The 1600km overland route between Nairobi and Addis Ababa via Moyale is not for the faint of heart, whether you travel in a private vehicle (a 4×4 is strongly advised) or on public transport. The first 550km (around 12hr), from Nairobi to the forested montane oasis of Marsabit via Isiolo, is straightforward enough, following a good asphalt road as far as Merille, 125km short of Marsabit, beyond which it’s a graded dirt road. Most travellers overnight in Marsabit, which has a few hotels and is a good place to break up the trip. The next 250km (around 10hr), from Marsabit to Moyale, remains one of the most challenging roads in East Africa, a spine-jarring strip of corrugations and potholes. Buses connect Nairobi, Isiolo, Marsabit and Moyale more or less daily, sometimes with more than one service. Once you’re at Moyale, the border crossing should be straightforward, assuming you have a visa (unlike at Bole, these can’t be issued on arrival) and once in Ethiopian Moyale, you have a choice of a few adequate budget hotels before catching a bus the next morning to Hawassa (10hr) or Addis Ababa (15hr).


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