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is a dusty town which straddles the Great North Road in the Northern Region
Coming from the south, Isiolo is the first place that one suddenly realises how different is the the northern half of the country. The place has a strong Muslim presence, with mosques by the roadside and the majority of people are of an apparently Somali appearance. Although there is no border post, you certainly feel like you are leaving the more familiar Kenya behind.
Isiolo is of little but fleeting interest to most international travellers. It is, however, one of the most littered places we have ever seen. The people here are apparently renowned for dividing all produce into smaller and smaller parcels, each wrapped in a plastic bag, the discard being carried by the desert wind to carpet the town and downwind landscapes for miles around.
There are rumours that the government is intending to transform this dusty little town into 'the new Dubai', presumably as part of an attempt to consolidate the area politically and protect the vital oil pipeline that brings crude from the fields of South Sudan to the north Kenya coast.
Isiolo is not somewhere we deliberately include in trips, although it is sometimes necessary to pass through when connecting overland between Meru
, Lewa Downs
, Borana Hills
, Il Ngwesi Valley
and the Mathew's Range