British man treks Nile length on foot

Reem Gehad , Sunday 31 Aug 2014

Levison Wood becomes the first person to succeed in completing a long journey along the Nile River and is celebrated in Egypt

levison wood
Levison Wood at the mouth of the Nile in Rosetta, Egypt. (Photo courtesy of "Walking the Nile" Facebook page)

A British man became the first person to travel the length of the Nile, the world's longest river, on foot and was celebrated in Egypt on Saturday.

Levison Wood, a former British army captain, started his arduous journey last December at the mouth of the Nile in Rwanda. Walking for 229 days, Wood completed five thousand kilometers through six countries and finally reached the mouth of the Nile at Rosetta, Egypt on Saturday.

"Time to rest my weary feet," Wood said in a post on his "Walking the Nile" Facebook page after completing the challenge.

A press conference was held later at the Library of Alexandria to mark the success of Wood's journey.

Egypt's Alexandria and Beheira governors presented Wood with memorial trophies; the Consul-General of the UK was also in attendance.  

Wood's trek through Africa was not free of dangers as he passed through areas stricken with violence.   

Wood told The Guardian earlier in August that he felt his life was in danger days after he arrived in South Sudan as war broke out between supporters of the president, Salva Kiir, and his deputy, Riek Machar.

He told the British daily that the violence he saw "was the worst I'd ever seen," despite serving in Afghanistan with the British army in 2008.

For Wood, Egypt, by comparison, was an easier part of his journey. However, two police cars trailed him for the majority of his time.

"[It was] a bit annoying, because sometimes they were right next to me. But it's helpful because it allows me to get through the roadblocks," he told The Guardian.

Egypt's security apparatus has been working under scrutiny since the military-led ouster of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi last year which has sparked nationwide unrest.

Short briefs, photos and videos of Wood's journey were frequently posted on the project's website where he also says he felt inspired by British explorers who travelled inside Africa in the nineteenth century.

"This expedition will not only be a feat of endurance but also a means to raise awareness about some of the contemporary issues that face Africa in the twenty first century," he said.

"It also aims to inspire more people to set off on their own adventures and continue pushing human boundaries."

Wood dedicated the money raised along his journey to four charity organizations, Tusk Trust, AMECA, ABF, The Soldier's Charity and Space for Giants, hat care for African communities, wildlife and the British military.

The Nile River is the longest river on earth, stretching for over six thousand kilometers with nine basin countries.

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