Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Walking The Nile Update: End In Sight For Levison Wood

The end of the journey is now in sight for Levison Wood, the British explorer who has spent the past nine months walking the Nile River in Africa. A month ago I posted that he Lev had passed into Egypt, the final country on his grand walking tour. And now, just a few weeks later, he is approaching the Nile Delta at last. In fact, according to his most recent status updates on Facebook, he should reach the Mediterranean Sea by this Saturday.

It has been a long, strange journey for Wood, who started his walk last November, and will have covered more than 4000 miles (6430 km) by the time he reaches the Delta. The journey started in the highlands of Rwanda, which is where the furthest source of the Nile is located. From there, the expedition took him into Burundi, across Tanzania, and Uganda, before eventually arriving in South Sudan, the war ravaged nation that had been relatively quiet before he set out on his journey. Lev's walk along the Nile was disrupted at that point, when he ran into trouble and was forced to leave the country. He resumed his trek northward in Sudan, but ended up missing approximately 400 miles (645 km) along his intended route, and due to the ongoing conflict in South Sudan, he won't be able to go back and complete those missing miles for sometime.

Wood reached Egypt back in late July, and told a reporter for The Guardian that it has been the most relaxed stretch of the expedition by far. He says it has been easy to find places to stay, the people are friendly, and the food is good, and plentiful. That hasn't been the case through parts of the trek however, as he has faced difficult terrain, suspicious locals, and grueling heat. The Guardian article says that at one point in Sudan temperatures rose above 62ºC, which equates to nearly 144ºF, which if true would exceed the highest temperature ever officially recorded. In addition to facing the civil war in South Sudan, there have been other set-backs as well. For instance, in March, a reporter traveling with Wood died of heatstroke in Uganda. That incident left the Brit shaken and uncertain of his plans.

But now, with the end in sight, Lev is eager to wrap things up. He has been traveling at an increased pace, and with little difficulty, since reaching Egypt, and while he has not personally witnessed any unrest, two police cars have shadowed him at all times to ensure his safety. By the weekend, that escort should see him safely to the Nile Delta, and the end of the expedition.

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