British adventurer Chaz Powell, along with ecologist Emilie Gorse and videographer Justin True have completed an epic expedition through one of the last untamed and wild places on the planet. The trio recently wrapped up a trek along the length of the Mangoky River in Madagascar, covering some 800 km (497 miles) in the process.
Powell, Gorce, and True started the expedition along Madagascar’s western coast near the town of Manakara back on August 31 of this year. Over the next 29 days they braved the wilds of that country, following its longest river from source to sea. The first leg of the trip took them into the interior of the country following an old rail line through the jungle and into the central highlands. From there, they located the headwaters of the Mangoky, and continued east, eventually ending the trek near the town of Morombe on the coast of the Indian Ocean, completing a full traverse of the island as a result. In doing so, they became the first humans to make that journey along the length of the river.
Powell, who is no stranger to long-distance river treks having walked the length of the Gambia and Zambezi Rivers previously, said “It’s by far been one of the toughest expeditions I’ve ever taken on. A journey that has taken us through the wildest of ever changing and jaw dropping landscapes” He went on to add, “An expedition that’s seen us trekking through jungles, across mountain ranges, wading through crocodile infested waters whilst negotiating the constant security issues and threats of armed bandits.”
While exploring the Mangoky River basin and the interior of Madagascar have been big motivators for the team, the real goal has been to raise awareness of our planet’s loss of wildlife and wild lands across Africa. Powell’s efforts always focus on raising funds for the African Wildlife Foundation and this expedition was no different. To that end, he has created a JustGiving page for those who want to help support the cause.
After the expedition wrapped, in a press release announcing the completion of the journey Powell said, “The extreme heat and long distances over difficult terrain has taken its toll on all of us. We’ve lost a crazy amount of weight and we’re all mentally and physically exhausted.” Ever the optimist however, he quickly added, “But once again it’s been a journey I’ll never forget and an experience that will stay with me forever!”
Not long after the end of the expedition Powell did an interview with ExWeb sharing more details of the journey, which involved wildlife encounters, the loss of a teammate due to injury, avoiding armed bandits throughout, and a variety of other challenges. You can read that interview here.
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