After exploring and hiking the globe for over 16 years. Chaz Powell now lives his life as an Explorer, Expedition Leader and Survival Guide. His ongoing project ‘The Wildest Journey’ is all about his wildest journeys by foot along Africa’s wildest rivers with an aim to raise awareness for wildlife conservation and anti-poaching. In 2016/17 Chaz spent 137 days walking over 3000km from source to sea along the Zambezi River. We speak on this episode about that expedition and the struggles and excitement he had in the African Bush.

Chaz’s Website

Chaz’s Instagram

Powered by RedCircle

Latest Podcast Episodes

  • lucy-shepherd-podcast
  • mike-corey
  • elise-wortley-iran

Transcript of our Conversation

Chaz Powell – The Wildest Journey

[00:00:00] Chaz Powell – The Wildest Journey: There was one point I was walking towards the national park towards the, as MBZ national park. And there was actually a lot of signs of elephants. I could hear lions at night and things. It was really sort of wildlife based area. And as I was walking down this one track. I heard all this crushing to the side of me.

And there was a big bull elephant charging towards me.

pleasure to have you on the, Show Chaz. W hereabouts are you at the moment? I’m currently in. Warrickshire at canal Marina, my friends, let me stay on his boat here at the moment. So yeah, it’s a little place called Knapton on the grand union canal. Well, I mean, I’ve been following your journey for a number of years and I suppose for people [00:01:00] listening, probably.

Why don’t you tell us a bit about yourself, about what you do? So I’ve been traveling for about 17 years now and, I started by sort of like traveling around the world, doing sort of backpacker type. locations and things like that. And the more I’ve traveled on more extreme expeditions as well. And I guess the last sort of five years I’ve been doing a lot of Africa’s walking and a lot of Africa wildest rivers.

I walk them from the Zambezi river from 2016, 217. And I’ve done another walk along The Gambia river and what’s, what’s Madagascar following Madagascar’s longest river. I’ve just traveled. I’ve done a lot of traveling, a lot of expeditions, a lot of walking, a lot of, exploring and things like that.

And I guess it’s just something that I just keep doing. I lead expeditions as a sort of career as well and teach bushcraft and survival. [00:02:00] And yeah, just, just quite a nomadic person. Really. So how did, what sort of started this all off, because you did your big expedition in 2016, along with the rivers Zambezi, how did that all sort of start about and what, what got you to do this and why?

So does Zambezi? I I’ve been doing like an Overlander Africa in 2012 and. I sort of fell in love with Africa in general, I was doing a lot of, volunteering at wildlife sanctuaries and I was doing love, sort of travel based on wildlife and sort of, wild parts of Africa. And I sort of fell in love with it.

so that’s about eight years ago now. I’ve always done lots of little journeys or was there lots of little exhibitions, lots of walks and lots of traveling. And I always had this passion to do a really wild journey by foot. And, [00:03:00] I’ve been traveling a lot near the Zambizi Reed was a place. I, I just got more and more fond of really more interested in and intrigued with.

And I came up with the idea to. Well, it was a bit of a, it wasn’t really an idea at the time. I just thought to myself, you know, has anyone ever walked the length of the zone? Easy? Is it, is it, is this the Polish river in Africa? Is it, is it doable and more sort of ask people about it? The more people just laughed and said no things.

I just, it just, it just grew in my mind walking the length of the Zambizi, it was like an idea I had and I had a number of ideas for different walks and I was going to do another walk, the length of Madagascar. And I don’t know if you’ve heard of a guy called Ash dykes, but at the same time, I was going to go out and walk on them from Madagascar Ash dykes was also going to be doing it as well.

So I decided I wasn’t going to do it because see it wasn’t the same. If two people are doing it at a similar time, it’s not really going to work. [00:04:00] So I went back to the Zambizi idea and it was still an expedition that really sort of something I really felt like I wanted to do. And then it just, it just happened from that idea really.

And it is a Russian and because it’s the wildest river in Africa, call it the wireless journey. So Paula’s journey that I’d ever taken on in my life. It was the wireless journey that I could think of that I wanted to do. So it just seemed like the thing it’s called the wild river. what about him makes it so wild?

so it’s, it’s classed as the wireless river in Africa. I think it’s partly due to the wildlife. Different wildlife reserves along the river. There’s a lot of wildlife reserves, but also the amount of countries that goes through that are quite hostile in places is quite remote in places. Well, most of it’s remote and there’s [00:05:00] a, there’s about 150 miles section of Rapids called to the lounge.

And it’s quite fast. There’s floodplains, there’s political issues. There’s there’s a lot of, I think, yeah, most of the river. It’s just pretty wild. I don’t know why they’ve clustered as the wireless. I guess it’s partly to do with them is another reason, but I think it’s got a lot of Rapids wild sections in the river, so yeah, I think it’s, it’s, it’s just turned that name.

Maybe it’s through history as well of, of things it’s done as an idea, but it’s definitely a very wild place. Okay. And so were you, were you doing that expedition solo?

Yeah, I did. I, I sat, well, I set out with a guide who I’d managed to get on team initially. he was a local Zambian guy and, once we got out to the river, I think the reality of obviously what we were [00:06:00] going to do was too much for him. And he decided on the first day that he wasn’t going to continue the walk.

So I walked on my own, you know, 137 days. And I think at at least a hundred days, I was on my own. obviously, so wall areas and stuff like that, but people joined me for sections and things, but mostly on my own. Yeah. So in terms of the sort of locals that you encountered, I mean, you went through what, five, six countries from the sort of Congo and gala Mozambique.

DDA. how, how do the different countries sort of compare in terms of, hospitality? well, the only way the country, I got treated well in Zambia. I mean, it starts in Zambia and most of it’s in Zambia borders, it goes to Angola for a small stretch. It goes along [00:07:00] the border of Botswana and Namibia and Zimbabwe.

So I managed to be able to stay on the side of it for, for the most, most part, really in Zambia, I got treated really well. It was quite hostile and I got a few issues, but for the most part, it was really good. And Zambia to me, they treated me really well. But Mozambique was, was a bit of the opposite, really?

That was, I got treated with a lot of suspicion now that they’d obviously been in a war and things and quite, quite a difficult place to walk through. Well, so they always thought you’re a sort of Western spy or spy for the government. Yeah. Yeah. I mean, Even in Zambia, I go for a village and they’d obviously be really suspicious about why is this guy in this village and who is this person?

You know? And [00:08:00] they probably the first white person they’ve ever seen and walking through the village, they’re obviously really surprised and really sort of like shocked some of them for some kind of demon or ghost or some kind of reincarnation of David Livingston was probably the only person they actually knew all through.

Gone through that, your history. So it was, it was, they were baffled, but then once, once they sort of got over the fact, I was, obviously not a threat to them and things that they, they, they treated me really well, like a guest and invite me in and in Mozambique they’d just come out of a civil war. So it was more about suspicion and about this guy could potentially be a spy.

This guy could.

To our village. She could be a lot of why is he here? You know, more than welcoming me, things like that. So it was, it was a completely different sort of thing. [00:09:00] And so in terms of walking, cause it’s what, 2,500 or kilometers the river. Yeah, it’s about two and a half thousand. I think with diversions, I probably did about 3000 kilometers or something like that, but it was, it was, yeah, it’s a big old river.

What was the reason for the sort of diversions away? Was it just flood planes or was it flood floodplains? I have to see exac and things and go round. And there was like walking through swamps for a couple of weeks and that’s keep going. Trying to walk around the swampy areas and divert round national parks as well.

Sometimes as a huge national park, I wasn’t allowed to walk around on the roads. people’s properties, you know, farms, you know, swamped. and it was so many things I had to make diversions for. And [00:10:00] it was really, it was really tricky to stay by the rivers. You can expect a river. He’s going to be able to grow and there’s going to be wildlife.

There’s going to be really super difficult areas to walk through. So I found that I had to keep me even the way maybe go up Hills and around mountainous areas. And it was just really tricky next. And, and any issues with the wildlife there. the wildlife, I didn’t really have much issue many issues with it.

I mean, it was, it was a few times I was really sort of on edge cause I’d be walking through areas where there’s a lot of buffaloes and elephants and there was lion prints and leopard prints and things everywhere. And there was one point I was walking towards the national park towards the lowers MBZ national park and.

There was actually a lot of signs of elephants. I could hear lions at night and things [00:11:00] while I faced area. And as I was walking down this one track, I heard all this crashing to the side of me, and there was a big bull elephant charging toward me. And, luckily I had sort of a dip next to me on the other side of the land and I managed to climb down and sort of get away from this bull elephant.

And, stuff like that happens, you know, there was, there was a lot of close encounters, a lot of real, dicey moments, you know, there was lines in there where I was campaign. And then there was some, there was a lot, there was a lot of wildlife sort of potential problems, but I was just really lucky. I think anyone is walking in the Bush, you know, it’s, it’s, it’s difficult if you’re going to come across.

And luckily I didn’t really.

I mean an aggressive bull elephant is a pretty terrifying, I mean, I’ve [00:12:00] been, I’ve been chased by one, but I was in a car. So I suddenly felt a little bit more at ease having the accelerator ready to go, but walking in the Bush or on your own, or with a guide and being chased must be quite something. Yeah.

Yeah. It was. Yeah, I mean, I was told as I was leading up to this part, I shouldn’t be in the area, so I knew I shouldn’t be there. I knew I was potentially going to be in danger, but because you’re trying to walk and you’re trying to get to a safer place. You haven’t got much choice unless you’re going to get a vehicle.

I was quite stubborn that I obviously wanted to get walking. So the more I would put myself into these places, the more risk I was obviously out, and it was pretty scary. And I knew that. That was potentially going to come into homes, but yeah, also quite stubborn turned to keep walking. You know, there was [00:13:00] times when I had guides as well.

It was certain areas. I had to have a guide that was, I wouldn’t have been allowed to walk through, but obviously I was on a bit of a budget as well. So these, these companies and these, these ranges and things, they’re not going to do stuff for free. So.

Was that expedition? self-funded or did you have sponsors with you? no sponsors. Yeah. It was all self. The zombies was all self-funded. I just, it was just something I really wanted to do and I just send it out. Yeah. I wasn’t funded at all. I just saved, saved my money and I just, just went out and did it.

Yeah, that was, I mean, I worked for an exhibition company. Paid for my flights and things. which, well, I worked out there before and I got a flight back with them sort of thing, but there was no, there was no money being paid. There was no sponsorship, no grants, no funding, no, [00:14:00] no anything. And it was just a case of once I had all my stuff on my back and I was obviously on the expedition, I didn’t really need it need anything else I just had was in my bag and just.

Yeah, so you need a pair of feet and a backpack ready to go. It’s overanalyze it. Isn’t it. It’s easy to think you need more than you do. And once you’ve got what you’ve got and don’t really need anything else really softer. So go with the flow. Hope things work out really. I suppose, on some of my expeditions, I have one that Springs to mind is my trip across Kenya is the locals are usually, just couldn’t be more friendly and hospitable.

But in your case, they, you were sort of treated with suspicion. In most cases, it was only one Zambia [00:15:00] said, yeah, It was the biggest part of the biggest part of that expedition was Zambia. I think because I was in such remote areas that they did, they didn’t see anybody else, you know, they didn’t have these visitors coming into the village.

And I think then places that was, that was, you know, right there was suspicion. Rightly so because of. They wouldn’t, you wouldn’t expect this person to be walking through the, of tourist or whatever it is. We have a backpack walking through a village and they’d obviously want to know why you’re here. What are you doing?

And I don’t know if it was, it wasn’t necessarily hostile. It was just like real confusion for them. And they might have been, they were a bit scared that, you know, they might be in danger, maybe. I don’t know, but it was. You know, for the most part in touristy areas and whatever else I’d be treated amazingly, you know, the closer I got to sort of civilizations I’d be treated very well and there [00:16:00] wasn’t any issues, but Mozambique, I think it’s a different sort of place, you know, there is pop probably, I always imagined big, really friendly, but I couldn’t walk anywhere without getting harassed.

Really. The police would stop, man. I had to literally take my bag up. MTFE now asked me for my passport, asked me for money and, I didn’t, you know, I really struggled in Mozambique. I literally sat in the police station for hours and they’d be questioning me and, and that, and it all boiled down to, they just, they were just doing this and they, they wanted, they wanted money in order to let me just walk or go wherever, you know, there, there, obviously there was good people, definitely was good people, but.

I think they just, they’ve just been through a hard time. They’ve been through difficult times and they, that was how they lived, you know, they, they, they, yeah, I dunno. It was, it was, it’s a tricky one. It’s a [00:17:00] difficult one to talk about because these things obviously really sort of in your face when you’re there.

And, you know, I got, I got actually chucked in a room and hold for three days in one village and. I got Tracy to a stage where I was trying to obviously the good person all the time and treat them well. And it was just, I was just real suspicion and real sort of, yeah, we all sort of hostility in, in, in some of the areas.

And I think about why is it happening? And. Focus on the fact that they have been through a difficult time. And I shouldn’t really be walking through the village. I am classed as being obviously, maybe a fret to their village. They don’t know who I am. They don’t know why I’m there. They can’t speak the same language as me.

They can’t understand why I’d be there to sort of put myself into these modes every time that I was getting hot [00:18:00] hostility to send, obviously to them, sort of. Yeah. Justify why, why I was getting treated maybe the way I was just sort of be patient with them and get through them times. And then, you know, the good times when I was getting treated really, really well, obviously magnified because of the difficult times I’ve had in different areas and things like that.

If that was sort of motivated you to sort of keep going when you had these hard, hard times. Yeah, I think you get to the stage where you put yourself through real difficult moments, and then you do have an incentive to sort of then say, right, I’m going to reach this place tomorrow. And if I just keep putting off in a really nice area where I can get some food or I can relax and I can not compete around sort of, you know, maybe a, a nicer environment and potential.

Yeah. There was those incentives. One of the strange things that. Even myself, [00:19:00] myself, Tim, and I’m on the boat with he, he walked The Gambia river with me. So he’s also an Explorer type of person as well. But we, we always used to give ourselves an incentives of getting into a place where, how to shop, you know, just to, just to shop.

And then if they had any kind of culture drinks, that would be our, that would be our biggest. That was strangely our biggest incentive, a cold drink, anywhere that had a fridge in any way that. Because we, we literally just drink hot river water the whole time. It was just river water every day, you know, and if we saw a shop renew, there might be a shop in a village or a little town that we’d be like, right.

There’s a shop two days time, we’re going to beat your shop. There’s going to be a fridge. We’re going to get, you know, copious amounts of cold drinks. And that happened quite a few times. It seems like a really bizarre reason to have an incentive, but it became something that was so important, [00:20:00] which I guess if you look at the Western world, who’s got all these material objects that we focus on, that might’ve been part of it, you know, I might be thinking, well, I can have a Coca Cola or whatever it is, but it was just, it was just very bizarre.

I think I’m on one of our last podcast, I was sort of talking about a trip I did. And there was a time where in 2012, when I was cycling, I ended up staying in, sleeping in the loos. And it was purely because it had electricity and a basin. And for like four weeks, I’d been sort of camping and a shirt and everything, and say the idea of having fresh running water and a light.

was, was great for me, made such a huge difference. The idea of just having a basin and electricity was the one, such a small joy to have. But, and I suppose for [00:21:00] you, you know, when you, going through 40 degree heat walking day after day 20 miles, the sort of, idea of having a cold. Okay. Kayla or spray or water was sort of motivation to sort of keep you going?

Yeah, I mean, there was obviously bigger incentives that we reached at a main town than we know potentially we’ve got a little hotel or there is vestments and stuff like that, but we knew that, you know, when, when you’re on major X expeditions in really remote areas that. Can you pinpoint these little towns that might have a fridge or, and there might just be one fridge in the village and you it’s like a glorious moment.

You see this fridge open and all these drinks in front of you. And you’re like, wow. She says, it seems really petty, doesn’t it? And it seems a bit daft, but yeah, there was obviously like reaching major towns. You’d have a hotel and that would be like something else, you know, incredible. [00:22:00] but yeah, th th the silly little things that we take for granted, I mean, that’s where it does as well.

It teaches me, and it teaches anybody, you know, that we were literally living with nothing. I mean, anything that we do have, you know, like simple things that we do have in this world, we’ve got so many things that we have in this world. We don’t even think about when you’re in Africa. There’s none of that.

And if you see any kind of little sign of one of these luxuries, Then it it’s triggered something like, wow. You know, but then when you get home, you realize that you’ve actually got more than you ever need, you know, to, to live and be comfortable. And we are just so spoiled here reminded about what we were saying before about the visions and remind them of elephant from every angle.

And we’re just such a tall nation, but we’re also so gradient. There’s no reason to be moaning about every little thing. I’m going off on one now, but it’s such a, [00:23:00] I think sort of the more you travel, the more you really appreciate where you live, the sort of luxuries that you have. And so when you sometimes hear someone complaining about something, just so minor, you know, like why did the Amazon parcel not come today and why I came here?

Sort of like the things that just. Just nothing in comparison to the outside. And as you say, when you are, when you are going on these trips and, you know, walking for 2,500 miles through war torn countries, the idea of coming back and someone complained about something so minor, it’s quite hard to sometimes take it drives me mad.

Yeah, it’s just, everyone does it. We all do it. And I think the more comfortable you, yeah, the more you sort of, you just [00:24:00] complain about things and you get difficult about things. And I think you get difficult, but if you put yourself in a difficult, really difficult situation, when you come out of that situation and you’re going to appreciate things a lot more, when you got to stop moaning about things a lot more, and you’re going to just.

And I guess I’m just, it’s something that we really have lost touch with Western worlds is appreciating things and just being grateful for what we’ve got because no one really, no one really does focus on that. They focus on the negatives around that situation instead of saying, right, but we’ve got this.

What was the sort of mind? Sorry. Oops. What was this sort of mindset that you had for this sort of trip? Because too, I think people listening, I think sometimes one can’t really comprehend when, [00:25:00] as you say, we talk about having the sort of luxuries in the Western world to suddenly going off and doing a 2000 Trek cross war torn countries or.

Months and months on end, what was the sort of thinking and mindset behind that? And what’s sort of kept you going each day. So I think to do these trips, you have to have a certain thing in the back of your mind that sort of pushes you because as you say, when you’re thrown into a village and held there for three days, most people would be like, I’ve had enough of this.

This is. This is too much, but what was in the back of your mind? Which sort of said, no, I’ve got to keep going. I think, you know, partly you keep going because you want to get out of that difficult situation you’re in, you know, mentally, because you’re in a, if it’s a difficult situation, you’re obviously like inside your [00:26:00] head, you’re like, this is really difficult.

I need to get out of it. But then. So your incentive itself to get out of that situation. But I think to begin with, if you’re going to go out and do expeditions, you need to be able to be sure that you can handle them situations or, or want to handle them situations. I think, cause it’s about, I find, I think I’m mentally very, very strong, you know, I’m in a difficult situation.

I can look at ways to get out of here. And I, I also think to myself that, you know, this is not. A permanent situation.

I’m going to come out the other side and I’m going to get to an area where it’s going to be a completely different situation. And I find that expeditions are, you know, for the most part they’re difficult, you know, there’s, there’s, there’s 50 50, maybe. Euphoric moments and difficult moments, whether or not you’re walking in really hot weather, getting potential threats, different areas, and getting hostility, or you’re getting tired, [00:27:00] exhausted, or whatever it is.

And then you’ve got these euphoric moments where you’re camping out in wonderful places. You’ve got the wildlife, you’ve got humble people that are treating you really, really well. So there’s a combination of both. And I think you just mentally need to understand that. You’re going to put yourself and appreciate it because if you don’t, then you’re not going to be able to handle it, which is why I think, I dunno.

I mean, it’s, it’s also a learning thing. You know, the more you travel, the, a comfort zone, you’re going to stretch that comfort zone. You’re going to want to do different things. You’re going to want to, push yourself even further and you’re going to get more comfortable with that situation. So I think it’s partly that, you know, some people will be like, Oh, I don’t feel comfortable, but maybe if they did a few smaller walks or they did a little check out first and did a, did Iraqi of the area and figured out if they actually feel comfortable with them, will they get used to them things more.

They’re gonna [00:28:00] be able to put themselves through them situations if you know what I mean. And I find that yeah, experience does help, but sometimes it’s just a case of. Getting out there learning from it, you know, get your stuff. And if you, if you like it, you like it. If you don’t, you’re gonna come back and you’re gonna learn a lesson about yourself or whatever.

Yeah. Very true. I mean, would you, would you do it again or are you very much, I’ve done that. I’ve because you moved on to, sort of Gambia, Ambien, Gambia river, and a few others. Is the idea is just slightly to sort of it’s about exploring the different rivers rather than that particular area. Yeah. I think it’s about the project became walking Africa as well as rivers in this battle against wildlife crimes.

It was about going through different areas, walking through different, along different rivers, doing obviously [00:29:00] iconic expeditions that. People rarely go to these areas. So it’s about exploration and discovery and about doing something unique, different myself, but also it’s about highlighting certain problems that are happening with wildlife and the loss of wildlife.

So it’s about, I don’t know, I just, for myself, I just love exploring and I want to go to different areas where I’ve never been, or not many people have been. I wanted to sort of go and see these. These places I’ve never been a fan of following the usual sort of trials that people go to. I mean, I do, I do a lot of training and do a lot of walks and stuff.

But when I think for my own personal big expeditions, I want to go off the beaten track and I want to go and explore and have that sense of doing something different and wild and extreme. And I think all of my expeditions on the wireless journey, I’ve been about trying to tick them boxes, but zombies is obsolete.

[00:30:00] Insane, you know, walk down the walk is a walk that no one had ever done before. And, we set out to do it, and there was huge obstacles in the way, like walking through giant lion parks and things like that. And there was, there was a lot of obstacles and I think it’s more about going and doing different journeys that are interesting and unique to myself.

And, you know, I think others obviously appreciate the fact that I’m putting myself in really wall situations and I’m also. I’m showing people, places that not many people go to, you know, and I think while I’ve companies and different companies and people and organizations are interested in seeing things that people don’t see, you know, and places that people don’t go to.

And, I think that’s more of the draw for me is just, just doing interesting journeys that, that haven’t been done or, or just, difficult to do. And I think the more I’ve done things, like I said about the comfort zone, the [00:31:00] more I feel I need to keep doing extreme things that have been not been done before, or just, or just interesting, interesting expeditions in my mind.

And your experience, with the wildlife in Africa, are you hopeful or pessimistic about the future? That’s a good question. You know, I think it depends on the different countries and the different, laws and legislations that they have to do with wildlife. Oh yeah. I mean, it’s definitely got to do the different laws and legislations and things, and I think, but it’s about, I think it’s hard to see.

It’s hard to see how things are, you know, I think obviously the population grows. Areas get smaller, the all ice being poached and hunted and, [00:32:00] and it’s, it’s really difficult from that side. But then you see all these organizations and these projects that are happening and people are slowly sort of protecting reserves and making sure that they’re not going to be encroached upon by populations and things.

But then also, you know, you’ve got elephants and things that migrate different animals migrate, and they’re going into. Conflict with humans. And there’s a lot of problems. And I think that I don’t want to obviously speak, you know, yourself probably, but a lot of Africa is not straightforward with saying, you know, we need this to happen.

This is a problem. They’ll be like, well, we’ve got other priorities and it can be quite corrupt as well. You know? And I don’t want to name any sort of organizations, but there was a lot of corruption in Africa and. There’s a lot of difficulties with, with initiating any kind of protection or any kind of fast system.

And I think that it’s, it’s, I’m [00:33:00] optimistic, always optimistic, but then at the same time, I can see areas that are really difficult to concentrate on with wildlife. And, you know, there’s so many people outside sources that always go into Africa. Rip the place to pieces, you know, horrible, horrible way of saying it, but it’s not, it’s not necessarily the African people than the African governments and organizations that are the problems.

Sometimes there’s outside influence is there’s the forest station, different sources. There’s, you know, there’s poaching from different sources, then there’s just wildlife, you know, massacres. And it’s just this, this. Is horrendous things happening, but there’s also amazing things happening. I think it’s one of the things that needs to constantly be assessed that needs to be more education for local people.

There needs to be, less, outside interference with things and sort of like [00:34:00] natural resources and things. You know, the obstacle, the trees and the rivers things need protecting it’s. Once again, it sits. It’s difficult. Africa’s a difficult places as you probably know yourself, but it’s, there’s a lot of hope in Africa and there’s a lot of good people.

Hopefully it will. I think, compared to 10 years ago where I think there was very, I wouldn’t say little hope, but I think now. It’s been talked about a lot more and people are starting to take action. I, because when I was out in Kenya in 2018, I was in the North, a mass Amora Conservancy and they have a great sort of system whereby I think 10, 15, 20 years ago or something the government gave each.

Martha family 50 acres. And what they did was then they put barriers up and fences. [00:35:00] So the wildlife couldn’t move around and then they sort of pitched together and decided, well, you know how, because the mass people love the cattle and they love, and also it used to be tradition to be a man. You had to go and kill a lion, but now that’s changed and they see.

align being alive. It’s more valuable to them than alive and being dead. So they’ve completely changed the culture in that respect to preserve, you know, the probably delicate ecosystem. And, you know, when we were, when I was there in the Maasai, Mara was just alive with, it was just full of game. And I think in other countries that sort of system could but could be implemented, but again, it needs to benefit the local people.

And a lot of the time, you know, elephants [00:36:00] when they’re killed, it’s not sometimes because of patron it’s because they’ve encroached on farms, land, farmers, land, and, you know, the farmer has to decide whether he. Loses his entire crop to the elephant or kills the elephant. And unless you say unless there’s compensation or there’s something, I think it’s a very difficult yeah.

For them. Yeah. Yeah. There’s definitely there’s. There’s like you say about this there’s these real difficult issues that we don’t always look out like the land and the conflict between them. But then yes, there is compared to 10 years ago, maybe there’s more organizations, more projects, more things focused on helping and protecting and working together with the wildlife.

But, it’s really difficult process and [00:37:00] changes all the time, changes all the time, the systems and the ways of doing things. But yeah, I dunno.

Yeah, I, I think, I think it’s changed from where it was 10, 15 years ago. I think now there is more emphasis on preserving wildlife in Africa. And I think sometimes you got to look at the good as well as the bad. Yeah, definitely. I think Madagascar was a place that really opened my eyes because. I was, you know, I go through these places and I obviously concentrate on the good side of it.

What’s happening in good places. And Madagascar, you know, there was the reserves which, which are protected and well maintained, and they’re really, really good. But then you go into the bulk of Madagascar, the core of it, and the place has [00:38:00] been decimated. You know, there’s trees are just gone. land is just on fire and.

It, it’s hard to like, you know, saying anything positive about some of these parts that, you know, Madagascar was a very lawless country in the central area of it. And there’s not much known about that central area of Madagascar and places being ripped to pieces. You know, the fact that they need the trees for charcoal and, building and whatever else.

So. It’s, it’s difficult, you know? Cause you see the land getting smaller and smaller and smaller and people needing more and more and more. And yes, I mean, some countries, there is a real emphasis on projects and protecting and whatnot, but some countries I’m seeing the opposite. It’s quite worrying really?

[00:39:00] Yeah. Because, is it, the rain forest is in Madagascar. I remember reading about their sort of cuts a road, right through the sort of center of the rain forest or a highway or something, which is completely cut open. And it’s sort of a slippery slope because then you slowly build out and more and more of the land gets sort of, as you say, turned into Choco.

People to cook people to keep warm slash and burn slash and burn is also a big problem. You know, the whole samphire fire to the London, you know, this, the soil and the fertile ground is just disappearing. They can’t grow crops and they can’t keep maintaining their land because it’s just dying out pretty quick.

Yeah. [00:40:00] yeah. so, I mean, what’s your, what’s your next trip then? What are you planning for the future? Yeah, so the next year was supposed to be happening. Now. I was supposed to be out there in August walk until about November, December, and I was going to be walking the orange river, Southern Africa was going to be walking across Africa.

So crossing Africa itself in Namibia, and boss, and South Africa, and those going to be walking the length of the orange river, which is about 1,400 miles along the river. And the walk itself would have been obviously a couple of thousand miles with the crossing of Africa. so that is still something I want to do.

So something that I’ve got on the cards, but it’s difficult, obviously say it’s going to happen this time. That time at the moment is something that I’m saying is my next expedition. But at the same [00:41:00] time, I’m just, I’m just waiting and seeing what happens with the world. The UK, I’ve been walking a lot of stuff here as well.

I’ve walked. Most of the UK is rivers. A lot of the big rivers here in the UK and I’m doing different national park crossings as well. And I’m going to be running quite a few of them next year, but, you know, organizing a major expedition at the moment is just something that is quite difficult. I think in a different country, I thought about doing many things and I even think about just getting my bag and just walking and stopping.

Right. strictly.

Sorry, wait until you get to a border and they’re like, no, no, no one quarantine two weeks. Well, that’s it. Isn’t it. Yeah, you can’t, you can’t even go into another country about that being some kind of rules. You got to go and quality and then you’ve got a test [00:42:00] and I think it’s just becoming more and more ridiculous, to be honest.

Wow. but at the same time, if the virus is as bad as what some people say then, and then what can you say about it? What can you do? I mean, I, I don’t fully believe, it’s bad as what they say, but that’s what it is. Yeah. I’m just going to check the camera and then, hang on one sec. Your camera’s still going.

this is the part of the show where we ask the same five questions to each guest that comes on each week, which is like the first bit, the first being. What’s the one bizarre thing that you crave or miss when you’re away. Yeah.

[00:43:00] so I guess you just spit out to just to relax really, because when I want to expedition, I must just stops in the zone of just it’s quite intense. You know, I’m just obviously doing this extreme expedition and just being able to just go somewhere and shut myself off and just relax and sort of wind down and things like that.

I find really difficult. One I’m on an expedition. There’s obviously things. Yeah. I miss that, you know, material, both basic things. Like food’s obviously a massive thing. It was mess, but I dunno, it’s a difficult question, I guess, just to have what, like one, one thing, but yeah, there’s, there’s quite a bit, I think.

Yeah, probably just the element of just being able to just relax. We’ve had a Jaffa cakes, coffee pizza.

Yeah, I think the tell you also that I don’t miss too much. I think food is always going to be a thing. Cause you’re going to be [00:44:00] hungry. You’re going to be eating rations and things like that. And there’s always certain foods I miss like cheesecake. I like cheesecake. So maybe that’s probably a good answer for that sort of thing, but I don’t know.

Really, it’s tough to pick one particular thing that I miss. Yeah, sure, sure. Okay. what is your favorite adventure book then? Your book

I’ve read quite a few. I think the one that inspired me is, and years ago was into the wild. So when I was a film, which was, I know it was a. Yeah, quite a well documented book and film, but into the wild, I read that probably a good 15, 20 years ago. And that was something that inspired me to just, just travel and feel like I was being free and without restrictions [00:45:00] and stuff like that.

So I know there’s a, there’s a lot of travel books. I think that one stands out more than the others. Okay. did you have like an inspirational figure growing up? I didn’t, well, you know, I didn’t have any sort of family members that were inspirational, travel based theme, you know, I didn’t really have anyone around me, which was inspiring me to actually travel and do expeditions.

I think it was, yeah, it was something that was just inside me. It’s actually want to travel, I guess. And just explore. Yeah. I think maybe things like watching David Attenborough documentaries probably would have been my closest form of being inspired to actually the conservation and the wildlife type thing.

I think probably, yeah, maybe I’ll say David, that umbrella broccoli wasn’t around me. I’ll just say he was someone that was [00:46:00] there that I looked up to maybe, and sort of admire as far as, what, what I’d like to do in my own life, you know? Nice. and what about a sort of favorite quote or motivational quote?

I’m not really a fan of Christ,

I think a lot before. just, you know, the more, the last year have the richer you are, is that, is that a quote that sort of, that sort of lifestyle, you know, as far as minimalizing. What you have as, as personal objects, but then it makes you rich too, as far as being humble and just being more, appreciative of things.

And there maybe the, the less you have more rich you are, I’m trying to sort of think it’s the, I [00:47:00] think if the dialogue was proverb, which is the sort of paradox of choice, well, I, I can’t remember the quote exactly, but it’s this sort of idea of the more you have, the more worries you have. And, it’s a pretty long one, which I can’t, recite by heart, unfortunately, but it’s a, I think it goes along the same sort of lines is what your guess, you know, I can never fully remember how they go.

You know, I’ll probably have my own little versions of them and stuff like that. But I think just, I like a lot of the crutch, you know, about everything’s equal and not sort of thing about calmer. And I do believe in a lot of whatever you’re giving out is going to come back to you and things like that.

And I think that it’s really important just to, like we said before about, remember, I appreciate what you’ve got and, you know, and. Material objects [00:48:00] and things aren’t necessarily as important as we make them to be. So that side of things is something that I’ve always sort of followed really. people listening are always keen to travel and go on adventures.

What’s the one thing that you would recommend them to get too? I mean, if they’re in the UK, there’s so many UK based trails that are just incredible. We’ve got. Know, hundreds of different trials in the UK that we can get out more. But I think, you know, if they want to get out and do adventures, depending on what they want to do, if they want to go hiking, like I do, then I’ll just say, maybe go and do a couple of day track somewhere in the UK and just get used to while camping and being adventurous and seeing if you enjoy it for you, obviously commit to doing six months down, I’m busy or whatever it is, but maybe just yeah.

Tackle the West Highland way or Hadrian’s wall or one of the UK. Trials and, and, and do that. And, and even like Europe, you know, if you want to go a [00:49:00] bit further afield, there’s so many long distance trails and different islands with different trails, just incredible. And having ease yourself in, I think it was a case of like your comfort zone, just, just slowly stretch it out.

And until you know exactly that you want to keep doing it and you want to do more extreme things. Really. So I think just the UK has got an incredible network. Yeah. Different trials and also incredible community of people that actually inspire others, you know, maybe get involved with community of adventure, like people and, you know, sort of get out and do stuff with them or get out and learn things and inspire.

And yeah, just, just, just, just take a step and just get out and do something.

and so what are you doing now and how can people find you?

so at the moment [00:50:00] I’m in lockdown and I I’m living in my van, I’m slowly sort of trying to plan expeditions for next year and things like that, but I will be planning a load of expeditions in the UK next year. So those are little mini expeditions that I, I want people to come and get involved with as well.

So. If anyone wants to get involved with them, please get in touch. the wireless journey is my social media platform. The name of the project, obviously walking Africa’s rivers, typing the wireless journey on any social media platform and you should find me. And then, the wireless is my website, all of my expedition based things on that.

All of my training, weekends and expeditions and. My talks, my yeah. Different, different journeys. I’ve done. I’ve put them all on the website. So check out the wireless That’s the website. Amazing. Well, Charles, thank you so much for coming on today [00:51:00] and I look forward to following your adventures next year when they all kick-off.

Thank you very much for having me on John. It’s been a pleasure mate.

Privacy Settings
We use cookies to enhance your experience while using our website. If you are using our Services via a browser you can restrict, block or remove cookies through your web browser settings. We also use content and scripts from third parties that may use tracking technologies. You can selectively provide your consent below to allow such third party embeds. For complete information about the cookies we use, data we collect and how we process them, please check our Privacy Policy
Consent to display content from Youtube
Consent to display content from Vimeo
Google Maps
Consent to display content from Google