Team says it finds new source of Nile in Rwanda

Team says it finds new source of Nile in Rwanda
Sat Apr 1, 2006 5:44 AM ET

By Arthur Asiimwe

NYUNGWE
FOREST, Rwanda (Reuters) – Surviving a rebel attack and braving
crocodile-infested waters, a group of explorers has completed an 80-day
voyage down the world’s longest river reaching what they say is the
source of the Nile.

The three explorers from Britain and New
Zealand claim to be the first to have traveled the river from its mouth
to its “true source” deep in Rwanda’s lush Nyungwe rainforest.

“History
has been rewritten,” British explorer Neil McGrigor told reporters on
Friday. “This is the end of an 80 day amazing and exhausting journey.”

The
expedition, dubbed “Ascend the Nile”, traveled over 6,700 km (4,163
miles) in three boats, tracing the Nile from the Mediterranean through
five countries to what they say is its origin.

McGrigor and New
Zealanders Cam McLeay and Garth MacIntyre suffered a rebel attack in
northern Uganda, which killed one of their team, and overcame a
cocktail of testing climates, massive rapids and crocodile charges
before reaching their final destination.

The last leg of their
journey saw them abandon their tiny boats and trek some 70 km (43
miles) for seven days through thick forest, sometimes being forced to
wade in the fast-running Nile waters.

“We have followed the
Akagera river system to its longest point up in the Nyungwe forest and
it’s this point that we now finally know as being the longest source of
the river Nile,” McGrigor told Reuters.

The team, which used a
Global Positioning System (GPS), believes the Nile is at least 107 km
(66 miles) longer than previously thought.

Debate over the real
source of the Nile has raged since the late 1850s, when British
explorers like John Hanning Speke began staking their reputations,
fortunes and health on finding it.

It was not until the 1864
expedition by American journalist Henry Stanley — when he found
missing British David Livingstone in 1871 and circumnavigated Lake
Victoria and Lake Tanganyika for the first time — that much of the
area was mapped and many questions answered.

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