First source to sea descent of the Congo River


In October 2008, I made the first ‘source to sea’ descent of the 4700km Congo River in Central Africa, from the true source in northeastern Zambia.

My book and dvd film tell the story of my five month solo journey by canadian canoe through the Democratic Republic of the Congo. I experienced swamps, waterfalls, rapids and endemic corruption. Arrested, chased, collapsing from malaria with numerous death threats I also encountered tremendous hospitality and kindness from a proud and brave people long forgotten by the western world.

“I only had to get my machete out twice to prevent myself from being robbed.”

On one stretch of river known as ‘The Abattoir’ due to its past history of cannibalism and current reputation for criminal activity, I hired four brothers with a shotgun to accompany me as bodyguards. We paddled and floated for five days and nights on the river. Common questions from locals were “why haven’t you cut his throat yet?” and “if you dont want to do it, tell us where your camping and we’ll come and do it for you ... and we’ll share his money.”

Winning a fellowship and grant from the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust, I was presented with my WCMT medal by the Duchess of Cornwall. I was also awarded the ‘Mike Jones Canoeing Award’ 2008. My trip was also recently featured in Canoe Focus magazine, Pinch, The Guardian and The Daily Telegraph.