Looking for a fun walking holiday to get back in shape? Here’s a challenge. Stretching 14,000 miles (22,387km) from Cape Town in South Africa to Magadan in Russia, this route might be the world’s longest walk, and it certainly sounds gruelling.
Credit for this lengthy route goes to Reddit user cbz3000, who drew it up on Google Maps in 2019. Claiming it to be the longest walking distance possible on the site, they found a route that required no flights, ferries or other boat-crossings: just open roads and bridges. The route takes the brave traveller up through Africa, past the Suez Canal, through Turkey, Central Asia and across Siberia to Magadan.
According to brilliant maps, the journey would take 4,492 hours to walk, meaning 187 days. However, this is assuming you were walking non-stop. If we assumed a walking pace of 8 hours per day (no rest days!), the journey would actually take 562 days.
If this still sounds like something you might fancy doing and have an available 2-years to get on the road, then let’s take a closer look into some of the sights you’d have the pleasure of passing on your 16-country tour:
South Africa: Table Mountain
Start your walk fresh and energised with a warm-up stroll to Cape Town’s famous Table Mountain. Nestled within Table Mountain National Park, the mountain is instantly recognisable for its distinct table shape and its “table-cloth” cloud formations that hug the peak. The ascent to the top takes around 2-3 hours to hike and pays off with spectacular views of Cape Town and the southern coastline. Because of its flat shape, you can even follow one of several hiking routes that take walkers just across the top, some taking several hours to complete. If you’ve got time, you can drive South Africa’s iconic Garden Route.
Botswana – Safari Tour
Whilst in Botswana why not go on a Safari Tour to get a glimpse at some of the incredible wildlife of Africa? Chobe National Park and Okavango Delta are two of the best Botswanan National Parks, full of elephants, lions, giraffes, buffalo and zebra. From Luxury wooden lodges to spa resorts, there is plenty of opportunity to relax and unwind after your first 6 weeks of walking!
Zambia – Victoria Falls
This waterfall located on the Zambezi River at the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe is the world’s largest waterfall, with a width of 1,708m. Visitors can swim in the natural pools at the top, though due to their proximity to the edge, it is not for the faint-hearted! From Gaborone in Botswana to Victoria Falls, this is a nice and easy stretch of 22 days.
Egypt – Great Pyramid of Giza
How embarrassing would it be if you did a 14,000-mile walk and forgot to check out the ultimate wonder of the world? As the last remaining classic wonder of the world, the pyramids are a must-see for everyone at some point in their lives. What can be said about them? Whether it was aliens or simply an unspeakable amount of slave labour, the sheer mathematical genius of the pyramids and the many mysteries surrounding their inner passages are the stuff of legend. I hope you picked up enough snacks for the road since this stretch will take you a whopping 181 days (6 months).
Jordan – Petra
Just an easy stretch now after that journey. From one wonder to another, you must take a trip to Petra when passing through Jordan. Located in the south of the country, this archaeological site is remarkably well preserved and contains the world-famous Al-Khazneh (The Treasury) Temple, an ornate building cut directly into the sandstone rock. Believed to have been the mausoleum of the Nabatean King Aretas IV, it is the most popular tourist attraction in Jordan and recognisable from such works as Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade and the Adventures of Tintin. From the Pyramids to Petra, you’ll be on the road for a mere 2 weeks.
Turkey – Lake Van
Next stop, why not take a look at the off-the-beaten-track natural beauty of Lake Van in Turkey? With picturesque walking routes around the lake and plenty of remote hotels to stay in, this is a perfect place to relax and soak up some fascinating history. From Armenian Kingdoms to Mongol conquest, the Lake is at the heart of some of the world’s biggest empires. It even has its own equivalent of the Loch Ness Monster: the Lake Van Monster, with reports of its sighting stretching all the way back to the 1800s, so keep your eyes peeled. This stretch will take you 5 weeks.
Georgia – Tbilisi
Your final stop before Russia is Georgia, so enjoy a bit of urban respite in the beautiful capital city of Tbilisi (a popular digital nomad spot). With its cobblestoned old town and red-roofed houses, the city is wonderfully picturesque and nestles below the towering presence of Narikala, a 4th-century fortress. Wander around the city, taking in its historic churches, art nouveau buildings and brutalist Soviet blocks. With such a mishmash of styles, the complex history of this under-visited country is laced into the city’s architecture. From Van, the journey is 16 days.
Well, you’ve made it into Russia, but unfortunately, the journey is far from over. As you move further North-East, the temperatures drop, the landscape gets more and more barren and the welcoming villages to stop and rest get more and more remote. With 253 days of your journey (8 months) in Russia, you’re bound to get an excellent flavour of the customs, quirks and diversity of this enormous nation. Stock up on vodka for the road (you may need it as payment when finding yourself lost in the Siberian steppe), and good luck to you.