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Walking the Nile

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Almost immediately the landscape changed from farmland and burned bush to pristine savannah forest, thick and untamed. Murchison Falls National Park, also known as Kabarega National Park is Uganda’s biggest nature reserve and home to a wealth of rare and endangered wildlife. Yes, we certainly worry but he is leading the lifestyle he wishes to follow and in that we have always supported him.

His nine-month journey takes him through jungles, savannah, deserts, cities and war zones in some of the continent’s most remote and spectacular locations.Captain Wood attended Painsley High school in Cheadle before going onto Nottingham University and then onto the Royal military College at Sandhurst where he trained with Prince Harry. As we arrive in yet another unpronounceable Sudanese village, I spot what looks like an internet café, so taking the opportunity to phone my family back in Forsbrook I find with joy an immediate connection and someone at home. It’s hard to imagine that the last leg in Uganda is drawing to a close as we cover the 34km across the hills of Achioli land after crossing the Nile again to the east bank. It has brought a new dimension to the expedition and I’m looking forward to reaching Khartoum and crossing the Sahara.

To make matters worse the Sudd must be achieved before the heavy seasonal rains fall in May, so time is running out and any further delay could seriously jeopardise the whole course of the expedition. Audrey Hepburn and Humphrey Bogart also stayed at the hotel whilst they were shooting the 1951 adventure film ‘The African Queen’.We know that he would never have taken this course lightly and covering the distance would present no problem what so ever. Rather they appeared to be walking blind and in a daze to their surroundings, being far too busy escaping their recent past by constantly urging their children to hurry along.

While I won’t be able to walk this stretch of the Nile I will carry on with the expedition on the other side of the war zone – and one day, in more peaceful times, come back and fill in the gap. Being a Nubian and proud of his culture our conversation turns to the building of dams on the Nile, which he believes will destroy his country and its people. The early part of the evening is spent resting our aching limbs on a string bed whiler listening to the gentle symphony produced by the humming sound of diesel generators somewhere in the distant darkness. The latest venture being undertaken by the Rwandan Government is the Nyaborongo hydro electric dam that Captain Wood was asked to traverse before it opens in two years time.The country is the newest political entity in the world, having only come into being in July 2011, when it gained independence from its northern counterpart. Accompanied by an early morning mist the road weaved its way through a maze of shacks that lined the highway as we headed into the northern bush. Levison said: “I was overwhelmed by the large number of people who turned up simply to shake our hands. Deciding that we may not be too popular with the local people we push on with an additional spring in our heels and cover the 31 kilometres to Obangi by mid afternoon. His travel companions believe the cause of death was heatstroke, but we won’t know more until an autopsy is completed.

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