Island Hopping the Hard Way: Walking Across Madagascar

This week a team of adventurers will attempt to become the first expedition to walk the entire width of Madagascar from the east coast to the west in a daunting three week feat of endurance.

London, United Kingdom, May 12, 2012 --( The multi-national group, led by professional explorer Captain Levison Wood, a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society departs for the famous African Island this weekend after several months of preparation. Madagascar is the world’s fourth largest island and although it attracts thousands of tourists each year, in recent times it has suffered a bad press due to violent civil unrest in 2009 and an unabated deforestation of the original rainforest.

“Madagascar is famous for its endemic wildlife,” said Captain Wood, “most notably its Lemur population, but that is under severe threat as the forest is cleared for unsustainable farming.”

Despite raised awareness as a result of recent media exposure- including the acclaimed BBC’s Madagascar series, featuring Sir David Attenborough, the Island is struggling to encourage protection of its natural environment. “Almost ninety percent of the original forest has been destroyed,” said Jim Demuth- the expedition cameraman.

The 250 km, three week challenge was dreamt up by Levison back in 2010, when he founded the pioneering expedition company Secret Compass, which aims to promote awareness through exploration and has taken team members to remote areas such as Iraq, Afghanistan, South Sudan.

“It will be extremely hard work,” Says Levison. “Trekking up to 30 kilometres per day through Jungle, across rocky plateaus and following remote rivers. Many of the indigenous tribes will have had very little contact with outsiders and of course it will be a rare opportunity to get up close and personal with the famous flora and fauna of Madagascar. Oh, and did I mention we are climbing the highest peak on the way?”

The team will carry most of their own kit and with the exception of a small team of porters and a local guide is completely unsupported. What is unique is that although several participants are industry professionals- Photographers, filmmakers and doctors- others are ordinary people just along for the challenge, and of course to be involved in a record breaking world first.

Editors note: To follow the team's progress or to get involved in future expeditions visit the Secret Compass website. More information will be given concerning the success of the mission in June.
Secret Compass
Patrick Richmond
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