(By Kyle Henning) Levison Wood is in Khartoum, Sudan after more than 150 days of ‘Walking the Nile’ from source to sea. The 6,650km trek has so far taken him and his initial guide, Boston, from a spring in the Rwandan rainforest to Lake Victoria in Tanzania, then followed the White Nile through Uganda and South Sudan. They have been following the riverbank as closely as possible, crossing the river five times in the process.
South Sudan, a country teetering on civil war, was tense from the moment they entered. The road from the Uganda border was lined with landmines – dangerous relics from the fight for independence from Sudan. Lev and Boston passed a United Nations IDP camp in Tomping where 20,000 people are housed in hard conditions. Juba, the capital city, was enforcing a nighttime curfew. The crises in South Sudan and neighboring Central African Republic have together displaced 1.8 million people, further destabilizing the region.
Boston returned home from Juba, while Lev continued alone for another 200km to the town of Bor on the east bank of the river. He was immediately detained by a soldier, for his own protection, and placed in a safe compound. He was given a tour of the bank and market, both of which had been devastated by rebel fighting.
Lev decided to return to Juba since the risk of heading any further north was too high. He opted to fly north to Khartoum, Sudan and then backtracked to the South Sudan border. From there, Lev began walking north with his new guide, Moez, who will accompany him the next 1,500km through Sudan. In the city of Kosti, the pair bought two bicycles to push alongside them so they could carry enough water for walking in the Sahara Desert. The bicycles turned out to be in such poor condition that they traded them for two donkeys to carry the loads.
After 12 days of walking from the border, Lev and Moez are now in Khartoum, Sudan. The city lies where the White Nile from Tanzania and the Blue Nile from Ethiopia converge, forming the Nile River. Lev has another 2,700km ahead of him to reach the Mediterranean Sea on the coast of Egypt.
Levison Wood, 31, is a full time explorer and photojournalist, and has recently escorted film crews as a 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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