In February 2012 a team of nine adventurers will set off into the wilderness of South Sudan to retrace the footsteps of the first British Explorers and be the first expedition into the world’s newest country!
It is literally the land that time forgot, a place virtually unknown to the outside world up until the 20th century, and for the past 50 years it has been off limits because of a ferocious civil war that left its people amongst the poorest on earth. Only now, after the historic battle for independence has South Sudan finally opened its doors to the first intrepid travellers.
The expedition, taking place 3 – 16 February, will be the first of its kind; aiming to summit Mount Kinyeti (3187m), Sudan’s highest peak, only ever climbed by a handful of explorers- before setting off on foot through the Nimule National park- a former battleground and hideout of the Sudanese Liberation Army. The Team will then pick up inflatable rafts and do battle with rapids, hungry crocs and hippos on a 170km journey down the least explored stretch of the river Nile flanked by thick jungle and only occasional sightings of local villagers; tribes untouched by any kind of modernity.
Pete Meredith, a famous explorer of African waterways will guide the expedition down the river. “It will certainly be an adventure. The river is only just being charted and keeps changing its course. We will just have to set up camp wherever we find a decent spot, and of course, keep an eye out for the Crocodiles.” He said with a wicked grin.
But the team will be in safe hands. Pete was the first to explore the river in 2004 when he completed his now legendary descent of the Nile and has returned on ‘recce’ trips a few times since. But this will be the first time anyone has ever attempted to combine a river trip with the mountain: In fact there is little information about the remote Imatong hills at all.
Luckily, the expedition planner and head guide Tom, a former Officer in The Parachute Regiment, has done his homework. “We came here in April and did a thorough reconnaissance and although very few people have ever ventured into the Imatongs, we will be more than prepared.” Tom, and his team from ‘Secret Compass’, a UK based expedition outfitter specialises in remote and daring trips like this, and has just come back from Afghanistan, leading a team across the Pamir mountains. They have also worked alongside government agencies, charities and TV crews in the world’s most dangerous places, so if anyone can pull it off, they can.
“What makes South Sudan so special”, he says “is the fact that it is one of the world’s last great wildernesses and is still untouched by the outside world. This won’t last long though, now that peace has finally arrived and people begin to wonder what its vast savannahs have to offer, so we will pioneer an expedition where others can follow.”
This expedition is now full, so the team isn’t accepting any more applications, but there are plenty more adventures planned for 2012. The list is impressive to say the least: A stunning trek through northern Ethiopia, a world first to cross Madagascar on foot, reaching the source of the Oxus river in Afghanistan, crossing Sumatra by foot, bike and raft and searching for Petroglyphs in Panama are but a few of the journeys lined up over the coming months. Feel free to get in touch if you want to get involved, but be warned these aren’t your average adventure tours, they are tough expeditions!
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