As expected, British adventurer Levison Wood completed his attempt to walk the length of the Nile River this past weekend, reaching the Nile Delta on Saturday. That point marked the end of a 9-month journey that passed through six countries, and covered about 3800 miles (6115 km), during which Wood faced numerous challenges, including difficult terrain, extreme heat, hostile locals, and the death of a journalist who was covering his adventure.
The journey began back in December, when Wood set out from the furthest source of the Nile River located the highlands of Rwanda. His journey would take him into Burundi, Tanzania, Uganda, South Sudan, Sudan, and eventually Egypt.
Contrary to some reports that you’ll read, Wood did not walk the entire length of the Nile as he had originally intended. When he initially began his walk, the route was relatively secure by African standards, but not long after getting underway, civl war broke out in South Sudan. While traveling there, he ran into trouble in the town of Bor. The region was a horrific war zone when Lev reached that point, and the South Sudanese government decided to expel him for his own safety. As a result, he missed approximately 450 miles, which means that despite his best efforts, he wasn’t able to walk uninterrupted from source to sea. The civil war continues to rage in South Sudan, so it isn’t safe for Wood to go back there now and cover those lost miles, but he has said on more than one occasion that he would like to do just that when the opportunity arises.
War-torn South Sudan wasn’t the only major challenge to the expedition. Levison was close to abandoning the entire journey after American journalist Matthew Power died while trekking through Uganda. Power was there to cover the story when he suffered heat stroke, and perished in a remote corner of the country. It was enough to cause Wood to take a break from the walk, and take stock of why he was out there. Eventually, he found the determination to continue on, but it was an eye-opening experience to say the least.
I want to take this opportunity to congratulate Lev for reaching the end of his journey. The Adventure Blog was one of the first outlets to pick up on the Walking the Nile expedition, first writing about it nine months before he would set off on the journey. At that time, Lev was to have a companion on his trek, but eventually it became a solo adventure. Over the months that followed, I wrote about a number of the milestones he reached along the way, and it is good to see that he has safely reached the end at long last.