25 March 2004

Uganda: Nile Expedition Arrives in Khartoum

Kampala — THE White Nile expedition team has successfully reached Khartoum after completing the most dangerous part of their expedition, which began in Jinja on January 17.

The group is led by Hendri Coetzee from South Africa. Members include Pauline Larre (France), Natalie McComb (New Zealand), Peter Meredith (South Africa), Daniel Prior of Britain, Bingo Small (South Africa) and Marcus Smith (Britain).

It took the team five weeks to reach Khartoum through southern Sudan. They also traversed the Sudd.

Worldwide Movers Africa, the major sponsors of the Nile Expedition 2004, said they were proud to be associated with the venture, which encompasses the best of Africa exploration tradition.

"The possibility of navigating the Nile in its entirety of 6,690km, including traversing dangerous, new and unchartered river stretches, white water rapids and cataracts, encountering wildlife like the unruly hippos and rafting through the Sudd and infested marshland, makes this venture worthy of support," the sponsors said in a statement.

They said this was also an attempt to promote peace, goodwill and stability in a region that has, in part, experienced long term civil war, famine, drought and as a result, vast civilian displacement over a long period of time.

The team is using two rafts, the Worldwide Princes and the Hapi.

It is also equipped with Satellite Communication and air band radio equipment, solar power, global positioning unit, tents and sleeping bags. They are also carrying medical supplies and food loaded in Jinja.

This will be the first time in history that the Nile will be navigated in its entirety. One of the objectives of the expedition is to explore a region rich and diverse with a human cultural history stretching back 6,000 years.

The statement said interviews had been conducted with parties involved in the peace process on the river and also with communities such as the members of the Dinka clan and the Monythany tribe and others along the route and within the Sudd.

It said communities along the Nile highlighted their challenges affecting their livelihoods and issues relating to river pollution in Egypt.

The team is expected to arrive in Cairo and Alexandria in late June or early July.

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