Canoeing the Congo. The First Source-to-Sea Descent of the by Phil Harwood

By Phil Harwood

At 2,922 miles, the Congo is the 8th longest river and the inner most on the planet, with a circulation price moment simply to the Amazon. Ex-Marine Phil Harwood launched into an epic solo trip from the river's actual resource within the highlands of Zambia via war-torn imperative Africa. without outdoors support whatever he confronted swamps, waterfalls, man-eating crocodiles, hippos, competitive snakes and spiders' webs the scale of homes. He collapsed from malaria, and used to be arrested, intimidated and chased. On one stretch, referred to as 'The Abattoir' for its background of cannibalism and popularity for criminality, the 4 brothers he employed as bodyguards have been requested via locals, 'Why have not you narrow his throat yet?'But he additionally obtained large hospitality from proud and courageous humans lengthy forgotten via the Western international, specifically pleasant riverside fishermen who helped anyplace they can on Phil's exhilarating and terrifying five-month trip.

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Is it me, or are we all a bit obsessed with the need to buy expensive outdoor kit? When travelling in Third World countries, part of my enjoyment is to live as simply as I can handle. As much as anything else, doing so gives you more empathy with the local people, breaks down barriers, helps build a rapport and gains respect. And it's cheaper. Why spend a fortune on a fancy ceramic water filter, when you can strain river water through your clothing and add a drop or two of iodine? Boiling is always an option, but it's a right old faff, and takes far too long.

A guy then jumped out, walked right up next to me, and started firing his AK47 indiscriminately into the desert. He then turned to me, stuck the barrel of his rifle forcefully into my stomach and stared wildly into my eyes. I noticed he hadn't put the safety catch on which wasn't good, but what worried me most was his crazy spaced-out look. He had clearly been smoking something that rhymed with podium. There was a lot of drug smuggling in this area. Again I smiled and stuck out my hand, offering to shake his, holding it there… waiting.

If you don't give up, they can rapidly transform you into a behemoth of mental strength, ready to take on the world. The first method is cold-water swimming, and I have to say it's one of the most invigorating experiences I can think of. The colder it is, the more invigorating it is. So long as you don't drop dead of a heart attack, you always feel fantastic afterwards. It's a question of mind over matter. During the winter preceding the trip, I took every opportunity to test my mettle this way, wherever I could.

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