Land Rover Dispatch 44 – Back onto the floor of the Great African Rift Valley

A note from Ross Holgate’s adventure diary:

Land Rover ExpeditionChapter 2 of the Land Rover supported expedition and it’s great to be on the move again, the three expedition Landies – two Discovery 4’s and the big Landy Defender 130 mothership. Driving on the right hand side of the road, dodging trucks, pedestrians and livestock – the Landies loaded up with life saving mosquito nets for distribution to mums with children under the age of five, Rite to Sight spectacles for the poor sighted and LifeStraws for safe drinking water.

We drop down the escarpment into Africa’s Great Rift Valley – that great tear in the earth’s crust that extends from the Danakil Plains of Ethiopia on the Red Sea to below Gorongosa in Mozambique. We’ve got two new expedition volunteers: cheerful KZN boy Brad Hansen who runs his own safari company in Tanzania has flown in to assist with the humanitarian work, and American photo-journalist Mark Lakin who’s going to document Chapter 2 of our Rift Valley odyssey.

Our first destination is Lake Ziway. It has five islands which include Debre Sina, Galila, Bird Island and Tullu Gudo, home to a monastery said to have housed the Ark of the Covenant around the ninth century. Ziway, known for its birds and hippos, is one of the eight Ethiopian Rift Valley lakes that stretch like a necklace of jewels from below Addis Ababa to the border with Kenya. As is the tradition on this expedition, we will continue to add iconic sipfills of Rift Valley water to the symbolic calabash.

As always there’s that wonderful feeling, the excitement of the unknown. This Southern part of Ethiopia leading down into the Omo Valley and Lake Turkana can be wild and unpredictable – We’ll keep you posted…