be the final stretch of dirt road in Africa. If I take the main road through the rest of Ethiopia it will be all asphalt, and so is the road through Sudan and Egypt. With those thoughts in mind I was enjoying the quiet and remote dirt road that took me into the mountains towards Key Afar.

Once in a while I would meet a herder with his cattle or sheep, and I would also pass a few tribe villages during the day, but mostly I was left to myself and very much enjoyed the low-stress cycling. Later in the day mountains started to rise in front of me, and I was preparing myself mentally for the climbs to come.

I started the day at 900 meters and finished at 1600 after one long but gradual climb. The good thing is that the temperature is now down at very manageable levels again after the 40 degree heat down at Lake Turkana. I like it…

As I was cycling into Key Afar I ran into the German cycling couple Tine and Joerg. We decided to stay in the same cheap guesthouse in town, and soon another American cyclist rolled in as well. This was very much a surprise – of all places this is certainly not a location where I would have expected to run into other bike people. On the other hand, you never know, and now we were exchanging bike stories from the different parts of Africa we had covered.

Tine and Joerg were telling some pretty intense stories about kids throwing stones, trying to steal their water bottles, and take off their watches, as they would be climbing up steep mountains. On the other hand I could report that the road south towards Kenya is indeed very peaceful. Now I’m getting pretty excited about things to come for me.

Key Afar is a small town with a few guesthouses, restaurants, and a market, but there was still no bank or place to buy a sim card. Since I was running low on cash I somehow needed to find an ATM. After talking to a few people the solution seemed to be to make a day trip to Jinka with a local bus. A bit of variety from the cycling is always welcome…

The next morning I easily found the bus and headed over to Jinka. This town had 3 ATM’s, and luckily the 3rd worked 🙂 I also got myself a sim card and was able to reconnect with the world after almost a week. Lake Turkana is pretty remote indeed.

Later in the day I took the bus back to Key Afar where the other cyclists had also taken a day off. I now feel I’m as prepared as I can be for the ride up to Addis Ababa. Even so, I know from countless reports from other cyclists that this ride will be very challenging, trying to deal with the kids. Let’s see how I hold up…

Categories: Ethiopia
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One Response so far.

  1. I’ve heard stones are a staple of cycling through Ethiopia. Jin (universewithme) wrote about that on a number of occasions!