A couple of people have wondered how I’m able to stay connected, to put up blog posts, update Facebook and tweet pictures to Twitter while in what would seem the true bush. Well, this is the true bush, but every once in a while you come upon an island. This island is where one of the mobile phone networks has dropped in a tower and a power supply for it.

The short answer

I carry all of the data modems available from Safaricom, Orange and Zain. I also carry my data connected mobile phone (this trip it’s the Nexus One), and an unlocked multi-purpose modem. To this I add my Acer Netbook, which I’d feel a lot better about losing than I would my Mac, and that completes the setup.

The long answer

In Gatab, on Mount Kulal, you can get two signals. One is Safaricom, that reaches all the way up the mountain (if you’re standing in the right spot) from Loyangalani on the shore of Lake Turkana. The other is from Orange Telkom, with a tower on the mountain itself. Both are powered by windmills.

Where else will you find a connection?

  • South Horr
  • Logologo
  • Laisamis
  • Loyangalani
  • Gatab
  • Baragoi
  • Marsabit

These are the towns that I know of with cell phone towers. Whenever you have a voice connection up here, you also have a GPRS connection (always Edge, never 3g). The Orange connection’s are CDMA, not the normal EVDO “3g+” speeds that you get in Nairobi and Mombasa.

Sometimes all you get is the one tree within 20km that gets a signal…