Levison Wood Walks Along The Nile: 6 Countries, 3,750 Miles, 7 Million Steps

Nearly a year ago, in December 2013, photojournalist Levison Wood embarked on an ambitious journey. He was determined to become the first person to explore the length of the Nile River, walking every step of the way.

Wood began his travels in Rwanda and made his way through Tanzania, Uganda, South Sudan, Sudan, and Egypt by walking 20 miles a day over a nine-month period. The total journey measured 3,750 miles (around 7 million steps), passing through diverse landscapes defined by their people, wildlife, misty swamps, never-ending mountains, and vast dry deserts.

“Walking the Nile is not just the most memorable and demanding expedition I’ve ever undertaken, but an amazing opportunity for me to report on all the incredibly positive stories that come out of Africa,” Wood said, before setting out on his journey. “It will be both physically and mentally challenging, pushing me to the limit of human boundaries which requires a level of resilience and determination that cannot be prepared for but, despite the inherent risks, I’m looking forward to the challenge.”

Levison Wood Walks Along The Nile: 6 Countries, 3,750 Miles, 7 Million Steps  - ClapwayPhoto Courtesy of facebook.com/WalkingTheNile

Throughout the nine months, the British explorer faced multiple setbacks including being robbed at gunpoint, evacuating a war zone, and almost getting eaten by crocodiles. These life or death situations didn’t intimidate him though: It was necessary to make the trip on foot, he noted, as it’s the only way to really understand a country.

“It’s been the most epic adventure I could ever have imagined and I feel extremely privileged to have been able to undertake it,” he said. “I couldn’t have made it without the kindness and generosity of the amazing people I have met along the way.”

Wood recognized that his survival was often contingent on the hospitality of locals, noting that the people of the Sudan were the most giving of all. Wood spent some nights sleeping outdoors, and others lodging with a local villager. And food—well food wasn’t always available: In Uganda, he spent two days without eating.

Levison Wood Walks Along The Nile: 6 Countries, 3,750 Miles, 7 Million Steps  - ClapwayPhoto Courtesy of facebook.com/WalkingTheNile

During the final leg of the expedition, Wood made it halfway through South Sudan where he had to stop due to a Civil War. Upon arriving at Bor, the front line of the war, he was arrested and threatened by the army commander: If he crossed into the rebel side, he would die. Wood was then evacuated to the capital and flew to North Sudan, missing out on 400 miles of his journey in order to stay alive. Had he continued, he would have likely achieved a Guinness World Record, though he attests the record’s unimportance.

Wood was mostly alone during his journey, though at times joined by a local guide and a film crew from the UK’s Channel 4 as the network is planning to release a documentary on his travels.

The documentary Walking the Nile will be released in early 2015 on Channel 4 and Animal Planet, along with a book of the same title.

And someday, he plans to fill in that missing 400-mile stretch in South Sudan. Till then.

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