Book Review – Walking The Nile

Walking The Nile
By Levison Wood
Simon & Schuster
Rating: ****

Former soldier Levison Wood embarks on one of the last great explorations and attempts to conquer one of the world’s last firsts. 

His epic journey of almost 4,000 miles on foot along the world’s longest river will go down in the history of exploration. Following in the footsteps of the earliest humans and the legends of African exploration, he camps in the wild, forages for food and fends for himself against multiple dangers. 

From the source of the Nile In the forests of Rwanda to its mouth on Egypt’s Mediterranean coast, he passes through rainforests, savannah, swamp, desert and lush delta oasis. He crosses six very different countries, immersing himself in the people and the stories of modern-day Africa.


I have recently been really enjoying reading memoirs especially about exploration and nature and Walking The Nile by Levison Wood ticked all these boxes for me. This book has been sat on my shelf for about two years, I am so glad I finally picked it up and read it because it is a really fascinating and inspiring read.

Levison Wood takes up the mammoth challenge that no person on earth has done before, to walk the entire length of the River Nile. Walking around 4,000 miles, crossing 6 different countries in just over 9 months. Levison’s walk is not an easy one and at times this book isn’t easy to read.

Who is this Levison Wood anyway I hear you ask? Levison was a British Army Officer until 2010 when he took up the career of journalism and photography, his expeditions have thus helped him become a best selling author he has travelled and recorded findings from over 80 countries. Levison re-joined the army in 2012 serving as a reservist Major in the 77th Brigade.

Levison’s journey is admirable, fascinating and wonderful to read. I learnt a lot about Africa and it’s history, especially regarding wars especially regarding Sudan. As he travels through Sudan you can see just how fragile the country is with politics and religion playing huge factors. His journey through Sudan had me on the edge of my seat, Government spies, rebels with guns, he was at the brink of death many times.

Levison not only had to conquer Sudan but also border controls, finding water (desperately at times) getting arrested, the heat of the African sun and hostile Government spies. As well as putting his body through the hell of walking hundreds of miles day after day.

This book isn’t all negatives and heart wrenching moments, Levison makes many friends along the way especially with his main guide Boston. He meets a lot of friendly people who let him stay and sleep in their small villages and eat their food. The kindness of people surprised me when they live in such hostile and dangerous environments, especially to a stranger who can’t even speak their language.

I must say Africa still doesn’t have a place in my heart, I don’t think I want to travel there anytime soon but this book has really opened my eyes to a lot of Africa’s past, present and future, seeing how people live and survive in each country, how war has and still effects thousands of people on a daily basis and how fragile each country is to tipping into another war.

If you enjoy reading memoirs and want to learn more about Africa I highly recommend this book. Has anyone ever read any Levison Wood’s novels or watched any of his documentaries? Katie x

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