In 2010, we followed Australian adventurer Tom Smitheringale on a solo attempt to reach the North Pole, a journey during which he suffered frostbite while struggling with the grueling demands of the arctic. Now, Tom has traded in those frigid conditions for a decidedly warmer adventure, this time taking on the Sahara Desert in Egypt.
A few days ago, Tom set out on a 2500km (1553 mile) journey that begins with him paddling the length of the Nile River, starting at the border of Egypt and the Sudan and continuing to the Great Pyramids in Cairo. From there, he’ll travel to Luxor, where he’ll join a Bedouin tribe as they enter the Western Desert in a camel caravan, following an ancient trade route that will eventually end at the famed Siwa Oasis. That portion of Tom’s journey will be 1300km (807 miles) in length, taking him into the deepest part of the desert with the people that know it best.
You’ll be able to follow along with Tom’s journey through his blog, which he has already updated several times, or by joining his Facebook page. Setting out from the temple of Abu Simbel a few days ago, it has already been a challenge dealing with heat and long days out on the water, yet he writes about the people who live along the river, many of whom come out to wave at him as he passes by.
Tom is undertaking this expedition in support of the Starlight Children’s Foundation of Australia, a non-proft that works to help make the lives of seriously ill children and their families, better.
Having traveled through Egypt, and along the Nile where Tom is currently paddling, I can tell you that it can be incredibly hot there. One of the days that I was in the Aswan area the temperature soared above 125ºF/51ºC. On top of that, the sun is very intense, and if you’re not use to the heat, it can be extremely draining on your body. But that said, it is a fascinating place to visit, as their are settlements scattered along the banks of the river, and ancient ruins throughout the journey as well. Egypt is a magical place, and it should be interesting to see it through Tom’s eyes as he continues to make progress.
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