Up the Nile in 80 Days

Two New Zealanders and a Briton have redrawn the map of Africa by following the Nile River to its true source – something no explorer in history has managed before. Lake Victoria was generally believed to be the Nile’s starting point but according to Neil McGrigor, Cam McLeay and Garth MacIntyre the real source is located deep in Rwanda’s Nyungwe Forest. This makes the Nile at least 107km longer and far more winding than previously thought. The ‘Ascend the Nile’ adventurers covered 6,700km in 80 days, in a mission fraught with danger. The initial attempt was called off after the team’s driver, former British diplomat Steve Willis, was shot and killed in an attack by Ugandan rebels. The rest of the team battled tropical disease, hippos, gigantic crocodiles and raging rapids to complete the journey. “Of all countries, [Rwanda] has been one of the most incredible,” says MacIntyre. “Wherever you go, [people] appear: from banana plantations, sitting up trees, alongside us on canoes. And if we can help to put their country on the map, and to persuade people to come here, and to see what we believe to be the real source of the Nile … then it’ll be a great achievement.”

Tags: BBC News  Cam McLeay  Garth MacIntyre  Lake Victoria  Neil McGrigor  Nile River  Nyungwe Forest  Rwanda