Nairobberi the Kenyan capital!

April 8, 2013


A bright and early start from our sheltered camping arrangement in Arusha saw us blessed from the heavens with decent rainfall that just made the journey through town all the more interesting, ‘Watch out the speed=bump! Look out for that crazy taxi driver, oh no another bus!! Police ahead’ a perpetual set of lifesaving tips flowing from my star co-driver Geoff. In fact we have a first class arrangement where we have agreed up front to always accept the advice of our co-driver as the old maxim states; “two heads are better than one!”

Well the rain lasted about as long as the terrible road surface, which was not actually too long, and then I had the immense pleasure of driving my Imp at now generous speeds down hundreds of meters decent, (a drop of about 500 meters in about 110 kilometres drive!) Add to this that our mysterious speed wobble had vanished! This was not all either; the road surface was near perfect. But of course we knew this couldn’t last and we braced ourselves for the challenges of the border crossing, but hey hat a pleasant surprise awaited us, we arrived in Kenya like a breeze and felt very welcome.

In no time we were bubbling our billy-can on our gas stove on the side of the Kenyan countryside in readiness for our first wake up juice in Kenya.

Arrival in Nairobi, or as we became more acquainted with it we felt the name Nairobberai was far more appropriate for it, was an eye-opener for us in respect of the driving standard. Mean nasty selfish drivers that learned to drive by touch judging by the state of their cars’ exteriors had no concern for us or any other road users but themselves. This prompted us to park our little African Imp in the guest house for the three days we would stay there and use taxis or walk to where we needed to go rather than risk it.

Decided to do a spanner check on our Imp in readiness for the mother of all stages which will take us from Kenya to Ethiopia. This road is attempted only by the very brave in the very best of 4X4s; and of course only in the dry season. Well ours is NOT a 4 by anything and Geoffrey Rootes never considered the rainy season of Kenya when he decided to launch the first Hillman Imp in 1963, so by dint of his rolling the first Imp off the assembly line in May 1963 he has ensured that we will have to take on the most treacherous piece of road in Kenya and probably Africa during the WET season. Well when we eventually get our African Imp to Coventry I hope we get a HUGE piece of the birthday cake. 

Well the alternator had a bolt holding it in place on its bracket….but no NUT!!! Thanks Geoff for spotting this. New nut in place, tighten up till it stripped then back half a turn, that should hold! LOL. Lots of the nuts and bolts had shaken themselves loose and awe did well to have this sorted before taking on the Marsabit Moyale road. We also found the rear passenger side wheel bearing loose in spite of the tab washer still being in place, this also sorted and tightened up to the recommended 175 footpounds on the torque wrench.

Now with the car tilted to one side Geoff suddenly noticed a spill of fuel coming out of the bottom fuel tank. What caused this was a loosening of the twist lock in place fuel gauge sender unit which has also shaken itself loose. So it was out with the top fuel tank and a few quick slaps of the hammer put the errant sender unit back in its place. While I did the needful with the knockometer, Geoff mixed up a kilo or so of Pratley Steel and laid it liberally on to the tank sender unit to encourage to STAY PUT for the remainder of the journey!


Luckily we managed to complete this fix in daylight and before the next rain dump which is now tumbling out of the sky with merry abandon accompanied by brilliant flashes of lightening and the subsequent accompanying brattles of thunder. The entire neighbourhood has also been thrust into complete darkness so the millions of mosquitos are only too happy to home in on my possie as the light of the laptop is the only light around and I can feel my ankles warning up nicely with the mozzie injected poison which only gets worse if I scratch it!

A little communication challenge also for me this weekend as my Blackberry refused to recognise my sim card!!!!! Altech Cellular pleases help!!! Had to buy a new phone to keep in touch with family and friends.


And just as I completed this blog and before I could upload it to my site the electricity to the entire area of Naibobi where we are staying failed due to a powerful lightening strike. Now one day later our guest house still has no power! I have had to resort to buying a cappuccino at a local shop centre restaurant to link up to a wi fi connection. Well at least the cappuccino is great!




  1. Well done on nuts and bolts service/check. Sure Impi will hold its own en route Ethiopia. Thanks for great read and pics

  2. Terence, my Blackberry does exactly the same thing. It is crazy, all of a sudden it does not recognise the sim card, so, what I do is take the battery out for a few min, then replace it. The phone seems to re-boot and then works again, until next time.
    Well done to you three, but I am afraid the road to Ethiopia sounds really scary. Did you have to tell us about it beforehand. God Bless you both, and thanks for the well written news and photos. Love Felicity (Pleased you remembered the Kommetjie day)

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