The long road to Addis

Ethiopia 2005 Pt. 1

Arriving at the Pimlico apartment of a renowned explorer and British Army Colonel, I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect. Signing up with a friend from University, this was an informal interview, supposedly to see if we were reliable characters. The expedition was to be 2 months long, making a descent of the Bashilo river (a tributary of the Blue Nile) beginning in the Ethiopian highlands. Hiking and camping, generally being outdoors in all weathers was nothing new to me, but travelling on an African expedition with a group of strangers would be a first.

It was early days, but poring over maps of the planned routes I had the sense I was already well and truly part of this company, despite the river guide training being yet to come and that we weren't scheduled to leave for another few months. Looking back I see what a great sense of purpose I found from knowing I was going to be a part of this, with others relying on me.

After relaying some of the history and setting out the route, my friend and I were both given a very serious and detailed lesson in the realities of expedition life. We should expect malaria, mosquitoes, tsetse flies, other biting insects, snakes, crocodiles and hippos. Not to mention the human factors, with real political unrest and bandits known to operate in the remote regions we would pass through. It was clear to us however that adventure is for those prepared to take risks, so we both knew where to sign.

05 May 2015