Stretching for 4132 miles and crossing through ten countries, the Nile is the longest river on the planet. For centuries this fabled waterway has brought life to an otherwise arid and hostile environment. During the 19th century, the river inspired explorers to go in search of its headwaters. Numerous expeditions were mounted to map its length. But none of those explorers ever managed to walk the entire length of the Nile from source to sea. That’s exactly what two British adventurers intend to do when they launch a 12-month long expedition later this year. Levison Wood and Simon Clarke are in the final stages of planning for what they call the Walking the Nile expedition. The two men, who met and became friends while serving in the British military, say that they were inspired to undertake this epic trek by fellow countryman Ed Stafford. In 2010, Stafford famously completed a 4000+ mile long trek along the length of the Amazon. That journey helped Wood and Clarke come up with the idea of hiking along the world’s other great river – the Nile.
Their journey will begin at the source of the Nile, located in the highland of Rwanda and Burundi. From there, they’ll descend into the jungles of Tanzania and Uganda before proceeding upstream into South Sudan, the newest nation on the planet. The route will continue into North Sudan and eventually Egypt, the country that is most closely associated with this massive river.
As noted above, the entire trip is expected to take approximately one year to complete as the two men make their way over high bluffs, through dense forests and across oppressively hot deserts. Along the way, they’ll encounter numerous cultures, diverse wildlife and groups of people who may be less than thrilled to have westerners in their midst.
While this will no doubt be an adventure of a lifetime, Wood and Clarke aren’t undertaking this expedition just for their own personal gain. They plan to use the expedition as a platform to raise awareness of the challenges that Africa faces as a developing region in the 21st century, while also raising funds for a variety of charities. The duo also hopes that their journey will inspire others to get off the couch, head outside and find some adventures of their own.
The start date for the expedition has not been announced yet, but you can follow the team’s progress on their Facebook page and Twitter feed. They’ve also just launched their Kickstarter campaign in an effort to raise funds to support their efforts.
By Kraig Becker
[Photo Credit: Jialiang Gao]