Ex-Royal Marines begin 1,300-mile charity trek along African river

Two former Royal Marines have embarked on a 1,300-mile trek across three countries - walking along one of the longest rivers on the African continent.

After setting off on Saturday, Glen Steyn and Alex Davidson have begun to make their way through Lesotho, South Africa and Namibia as part of Exped Orange.

Following the Orange River from its source in Lesotho, near a small village called Kwazulu Natal, they will walk along its banks for more than 1,367 miles (2200km) to the Atlantic Ocean.

Lance Corporal Mr Steyn, who served in the Royal Marines for five years, is leading the trek.

The 33-year-old, who is originally from Johannesburg in South Africa, joked that because the Orange River is known for being ferocious, this is why they will be walking next to it and not swimming.

Pressed on his reasons for organising the trip, he told the Press Association: "Since leaving the corps I haven't had anything that has challenged me.

"I just felt like challenging myself again both mentally and physically, and there's bits of my own country that I haven't even seen."

Typical meal for the first few weeks of #expedorange We will also have dried fruit and of course #tacticaltea with us. Once these run out Davo and I will be fending for ourselves to get a meal.@thermcharity @veterans4wildlife @kitpest @royalmarines1664 @karrimorSF @kwaysa @tactical_tea @snugpak @capeunionmart @sportraxs @limitlesspursuits#expedorange #southafrica #lesotho #namibia #orangeriver #expedition #theadventurers #yomping #trekking #hiking #2200km #orangeexplorers #royalmarines #thesaffa #thebrit #veterans #walking

Posted by ExpedOrange on Friday, January 19, 2018

The pair are aiming to raise as much as possible through the expedition for the Royal Marines Charity, as well as Veterans for Wildlife, two charities which are important to them.

Mr Steyn said they have both discussed the risks involved with Exped Orange, highlighting how one of the biggest dangers posed along the way is from snakes.

"You get quite a lot of puff adders down that side of the country. They are the largest killer in Africa in terms of snake bites," Mr Steyn added.

"I am not scared of snakes but I am scared of those snakes, because they don't move out of the way when you walk close to them."

Once bitten he said you have around 24 hours to seek medical help, but if you are injected with a lot of venom this can reduce down to just 12.

"It is a bit of a worry but we are obviously going to stay on terrain as much as possible which doesn't involve them," he added.

Other wildlife they may have to contend with along the include leopards, the black cobra, buffalo and baboons.

Carrying all their kit with them, they will be undertaking the expedition unsupported and will resupply their stocks of food along the way as required.

LIVE TRACKING FOR EXPEDORANGE! ?http://app.sportraxs.com/expedorangeThank you to the guys from 'Sportaxs' in South Africa for this great little asset to our expedition.It will update our position every 5 minutes, as long as I keep it charged up?@thermcharity @veterans4wildlife @kitpest @royalmarines1664 @karrimorSF @kwaysa @tactical_tea @snugpakuk @capeunionmart @sportraxs @limitlesspursuits#expedorange #southafrica #lesotho #namibia #orangeriver #expedition #theadventurers #yomping #trekking #hiking #2200km #orangeexplorers #royalmarines #thesaffa #thebrit #veterans #walking

Posted by ExpedOrange on Friday, January 19, 2018

Afghanistan veteran Mr Steyn said if everything goes smoothly the trip should take around 90 days, and that they are aiming to cover up to 30km (18 miles) a day, and that their Royal Marines training will help with both the physical and mental aspects.

Mr Davidson, from Shropshire, who left the Royal Marines last year, said they both knew each other from serving in 42 Commando based in Devon.

Leaving the military to become a filmmaker, the 31-year-old said he will be documenting their travels during their self-funded trip over the coming months.

He admitted that "ignorance is bliss" because he does not realise how dangerous some of the wildlife is and will just "try not to step on anything".

Pressed on whether their military training has prepared them, he said they are "both used to having a bit of weight on our back".

They will be sleeping outside along the way and carrying up to 100lbs of weight each, with Mr Davidson admitting his family are worried about their adventure.

Asked if there is a chance they may fall out given it will be just the two of them, he said it was "impossible for Royal Marines to fall out at all or at any point".

:: To make a donation visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/expedorange

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