Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Adventurer Plans to Walk the Length of the Congo River

Over the past few years we've followed Ed Stafford as he walked the length of the Amazon River, and Levison Wood as he attempted to hike the Nile River from source to sea. Both men spent months on their respective journeys, as they explored the two longest rivers in the world on foot, while simultaneously inspiring others with their efforts. Now, another British adventurer is planning to take on a similar challenge, when he attempts to trek the 4700 km (2922 mile) length of the Congo River in Africa.

The expedition is currently still in the planning stages, and isn't set to begin until the spring of 2016. That is when explorer Toby Storie-Pugh will launch his attempt to Walk the Congo, an expedition that he believes will take roughly 12-14 months to complete.

The journey will begin at the headwaters of Chambeshi River in northeastern Zambia – the very source of the might Congo River itself. From there, the river descends into the Bangweulu Swamp, before merging into the Luvua, and eventually the Lualaba Rivers. Storie-Pugh will continue along that route until he reaches the village of Kisangani, which his where the Congo officially begins. That town will mark the halfway point of the journey, with the toughest section yet to come.

From there, the route will lead into an 800-mile (1287 km) stretch of thick jungle and flooded forestland that will be incredibly difficult to pass through. That same section of the river passes along the equator, making it an incredibly hot and humid region. If Storie-Pugh and his team successfully make it through what will undoubtedly be the toughest part of the trek, they will reach Kinshasa, the capital of Democratic Republic of Congo. From there, they'll have to make one final push to the end of the river at the Atlantic Ocean.

In terms of how much water flows along the river, the Congo is second only to the Amazon. It is also the deepest river in the world, reaching depths of more than 220 meters (720 ft) at certain points. Combine the massive size of the river with the incredibly tough terrain that surrounds it, and you have a challenge more akin to Ed Staffor's walk along the Amazon, as opposed to Lev's Nile excursion.

Toby won't be completely alone on this expedition. He'll be joined by documentary filmmaker Simone Bazos, who will be documenting the project along the way. He is also taking applications for an expedition co-leader to join the squad and help see the project comes to a successful end. You can check out the qualifications for the position, and see that application by clicking here.

Before he begins training for the Congo, Toby will first head to Nepal in the spring of 2015 to attempt to climb Everest. Once that expedition is complete, he'll then turn his attention more fully on walking the Congo. If all goes according to plan, he will set off on the journey sometime in the spring of 2016.

Find out more at WalkTheCongo.com.

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