(By Kyle Henning) After nearly nine months of walking through six countries, Levison Wood has reached the shores of the Mediterranean Sea in North Africa on August 30th. With a surprise greeting from his parents in Rasheed, Egypt, he ended his 5,000km trek by running into the sea with the flag of his native United Kingdom draped around his shoulders.
Lev’s trek began in December 2013 at the source of a small stream in Rwanda, which feeds into the Kagera River in the Nyungwe Forest. This starting point is the furthest known source of water that flows into Lake Victoria. With his guide Boston, the duo trekked as close to the riverbank as possible through Rwanda and Tanzania, then followed the shores of Lake Victoria to the town of Jinja in Uganda where the White Nile begins. From there, they followed the river north into South Sudan.
After Lev and Boston parted ways in Juba, Lev continued north by himself. The situation soon became unsafe as he entered areas devastated by armed conflict and food shortages. With few options, he returned to Juba and flew north to Sudan where he met his new guide, Moez. Together, they began walking from the southern border toward Khartoum, utilizing donkeys and camels to carry their drinking water as they crossed the Sahara Desert.
Following the river wasn’t always possible. They were forced around the Merowe Dam, a piece of critical hydroelectric infrastructure in northern Sudan, but rejoined the shores of the Nile eight days later. Lev would often cross the river by boat, following either bank as needed.
Lev has been transparent on his Facebook page about skipping a few hundred kilometers in northern South Sudan and occasional high-security areas along the river. Despite these barriers being beyond his control, he was given special permission by the Egyptian government to continue his walk along the shores of Lake Nasser. The traditional border crossing from Sudan into Egypt is by water. A dam in Egypt slows the flow of the Nile to form Lake Nasser, which is navigated by ferries connecting Wadi Halfa, Sudan to Aswan, Egypt. With authorization to walk the coast, Lev was able to continue following the shores on foot through areas rarely seen by outsiders.
In Egypt, Lev met up with his third guide, Turbo. Together they followed the fertile and developed Nile River shores through the ancient capital of Luxor, and eventually to Cairo. Beyond the city, the Nile becomes a delta with two main channels to the sea. Lev followed the longer of the two, Rosetta, to the town of Rasheed on the coast.
Lev’s journey has been documented through photos and video. Being a photographer himself, Lev created most of his own content in the remote areas of his expedition. A camera crew met him at various points in the journey, including his final days in northern Egypt. Channel 4 in the UK plans to air a special about his trek in January 2015.
Levison Wood, 31, is a full time explorer and photo-journalist, and has recently escorted film crews as safety guard in hostile areas. He has studied East African history and geography for over ten years and led expeditions across the continent. Lev has travelled in over 80 countries and has recently returned from walking across Madagascar. Lev is a former Captain in the British Parachute Regiment where he served in Afghanistan in 2008. He is a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and an accomplished public speaker.
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