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.
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.
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...
At the Kajiado railway crossing a lilac-breasted roller (Kenya's national bird) was perched imperiously on the crossing sign. Beautiful. A line of wind turbines can be observed in the hills beyond the town. Nice to see green energy use growing.
As you approach Bisil, 30km on from Kajiado, the road dips. We stopped to stretch and a friendly group of young kids came to hang out and admire the bikes. From Bisil, it's a further 57km to Namanga. Mile markers helpfully count down the distance to the border. A feature of the route is a number bridges with mostly dry sandy river beds this time of year.
The road remains smooth and fun, the landscape interesting. At around 45kms to Namanga, Kibo, the snow capped peak of Kilimanjaro, comes into view.
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.
Now starving, we looped back to the Kenyan side for lunch, and parked at the customs parking. A friendly security guard recommended Al-Yasin hotel, located across the wall from the customs zone compound for a quick, nice meal. A waiter listed the restaurant's menu items, dominated by coastal dishes. We ordered pilau mbuzi (Ksh.400/=), which lived up to the guard's promise of both good and quick.
Done with lunch we returned to our bikes. As we geared up to depart a couple of guards came over to chat. They were both from Nyamira county - "you go where the opportunities are", one quipped. Indeed, brother.
By 1p.m. we were ready to go, and topped up our tanks at the Shell petrol station.
With plenty of time to spare, we opted for a relaxed pace for our homeward leg, enjoying the sights and sounds at an easy cruise. Mile markers for Athi River provided a distance countdown for our return trip via Kitengela. By 4p.m we were back.
1 The road: lovely. Short enough for a relaxed day trip, with time left over to do something else later. Bikers in a hurry would dispatch this route in a morning blast.
2 The landscape: interesting. Lots of texture, and the possibility of seeing wildlife (especially birds).
3 Recreational facilities: Some interesting-looking vacation places to check out on future trips.
Another border touched. Loved it!