Greetings from the rich cultural mosaic that forms the ‘badlands’ of Ethiopia’s South Omo region. It’s a wild, untamed, rugged area of Africa’s Rift Valley made up of some 30 distinct ethno-linguistic groupings, several of which number fewer than 1000 people. Inter tribal fighting and cattle wars are common place. ‘You can buy an AK47 for two head of cattle, the guns are smuggled across from South Sudan’, says Adi.
With an armed Hamer tribal policemen as a guide, we’re attempting to follow an overgrown bush track to Lake Chew Bahir (Ocean of Salt), first discovered by the explorer Count Teleki in 1888. As always there’s that delightful feeling of the unknown and the challenge of battling to reach another iconic geographical place on the floor of Africa’s Great Rift Valley. Out here were 100% dependant on the reliability of our Landies. No Discovery 4’s have ever attempted this remote parts before. Together with the big 130 Defender they don’t miss a beat. We’ll keep you posted.
Land Rover Dispatch 52 – We make it to the ‘Ocean of Salt’
The sun dips over the Hamer mountains as the 3 Rift Valley Expedition Landies race across the crust of Chew Bahir, the Ocean of Salt named Lake Stefanie by the early explorer Count Teleki. Up till now Lake Stefanie has been just a name on a map that we’d dreamt about reaching for years. We camp out under the stars on the vast salt crust and celebrate by siphoning some of the ‘Captain’s Best’ from where it lives in the jerry can on the roofrack of the big Land Rover 130 Defender. William Gwebu the expedition cook knocks up a meal of goat stew and maize meal spiced with the last of the Nando’s sauce. Tomorrow we head for the village of Turmi where Adi says he knows of a diesel smuggler who might supply us at a price. We will do Rite to Sight, LifeStraws and United Against Malaria work at small Hamer villages along the way – made possible by your support.