Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Walking the Nile Update: Into Egypt

Last week, explorer Levison Wood reached another milestone on his Walking the Nile Expedition when he crossed the border between Sudan and Egypt. It is his sixth, and final, country in Wood's attempt to walk the entire length of the Nile, which he launched last fall. With his arrival in Egypt, Lev now faces approximately 1600 km (995 miles) before he reaches the finish line at the mouth of the river as it flows into the Mediterranean Sea.

According to a dispatch posted late last week, the border crossing took place aboard a slow, crowded, and very hot ferry. It took nearly 20 hours for the boat to reach Aswan in southern Egypt, where Wood could begin walking once again. Ahead of hims is another long stretch of the river of course, but also a bit of uncertainty. Egypt has had its share of unrest over the past few years, and hopefully there will be no issues for the Brit as he makes his way north. It is my understanding that the country is most dangerous in Cairo itself, which is still some weeks off.

When Levison set out late last year, he had every intention of walking the entire 6853 km (4258 miles) length of the river. Not long after he began his trek however, civil war broke out in South Sudan, and the country was incredibly dangerous when he arrived there. Determined to press on, he entered South Sudan and continued his walk along the Nile. But as he traveled across the conflict riddled country, he ran into problems in the town of Bor, and was expelled from the country by the South Sudanese government in an effort to protect him from the ongoing fighting there. As a result, Wood was unable to walk approximately 645 km (400 miles) of the river, so even as he approaches the finish line, he'll have a section of river that remains unfinished.

There are still weeks of travel ahead of Lev, who will now walk along the Nile Valley through the Sahara Desert. Having visited this section of the Nile myself, I can tell you that it is quite fertile along the river, but the harsh desert conditions begin not far from its banks. The desert brings incredibly high temperatures as well, which will almost certainly have an impact on his journey as well.

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