"Florence and the (Walking) Machine": Monkey Joins Explorer's World-First Attempt to Walk the Nile

Pioneering explorer Levison Wood is nearly a quarter of the way through his epic journey up the Nile River, walking from source to sea. Temporarily joined by an abandoned baby vervet monkey, Lev continues his journey, fundraising for 4 charities.

Bristol, United Kingdom, February 22, 2014 --(PR.com)-- Pioneering explorer Levison Wood will soon complete the first quarter of his 6,650km attempt to walk the length of the river Nile. This week, near the Ugandan village of Bbaale, he was temporarily joined by a week-old baby monkey named Florence.

Despite a punishing walking schedule of up to and beyond 30km every day, Wood lingered behind in the Ugandan village to rescue the tiny vervet monkey, aiming to find it sanctuary after local children scared its mother away.

On his Channel 4 web page, Wood said, “I waited for an hour but the children continued to chase the monkeys and eventually the mother abandoned her baby. There was nothing to do except adopt the little vervet and take it to a sanctuary. I hope it survives, as it's only a few days old. I’ve been feeding it milk and mashed banana!”

Wood named the monkey Florence, after the wife of explorer Sir Samuel Baker. Baker rescued Florence from a slave market in Turkey and married her. Florence went on to travel with Baker on all of his expeditions, including his travels in Uganda.

Levison is carrying out his own Walking the Nile expedition in support of four charities that are very close to his heart. Ameca is a medical charity based in Malawi; Tusk Trust funds conservation projects across Africa; Space for Giants seeks to protect the world’s largest mammals; and ABF The Solders’ Charity supports soldiers and their families.

In praise of Wood’s efforts, Karen Malia from ABF The Soldiers’ charity, said, “Not everyone would want to walk such a distance but if anyone fancies taking on a physical challenge for a good cause, we recommend our own fundraising event, the Cateran Yomp in Scotland.

“The Yomp is an epic adventure challenge, with teams attempting up to a fearsome 54 mile route through remote and spectacular Scotland in under 24 hours. Visit us online for more details.”

Secret Compass, the adventure travel company co-founded by Wood in 2010, is also running a fundraising expedition to join Wood in Sudan in August 2014. Team mates will become part of this historic journey, while raising much-needed funds for Walking the Nile’s four nominated charities.

Tom Bodkin, Wood’s colleague from the UK Army’s Parachute Regiment and co-founder of Secret Compass, said, “Our fundraising expedition to Sudan will help us and others raise awareness of the many positive stories and more challenging issues facing Africa today.”

Highlights of the Sudan Expedition

· Meet the nomadic Bedouin
· Visit Khartoum and the famous battle site of Omdurman
· Discover the spectacular pyramids of Meroe
· Explore remote Sudanese villages
· Experience hospitable tribal welcomes
· Join Levison Wood on his historic attempt to walk the Nile

Kerry O’Neill, Secret Compass’s marketing director, said, “Lev’s efforts are being followed by thousands on the Walking the Nile website and on his social media channels. This is fantastic news for the four charities supported by Walking the Nile.

“We’ve also just discovered on Lev’s Channel 4 website that, as he heads north towards Lake Kyoga, Florence the monkey is heading for safety too. She’s en route to the Ugandan city of Jinja to be collected by the Uganda Wildlife Education Centre based in Entebbe.”

For further press information about Secret Compass’s non-profit, fundraising expedition to join Levison Wood in Sudan in late summer 2014, email Kerry.

For further press information about Levison Wood and the Walking the Nile project itself, contact Campbell Bell Communications: www.campbell-bell.com.

Useful links

· Channel 4 website: www.channel4.com/programmes/walking-the-nile
· Facebook: www.facebook.com/WalkingTheNile
· Twitter: www.twitter.com/Secret_compass
· Walking the Nile fundraising expedition: secretcompass.com/expeditions/walking-the-nile-expeditions-2014/walking-nile-sudan/

Notes To Editiors
Secret Compass is a pioneering expedition company creating world-first experiences for teams of like-minded adventurers. Through group and bespoke adventures, Secret Compass helps each team member achieve the extraordinary in the world’s wildest places. Founded by ex-British Army Parachute Regiment officers, its expeditions reach the planet’s most remote regions in the spirit of exploration’s earliest pioneers. Its highly trained professionals deliver well-planned and safe experiences, while encouraging daring leaps out of comfort zones. Secret Compass is passionate about returning tourism to post-conflict zones and emerging economies to stimulate local development and challenge preconceptions.

Specialist Film and TV services
Secret Compass also takes film crews, journalists and photographers to remote and previously inaccessible areas thanks to its unrivalled location management expertise. Clients to date include the BBC, National Geographic, Animal Planet and Channel 4, in countries from Afghanistan to Uzbekistan.

Press enquiries: 0203 2398 038

Walking the Nile supported charities

· Tusk Trust: www.tusk.org
· The AMECA Trust: www.ameca.org.uk
· Space for Giants: spaceforgiants.org
· ABF The Soldiers’ Charity: www.soldierscharity.org
Secret Compass
Kerry O'Neill
+44 (0)7815896533