Don’t be surprised if Julian Monroe Fisher starts saying, “Dr. Livingstone, I presume?” Fisher is one-fifth of the way through his five-year Great African Expedition, exploring Africa’s interior using Folbot Greenland II expedition kayaks.
Fisher announced the trip last year as a five- year, nine-phase Ethnographical research and documentation project deep in the heart of Central Africa. His team will retrace the African expeditionary routes of famed Victorian explorers Speke, Grant, Brazza, Burton, Baker, Baumann, Linz, Livingstone and Stanley. The expedition’s goal is to compare the 19th century tribal kingdom documentation with the cultural realities of the 21st century along the same Central African rivers and lakes.
“We’ll be paddling and portaging through thick jungle foliage and between bodies of water in some of the most inhospitable terrain imaginable,” says Fisher.
As for the 600-lb. capacity, foldable Folbots, he says they were a natural choice. “We need to be able to pack and ship them in and out of airports and across land borders that require a fair amount of negotiation finesse,” he adds. The boats will be outfitted with upwindsailing rigs, outrigger pontoons and fishing setups to explore the Upper Nile River in South Sudan and circumnavigate Uganda’s Lake Albert and LakeVictoria.”
Fisher, from Greenwood, South Carolina, is currently based in Austria and is an explorer, anthropologist, filmmaker, publisher, author, a Fellow with The Royal Geographical Society (with the Institute of British Geographers) in London, and an International Fellow with the British Chapter of The Explorers Club in New York City. Between 2007 and 2011 he conducted five consecutive Explorers Club flag sanctioned research expeditions to the African continent.
Phase one of project ended last May, with the successful overland journey from Cairo, Egypt, to Khartoum, Sudan. During phase two, scheduled for early 2013, Fisher will travel from Juba, the capital of the new nation of South Sudan, along the route of Sir Samuel White Baker’s expedition of 1864-65. The trail will take Fisher throughout eastern and central South Sudan before turning south to Lake Albert in Uganda. There he will circumnavigate Lake Albert which straddles the borderline between Uganda and The Democratic Republic of Congo.
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