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The Turkana Bus - Journeys to the Jade Sea

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optig

I'm definitely planning to visit desert rose/Turkana in combination with Sarara next May. I'm looking forward to going on camel safari,some of the most breathtaking scenery on the planet,and of course some great game viewing at Sarara Camp. I know very well my safari will be quite enhanced by learning about both Samburu and Turkana culture and history

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Robert Barnstone

I worked for the Safari Camp services as well in 1980 and built those long drop toilets at turkana, and managed Kurungu. It was a great time. While i was there one of my first tasks was to build the camp at Loiyangalani near the Oasis lodge. One of the drivers, I can't recall his name now but he was close to the Samburu and could speak with them, dropped me and Mgu off up there with few shovels bags of concrete and plumbing supplies and we dug two long drop toilets and roofed the concrete block building and set up a bush kitchen. I scraped my leg and it got infected and luckily the mission had an infirmary dosed the cut with penicillin powder and that fixed me up. Later, back at Kurungu camp I lived like a king, your mother had found the most amazing cook who served me and the tourists brilliant meals. It was a difficult time then, and one day I found an official who had the only home guard in South Horr shot through the throat dead in in the back of his land cruiser. Then they armed 16 Homgards and things settled a bit until a local chief and his family were murdered by the Gorakos. I had met a medical student at Misses Roaches place when I was down in Nairobi picking up supplies to build the airstrip just out side of the valley. We came back together to Kurungu and found ourselves retrieving wounded warriors form the bush and sewing them up. Of course most of the time it was just paradise and we just watched the grey Vervet monkeys move like a wave through the camp and above in the fig trees. At some point the police sent sixty soldiers to chase down the Gorakkos I think it was after the Priest and the poor children from Tomb were ambushed, I was asked by the father at the local mission to go to pick up the burnt rover and collect the bodies. We took new wheels and chained it to the Hobbit and with the father in the landrover we made it back to a small village.

 

Best,

 

Robert Barnstone

rbarnstone2@gmail.com

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Tom Kellie

~ @@Robert Barnstone

 

Thank you for joining Safaritalk and sharing you experience.

Those of us who never knew Africa then, let alone Samburu, are in your debt.

The description of the Vervet monkey wave is especially evocative to me.

Thank you!

Tom K.

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Kilwa

I worked for Dick Hedges in 1976/7. The Turkana Bus that I used to drive was the older model Bedford, it had a machine gun hatch in the cab roof. It was converted from petrol to Diesel. On my first trip there was a loud bang when we hit a bump in the track. I stopped to check underneath and oil was flowing from the alloy housing for the oil filter which had made contact with the front axle. This cost us a few hours while I repaired the unit with areldite. When back in Langata I told Dick what happened adding that a new part should be ordered. That's when he told me that it happens all the time and there was a whole box of these alloy housings in the truck. After that, I was more gentle on the rough and it didn't happen again.

 

More to come

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