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Easy Border Ride – To Tz and Back

Desert Storm – A Dominar Ride to Moyale
27 August 2020
Benelli TNT 300
4 September 2020
By Eric Kihiu, posted on AMD-fb

Borders. On paper, they're often just an arbitrary line on a map, drawn up by some administrator a long time ago. But somehow, the idea of reaching (and crossing) them is exciting. Meaningful.

It's 8a.m. on a sunny Sunday at the end of August. Mike (Honda Rebel 500) and I (Bajaj Dominar 400) are fuelled up and ready to go.

The Namanga border point is close, only about 165km from Nairobi. Near enough for an easy day trip.

We opted for the Rongai-Kiserian-Isinya route on the outbound leg. The road from Galleria to Rongai is narrow and busy, so lane splitting's out. Patience is a virtue here.

Beyond Rongai the road dips and climbs to Kiserian, but remains narrow. But at least the traffic lightens enough to provide occasional overtaking chances. But caution is called for: the many side roads mean there's always a car turning.

The scenic Ngong Hills dominate the horizon. The line of giant wind turbines atop the hills are like mute sentries keeping watch.

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Branching left at Kiserian, the road widens while traffic thins out. The sun, warm and pleasant, added cheer to the day. It is 40km to Isinya. Time to let the engines sing. This is a fun road, clear, mostly straight with a few bends, and can be enjoyed fast or slow. We had a blast up to about 18km from Isinya, where there's a 100-metre stretch of deep loose chippings from ongoing road repair works. This is a real hazard: hit it at anything above walking pace and you're in BIG trouble. We gingerly rode through the section, rear tyres twitching nervously.

Further on a group of cyclists passed us going the other way - this road can be enjoyed by everyone. Close to Isinya we came upon a pair of yellow-necked spurfowl birds trying to cross the road, but they chickened-out 😉 at our approach.

At Isinya we stopped for a quick water break. Radi, a fellow biker from our Langata NK out on a solo random stopped to say hi on his way back to Nairobi. Always great to meet another biker on the road.

From Isinya, there's 33km of fun road to savour to Kajiado, and we made short work of this stretch. Going through Kajiado town we notice a couple of interesting looking choma restaurants. Something to check out next time...

The road remains smooth and fun, the landscape interesting. At around 45kms to Namanga, Kibo, the snow capped peak of Kilimanjaro, comes into view.

This is open country with plenty of acacia trees, and we stopped to admire one festooned with bird nests.

A highlight of this stretch was a crested francolin bird strutting across the road, tail cocked - no hurry sir, i'm too cool to rush. Natural attitude right there. A few metres ahead a squirrel bounded across the road, definitely in a rush.

All along the route from Kiserian we observed a number of signposts for hotels/lodges, some of which looked very promising...

By around 11a.m. we had reached Namanga. At the border zone we inquired about the crossing protocol. We were advised that as long as we weren't going far we could cross into Tz with our bikes. Thrilled by this news we did just that. As we stopped to take pictures at the border sign, local Maasai ladies insistently offered us bracelets and other mementos. I bought a couple of Tz bracelets.

A local guy offered to take our pictures and we gave him our phones. But it became apparent that he was quite drunk and not up to the task. Afterwards he was belligerent about being compensated for his "labour". Note to self: accept offers of help with caution in future.

On the Tz side we found ourselves the odd-men-out: we were the only ones wearing face masks!

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