Today, Chaz Powell sets off on an expedition called Walking The Zambezi. In case you hadn’t already guessed, he’s attempting to walk the entire length of the Zambezi River. If he achieves what he’s set out to do, he’ll have accomplished something that’s never been done before.
Until now, the Zambezi river has only ever been walked in stages. Here at Above & Beyond we’ve done our best to help him out and make sure he achieve his goal by giving him some kit for the expedition. However, it’s still going to be quite a challenge. And challenge he’s trying to complete, not just for himself, but for the animals of Africa as well.
Thirty-six year old Chaz originally comes from Newport in Shropshire and first got into the outdoor life while doing his Duke of Edinburgh. Since then, he’s spent around eight years of his adult life on an adventure of one form or another – either travelling South East Asia, on working holidays in Australia and Newzealand, and on overland trips in Africa.
Walking The Zambezi:
Chaz has a son who lives in Livingstone, Zambia, which is one of the reasons he wanted to attempt this walk. While visiting him he became interested in the river; what it meant to local people and the stories surrounding it fascinated him. As he became more and more interested in it – he came up with the idea of walking its entire length.
Chaz expects Walking The Zambezi to take him around six months to complete, during which time he’ll trek around the 1600 mile. It’s a project he’s been planning for over a year and is extremely excited to get underway. Locals tell him it can’t be done… soon, we’ll know if that’s something they’re right about.
Chaz is walking the Zambezi in aid of The David Shepard Wildlife Foundation (DSWF) and says: “I chose to raise money for the DSWF because they show the same passion and commitment that I’d need for this challenge to fight wildlife crime and protect endangered wildlife. I feel we can work together to make a huge difference.”
Chaz certainly faces a lot of challenges while walking the Zambezi and has tweeted concerns about coming across Black Mambas. However, he also faces some more practical problems – his first being getting his Visa for Angola. In fact, difficulties with getting an Angolan Visa is the reason the walk hasn’t been completed before.
Of course, Chaz will face other obstacles while walking the Zambezi river too, such as the Barotse flood planes – which are underwater 80% of the year. He as a small window of opportunity to cross them in September when the water is low – otherwise he’ll be waste deep in muddy water.
After the Barotse flood planes Chaz will be faced with an area of tricky gorges which will slow his progress to between 2-3Km per day. And of course – as well as tricky terrain – he’ll also have the wild animals, risk of malaria, unknown hostile areas and the relentless heat of the African sun to contend with.
Luckily for Chaz though, he won’t be facing these challenges alone as (on the advice of Levison Wood) he’s opted to take a guide with him on. His name is Dr Teddy Mulenga (seen in the main image with Chaz on an earlier training trip), and his main duty will be helping Chaz communicate with the locals.
— Chaz Powell (@CPExpeditions) May 15, 2016
Help From Above & Beyond:
Chaz has spent his time in the run-up to his Zambezi walk making sure he’s prepared. He’s spent every weekend of the last few months on bushcraft courses, learning to live off the land. He’s also been conditioning his body to make sure it’s ready to meet the demands walking the Zambezi river will place on it.
Naturally, we wish Chaz all the best on his daring expedition and have helped him out by supplying his with a Petzl E+ Lite Head-torch and a Snugpak Jungle Trek Sleeping Bag for him to adventure test for us along the way. In particular, it will be interesting to see how the Petzl Head-torch fares. Here’s why…
— The Wildest Journey (@WalkTheZambezi) April 17, 2016
The Petzl E+ Lite Head Torch:
The Petzl E+ Head-torch is an amazing bit of equipment. However, it is usually used as a back-up head-lamp and stashed in a first-aid kit. Chaz’s will be using it as his main torch though, so hopefully it will be able to cope and last the tough and dusty conditions Chaz is likely to encounter on his expedition.
While selecting equipment for the Expedition, Chaz told us keeping pack-weight and size to a minimum was his absolute priority and that’s why we gave him a Petzl E+ Lite. At less than 5cm long and only weighing 27 grams it seemed ideal for Chaz’s needs as he will only be using it occasionally around camp at night.
Snugpak Jungle Sleeping Bag:
We’ve also donated a Snugpak Jungle Sleeping Bag. Again, because of it’s low weight and compact size. Designed for use in warm conditions, it packs down smaller than a coconut and features a built-in mosquito net, making it a good choice for Chaz given his personal priorities and the environment he’ll be in. It weighs in at just 850g and packs to just 15 x 18 cm when fully Compressed.
The Snugpak Jungle Sleeping Bag is insulated with Travelsoft insulation, which is known for its performance in hot clammy conditions. Our blog article How To Choose A Sleeping Bag reveals exactly why it’s the ideal shape for expeditions in warmer climates: Its square shape means it’s comfy to sleep in, well ventilated and can be opened up into a quilt for more versatility when travelling.
Follow Chaz On His Adventures:
Walking the Zambezi will prove a tough challenge for Chaz and Above & Beyond wish him all the best. We look forward to hearing how the equipment we donated performs upon his safe return. You can follow his adventures on both Twitter and Facebook. And if you’d like to help Chaz support DSWF and help wildlife conservation throughout Africa visit Chaz’s Just Giving page now.