They’ve done it

British and New Zealand Expedition Team find the longest source of the Nile!

Ascend the Nile, the British/New Zealand Expedition team have reached the longest source of the Nile. They did so at 9.27 Rwanda time (8.27 BST). In doing so they became the first to pinpoint the longest source of the Nile, located deep in the Nyungwe Forest in Rwanda, East Africa and the first people to have ascended the complete Nile from sea to source.

The team travelled over 6,700km in three, tiny 4m boats, survived a rebel attack which killed one of their aides and overcame huge obstacles including the crash of their Flying RIB, massive rapids, crocodile charges, serious tropical diseases and horrendous logistics.

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They have spent 80 days on the River Nile and been through five African countries. The last part of the Expedition saw them abandon their tiny boats and trek some 70km through thick Forest, sometimes being forced to wade in the fast running Nile.

In reaching the source Neil McGrigor and his New Zealand team mates, Cam McLeay and Garth MacIntyre have not only located the longest source’s precise position they have also achieved a number of other world firsts.

The first and longest journey in the 4m inflatable boats known as Zap Cats.

The first to re-measure the entire length of the Nile. The Ascend the Nile team now believe it to be at least 107 km longer than previously thought, an interesting thought for compilers of school atlases and encyclopaedias!

The first non inhabitants to travel through and map the Sudd, a vast swamp in Sudan.

The team will now travel to the Rwandan capital Kigali where a hero’s welcome will greet them. Hundreds of local people have been flooding down to the river as the team passed in the Zap Cats. At one stage the team were forced to erect a fence around their camp as the crowds kept getting bigger and bigger as news of their arrival spread

The Rwandan Government has supported the team since they entered the country and has been quick to acknowledge the team’s incredible achievements. The Nyungwe Forest is an important part of their fledgling tourism industry. This Expedition and discovery will also reinforce the positive image which the country is trying to build

Minutes after Neil McGrigor arrived at the source he said” It’s an awesome achievement by the whole team. The planning and preparation has all paid off. My thanks go to everyone who has made this possible and especially the guides and local people who are with us now at the source.”

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