There are a handful of rivers that are globally known, the Amazon which spans the continent of South America and the Nile which reaches deep into Africa. It is a river that has continually challenged explorers who have dared to take it on, not all of whom have mastered it, it is 4250 miles long after all. Levison Wood decided to walk its length. Not only is it an epic challenge in its own right but he would have to pass through jungles, savannahs, crocodile infested swamps, and one of the world’s hottest deserts, some of the most hostile environments in Africa as he walked north to the Mediterranean. Not only that but the seven countries that he would walk through are some of the most troubled and dangerous places on the planet.
Thankfully Wood as an ex-army officer is a tough character and he was going to need all the skills that he learnt there to keep the physical and mental strength up. As he walks we get a commentary on the state of modern Africa as seen from the people making a living there, rather than the sanitised reports that you will read here. He doesn’t walk alone as he has guides and is joined by friends at various points of the journey.
The rest of me was scattered, back across Africa, back along the river from which I had come
Wood is an amiable bloke who can make friends quickly and has a knack of diffusing tensions when they do arise. It is an unbelievably tough journey that took no prisoners full of euphoric moments and tragedy. He took a huge personal risk in undertaking this walk, the threats were real and present every single day, but all the way though the book he shows grit, determination and resilience with all the challenges that Africa throws at him. A genuine tough guy and a great adventure book. 4.5 stars