The border crossing from Sudan to Ethiopia was uneventful. The Immigration Building is off the main road, through a galvanized iron fence and into a basic building (a building easily missed!); while the Immigration Official completed his manual Interpol search of all our names (6 books with names hand written in – not sure the last time is was actually updated!). After an hour or so our passports were stamped and we were officially in Ethiopia. We began to ascend up into the mountain ranges; it was not long before the land became lush and green and the air became thin as we reached over 2,000m above sea level.
 
Ethiopia is a stunning country embedded in history; there are remains of castles which housed Emperors for hundreds of years and secluded Monasteries on Lake Tana guarding ancient religious books and icons centuries old. Many Christian orders still practice ancient rituals, monks are forbidden to speak and there are monasteries women are not allowed to enter all set amongst imposing mountain ranges. 
 
Driving in Ethiopia is a totally different ball game. It is only recently tar seal roads have been built connecting major towns, the roads are busy with hundreds of people walking, herds of goats, cows, sheep, camels and donkeys all sharing the road with trucks, buses and cars. 
 
The people are friendly, if not a little reserved, with the exception of the kids who stand on the side of the road and chant “you, you, you, you, you, you, you, you,” a simple way of getting foreigners attention.
  woking taxi
We spent 2 weeks exploring the sites in Ethiopia, starting in Gondar and the Royal Enclosure – a castle in the middle of town; mystical Lalibella with 11 churches carved by hand out of rock; ancient monasteries on islands on Lake Tana, the source of the Blue Nile river, and the bustling city of Addis Abeba. 
 
As our time in Ethiopia was nearing an end it was time to make our way south toward the border of Kenya. We took 3 days to reach the border stopping to soak in hot springs near the Rastafarian capital of Shashamene. As we headed toward Kenya we started to descend from the highlands; the land became drier and more arid; looking more like how the media portrays Ethiopia. The further south we traveled the warmer the days became and the less populated the area. Finally we reached the border town of Moyale, topped up diesel and crossed into Kenya.
 
We were entering “real Africa”, the land of the Big 5, acacia trees and grassy savannahs. We still had 2 full driving days on what we believe is one of the worst roads in Africa. This road has not seen a grader for years let alone road building machinery! The “road” is built out of sharp volcanic black rocks; where there are no sharp tyre chewing rocks there are deep wide corrugations.
 
In total we had 250kms on the first day to cover and 260kms on the second – all in first or second gear with a top speed of 30kms per hour. This road tests patience! The first morning we were spoilt for game – a reminder you are in Africa. As we bounced our way along tens of dik diks (little antelope) nervously darted off the road into the bushes, most of us spotted Nyala (large grey antelope and quite unique to Northern Kenya), vultures flew over us and Weaver birds busily renovated their houses. The going was slow, local Samburu tribes people waved as we passed; but we made it to the little service town of Marsabit in good time.