The BBC’s latest wildlife series has been an absolute thriller. Simply called AFRICA the programme producers have overtly proclaimed that this is the ‘world’s wildest continent’. Documenting the continent from tip to toe the series has captured the stunning landscapes and wildlife that Africa has to offer and that has inspired generations of explorers over the past few centuries.
In terms of variety Africa really does live up to the billing of the world’s wildest continent – deserts, jungles, open plains, mountains, great lakes, stunning coast line – Africa has it all. From the Sahara to the Congo basin, Africa not only does variety but it also does scale on an almost unimaginable level. The peaks of the rift valley rise to heights at which permanent ice fields alone can survive whilst thousands of metres of below the legendary plains of East Africa stage the most diverse migration of large mammals to be found anywhere on the globe.
This diversity and scale made Africa a magnet for the famous explorers of the 19th century, most famously David Livingstone and Henry Morton Stanley. Their expeditions ‘into the interior’, and the meeting between the two men on the shores of Lake Tanganyika, remains the stuff of legend. Although there are few if any ‘blank spaces’ on the map these days, their exploits continued to inspire explorers. Indeed, Tim Butcher’s epic journey down the Congo River sought to directly recreate Stanley’s expedition down the same stretch of river. The deeply unstable political situation in the Congo was a factor which added considerably to the challenge of Tim’s journey. Whilst this instability is an unavoidable feature of any modern long distance expedition in Africa it also ensures that these attempts will provide a vast range of experiences!
Secret Compass’s experiences in Africa have all resulted in epic adventures to date; from being the first tourist group to visit the world’s newest nation, South Sudan, to pioneering tourism in the remote hinterland of Sierra Leone and our world first trek across Madagascar, all of our African expeditions have been characterised by the beauty of the landscapes, the warmth of the people and not a little bureaucracy! Looking forward, we are hugely excited about rafting the legendary Blue Nile in Uganda, returning to Madagascar to explore new routes and a crossing of the Bayuda desert with Africa’s pre-eminent desert explorer – Michael Asher. On top of this our very own Lev Wood and Simon Clark will be embarking on their attempt to become the first men to ever walk the full length of the Nile. 2013 will certainly have more than a hint of an African flavour for Secret Compass…