The History Boys – The Nile Explorers: Speke, Wood, Baker

Nile explorer decendents
L-R: Tom Mayberry, Peter Speke, Levison Wood, David Baker – image by Jason Florio

The Nile Explorers – Bath Royal Literary & Scientific Institution (BRSLI), Bath, Somerset.

Yesterday (with huge thanks to writer, explorer, and photographer, Levison Wood) we Florios were honored to be in the midst of such esteemed – and truly inspirational – company to commemorate the 150 year anniversary of an encounter between (Nile explorers) Captains Sir Richard Francis Burton and John Hanning Speke, in the Royal Mineral Water Hospital, Bath, 15th September, 1864.


Over the space of a few (all too) short hours, we sat and listened to superb narrative – facts and anecdotes, richly woven together – from, amongst others, descendents of the above mentioned (who themselves have gone on to become 21st Century African explorers in their own right), highly acclaimed explorers of the 19th Century.

Levison Wood talks about ‘Walking the Nile’ – image by Jason Florio

We also got a chance to listen to Levison Wood, give a synopsis of  ‘Walking the Nile‘ – he very recently completed an astonishing 3750 miles walk of the length of the mighty river. It was all too brief… I’m certain Lev could have easily filled the whole afternoon, regaling the audience with tales (and great images) about his incredible journey. Alas, we will have to wait until 2015, when the documentary series of his epic walk is aired on C4.

The Royal Hotel, Bath – where Captain Sir Richard Burton laid his head, in preparation for the much publicized reunion with John Hanning Speke. Image © Jason Florio

Yesterday’s vicarious immersion into great explorers, past and present, has our adventure juices well and truly whetted.

Thanks again to Lev Wood  and to Jane Sparrow, BRLSI Geography & Adventure Group, for extending the invite.

As for our humble foray into the world of exploration, you may like to check out ‘River Gambia Expedition-1044km source-sea African odyssey‘ and ‘A Short Walk in the Gambian Bush – 930km African odyssey‘.

Now, where will our next adventure take us? Watch this space…

The Florios – Helen & Jason

Jason Florio, Levison Wood, Matthew Power (R.I.P.) – Uganda, East Africa, 2014. Image by Boston (Woka) Beka

In remembrance of Matthew Power:  In March this year – whilst Lev was walking through Uganda – Jason, along with our friend and writer, Matthew Power, joined him for what would transpire to be a truly tragic few days.

Matt, you are missed… x H&J

He walked the length of the River Nile! Congratulations to Levison Wood

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Images © Jason Florio, 2014

Earlier in March, along with friend and writer, Matthew Power (we miss you dearly, Matt), Jason spent a few days with Levison Wood on the Uganda section of his historic walk.

Now, explorer, Lev, has just completed his incredible journey. The first person to walk almost the entire length of the River Nile, in Africa, from it’s source to the sea – fighting in South Sudan meant he had to abandon a 450-mile section. But still, come on, credit where credit is due…he covered a whopping 3750miles! When Jason and I made a mere 930km walk around The Gambia, in 2009, we met people along the way who frequently announced that ‘your donkeys will be dead in two days!‘ and/or ‘it is not possible for someone to walk that far‘! We can’t wait to hear what incredulous comments Lev would most definitely have heard along the way.



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L-R: Jason Florio, Levison Wood, Matthew Power (R.I.P.) – Uganda, March 2014


We are looking forward the forthcoming documentary about the journey. In the meantime, you can read all about Lev’s epic adventure here: ‘Walking the Nile‘.

The Florios – Helen & Jason

Image © Jason Florio– taken whilst on our ‘River Gambia Expedition – 1044km source-sea African odyssey’