At 4132 miles in length, the Nile River is the longest in the world. Over the course of that length, it wanders through 11 countries, including Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, the Sudan, Egypt and numerous others before emptying into the Mediterranean Sea. It is one of the most iconic and historic rivers in human history having given rise to several civilizations in millennia past. While it has been kayaked on more than one occasion in the past it has yet to be walked from source to sea. Over the course of the next year, one British explorer hopes to change that.
Today, Levison Wood will leave the U.K. for Africa on what promises to be an epic adventure that will officially begin on Dec. 1. Thats when he’ll launch his attempt to walk the entire length of the Nile – and then some. He’ll begin in the highlands of Rwanda, which is where the furthest source of the river can be traced. From there, Wood will drop into the jungles of Tanzania and Uganda, where he’ll hug the shores of Lake Victoria as he continues to walk north. After that, it will be on to South Sudan, where he’ll cross the immense Sudd swamplands, which are amongst the largest in the world. From there it is on to Sudan and eventually Egypt, where he’ll trek across the Sahara Desert on his way to the river’s delta at the Mediterranean Sea. When he’s done, he’ll have covered more than 4250 miles through a wide variety of terrains and across a myriad of cultures.
Wood says that his journey is inspired by that of another modern day explorer. A few years back, a Brit by the name of Ed Stafford walked the entire length of the Amazon River in South America. Wood followed that expedition closely and later hatched the idea of becoming the first person to trek the length of the Nile. After months of planning, gathering resources and sponsors, and plotting his route, he is finally ready to start.
Once underway, you’ll be able to follow Wood’s progress on his website at WalkingTheNile.com and on his Facebook page. He expects that the journey will take approximately 12 months to complete, so for the next year he’ll be making dispatches from the field. This expedition has the potential to become one of the most important in recent history and it should be fun to follow along.