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Chaz Powell to Trek the Gambia River

UK adventurer and expedition leader, Chaz Powell, is embarking on his next adventure to walk the length of the Gambia River. This expedition is set to begin early in 2019 and will be one of the most poignant yet for Chaz. Not only will it be a physical test for the seasoned adventurer, but he is also using this expedition to raise awareness about Africa’s wildlife and a specific fundraising project.

Credit: Alex Frood

The 1,120km starting in Guinea journey, will take Chaz through Senegal and across Gambia to Banjul along the country’s west coast. The trek is expected to take him around two months to complete, facing a number of challenges along the way such as high temperatures and threats from wild animals. Chaz explained that he ‘wanted to test [himself] on another wild journey’ and that ‘the river itself interests me, as does the wildlife, the culture, the old explorers and the history of the area. I also want to get involved in wildlife projects along the way.’

Credit: Alex Frood

Chaz has 15 years of remote travel and expedition experience, completing a lot of long distance treks all over the world. Recently, he undertook his biggest challenge to date, walking 2000 miles over 137 days from source to sea along the Zambezi river. Chaz explains, ‘after leaving the UK in 2004 and embarking on a backpacking adventure I travelled the world on and off for 8 years, visiting many amazing places, exploring various continents and embracing some incredible life changing experiences”. But it is clear from his previous experiences that Africa is particularly poignant with Chaz and a place that he feels a real affinity to.

The inspiration for Chaz’s latest Gambia trek was taken from his recent journey along the Zambezi, saying that he had ‘learned that [he] wanted to keep doing these walks and that [he] can probably never stop doing them’. The two treks along African rivers will certainly have similarities, with high temperatures and African wildlife being two of the biggest obstacles along the way.

Although Africa is a popular tourist destination and a lot about the wildlife is well-documented, there is a lot about Africa that people don’t know and remains unearthed. Chaz has visited various parts of Africa and experienced cultures and communities first-hand that many people would not even know existed. A major part of his expedition will be to experience the African people and provide an insight to Africa that will be completely different and new to what anyone has seen before. In that sense, this is an expedition that is not to be under-estimated. Chaz has already witnessed and found himself in unimaginable situations and rituals, having once even been detained and locked up, so is fully prepared for what is to come in the following months.

Credit: Alex Frood

As part of the expedition, Chaz is also teaming up with African Wildlife Foundation (AWF) to help raise awareness around Africa’s wildlife and wildlands. As one of the oldest and largest conservation organizations focused solely on the continent of Africa, AWF is the primary advocate for the protection of African wildlife and wild lands. Throughout his expedition, Chaz will be visiting AWF bases and providing his observations of Africa’s wildlife, wild lands and people to the charity.

Credit: Alex Frood

Chaz is particularly passionate about wildlife conservation and in particular raising awareness surrounding the illegal wildlife trade. This is a very current issue that has been well documented over recent years. At the 2018 Illegal Wildlife Trade Conference in London back in October, it was highlighted that more has to be done to eradicate the problem due to the negative impact on Africa’s economies and development.

Chaz Powell is also excited to be partnering with UK business, Water-to-Go, on his next adventure. Water-to-Go is a portable water filtration system that eliminates well in excess of 99.9% of all microbiological contaminants from any non-salt water source. This means Chaz can fill up from any freshwater stream or from the Gambia river itself to keep himself safe and hydrated throughout the expedition. Chaz has used his trusted Water-to-Go bottle on many of his adventures and this on-going partnership highlights his commitment to sustainable travel and protecting the environment. The Water-to-Go ambassador is keen to eliminate all single-use plastic bottles on his expeditions and showcase a simple alternative that everyone can use.

Credit: Frazer Waller Photography

Chaz’s expedition will also be bringing awareness of an important project between Water-to-Go and the African Wildlife Foundation. Water-to-Go are working with the African Wildlife Foundation in order to raise money and awareness of the work that they do and to ensure wildlife and wild lands thrive in modern Africa. To do this, they have produced a limited edition bottle, that Chaz will be using on his expedition, to raise awareness and funds for the organisation.

If you want to get involved in Chaz’s expedition and this project, Water-to-Go’s special AWF branded bottles are still available via our website with £10 from each bottle purchased being donated to the incredible projects and programs run by African Wildlife Foundation.

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