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Walking the Nile by Levison Wood
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Walking the Nile (edition 2015)

by Levison Wood (Author)

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1569139,147 (4.11)13
His journey is 4,250 miles long. He is walking every step of the way, camping in the wild, foraging for food, fending for himself against multiple dangers. He is passing through rainforest, savannah, swamp, desert and lush delta oasis. He will cross seven, very different countries. No one has ever made this journey on foot. In this detailed, thoughtful, inspiring and dramatic book, recounting Levison Wood's walk the length of the Nile, he will uncover the history of the Nile, yet through the people he meets and who will help him with his journey, he will come face to face with the great story of a modern Africa emerging out of the past. Exploration and Africa are two of his great passions - they drive him on and motivate his inquisitiveness and resolution not to fail, yet the challenges of the terrain, the climate, the animals, the people and his own psychological resolution will throw at him are immense. The dangers are very real, but so is the motivation for this ex-army officer. If he can overcome the mental and physical challenges, he will be walking into history...… (more)
Member:ThomasBrand
Title:Walking the Nile
Authors:Levison Wood (Author)
Info:Simon & Schuster Ltd (2015)
Collections:Your library
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Walking the Nile by Levison Wood

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At 2 o'clock this morning I flipped the last page of this incredibly enlightening armchair travel book. The author Levison Wood embarks on an incredible journey to walk the entire Nile river. Starting in Rwanda traveling North all the way to Egypt, he walks for 261 days through hell. Part Indiana Jones true adventure story, part war-time news journalism, the author encounters much more than he ever expected. Being chased by hippos and giant crocodiles, traversing the great Sahara sand dunes with camels getting lost and about to run out of water, were just a few of the adventure parts of this story. Fleeing wars, trudging through swamps and hacking his way through snake infested sweltering jungles, dodging AK47 gunfire, being arrested and being placed under surveillance by local military, is where current affairs news reporting came in to play. This eye-opening journey was scary, horrifying, and nothing but a misery. I have never read about Rwanda, Uganda, or the Sudan before so I learned an aweful lot. It's sad, terrifying, heartbreaking, and interesting, yet still a really good read! I award the book 5 stars for darn good writing and for being a riveting page-turner. I just ordered another of Wood's books; Walking the Himalayas. Can't wait! ( )
  vernefan | May 8, 2020 |
Really interesting to read ( )
  Linde1 | Apr 30, 2020 |
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 ( )
  PDCRead | Apr 6, 2020 |
This book sets out the story of Lev Wood's adventures walking the length of the Nile, from its (farthest) source in Rwanda to the Mediterranean Sea in Egypt.

This is a book about journeying, about meeting people and discovering more about the world. It's a book about hacking your way through jungles, running from hippos, leading a train of camels across the desert, finding relics of ancient civilisations, and rescuing baby monkeys.

It's also a book about Africa's problems. Corrupt governments, civil wars, genocide, spies, AIDS, drought, villages where everyone is sitting around drunk, deforestation - Lev encounters them all, and mostly lets the people he meets tell their stories of them directly.

And it is a book about failure. Lev first fails to walk the length of the Nile because of war in South Sudan - after a night where his hotel is attacked by gunmen, he leaves the country and picks up the trail in Sudan again. He also fails to cross the border into Egypt from Sudan, catches a boat along lake Nassar instead, and then drives back as far as he can to start from the Egyptian side of the border. There is no doubt in my mind that this is an epic journey to Walk The Nile, but the idealistic visions of the first days in Rwanda, of every step along the river's length, is not achieved.

It is definitely an expedition that works because of money. His guide through Egypt costs £34,000 to set up minders, guides, and government permissions. When he needs to cross the desert, he buys three camels (he sells them on later). Everywhere he goes he pays guides and porters. This is not one man striding out with a 15l backpack.

I was horrifically shocked by the sudden death of Matt Power. The book had been mostly jungles and jolly japes, and he seemed so prepared, and so similar to me, with his water bladder and expedition food. The fact you can just die from walking in the terrible heat - 49 degrees! - shocked me to the core.

I was also a little bit taken aback when I realised Lev Wood is exactly my age! I have not walked the entire length of the Nile, and he did it about ten years ago. ( )
  atreic | Feb 10, 2020 |
At one point, Levison Wood says that “exploration has always been about more than pure discovery or of being the first to do something." His travelogue, WALKING THE NILE, speaks to that thought. Despite his obvious admiration for the explorers who preceded him, his focus on this 4,000+ mile, 9-month adventure is about much more than geography. In fact geography seems to be incidental in the age of Google Earth. Instead he gives us a fascinating collection of stories about the history, culture, climate, terrain, fauna, and especially the people of the region.

There is much to admire about the people Wood met on his journey. They are struggling under incredibly adverse conditions including kleptocracies, civil strife, disease and poverty. Yet one can’t help but agree with Wood’s sentiment about their hospitality and concern for his welfare. "I also saw how incredibly hospitable they were to a man walking through Africa.” Villagers offered to build him a house and find him a wife. On the last Saturday of every month, the people of Kigali perform service to maintain their city. Refugees from the Sudanese civil war do more than just make due. As one porter tells Wood, "Life goes on." Wood’s journey would not have been possible without the assistance of several pretty amazing guides and porters, the most notable being Boston Beka. In addition to providing the services for which he was paid, Boston welcomed Wood to his home and became a dear friend. He clearly wanted to travel with Wood to the Mediterranean, but was sent home for his own safety.

Of course not all that Wood encountered was pleasant. The death of the American journalist, Matt Power, from heat exhaustion was indeed tragic. It shook Levison’s resolve to its core. “I wanted to be anywhere but here, thinking of the man who had died so that he could write about me on my indulgent, pointless, selfish trek.” Other bad experiences can be viewed as minor by comparison, but seen together, they demonstrate a level of commitment to adventure that few could match. Trekking in the Sahara with little water, camping in an abandoned prison that was a massacre site, bypassing the Sudd swamp because of the obvious danger from a very hot war, the need to bribe corrupt officials just to walk in Egypt, and interrogation at every border crossing by secret police or child soldiers serve as examples of hardships that exceed the challenges of just walking 25-30 miles a day through some of the most inhospitable terrain on the planet.

The narrative is simple and often too matter-of-fact. Levison, after all, is not a seasoned writer but an ex-soldier. He still manages to convey a sense of adventure few would want to miss. ( )
2 vote ozzer | Nov 27, 2016 |
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For the people of the Nile.

In memory of Matthew Power.
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The moment we entered the compound, I knew things were bad.
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His journey is 4,250 miles long. He is walking every step of the way, camping in the wild, foraging for food, fending for himself against multiple dangers. He is passing through rainforest, savannah, swamp, desert and lush delta oasis. He will cross seven, very different countries. No one has ever made this journey on foot. In this detailed, thoughtful, inspiring and dramatic book, recounting Levison Wood's walk the length of the Nile, he will uncover the history of the Nile, yet through the people he meets and who will help him with his journey, he will come face to face with the great story of a modern Africa emerging out of the past. Exploration and Africa are two of his great passions - they drive him on and motivate his inquisitiveness and resolution not to fail, yet the challenges of the terrain, the climate, the animals, the people and his own psychological resolution will throw at him are immense. The dangers are very real, but so is the motivation for this ex-army officer. If he can overcome the mental and physical challenges, he will be walking into history...

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