FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Harrogate, England, 17 December 2021 – A British man has become the first person ever to reach the African Pole of Inaccessibility, which lies in a lawless region of the Central African Republic on the border with the DRC and South Sudan, on 6th December 2021.
A Pole of Inaccessibility is the place furthest from the Ocean in any direction.
That place, in Africa, lies approximately 45 miles North West of the small town of Obo in the Central African Republic. It is a minimum of 1,127 miles to the sea in any direction, making it the remotest place in the whole of Africa.
The Pole lies at
- Latitude: 5°39.0’N
- Longitude: 26°10.2’E
The area is a lawless border region at the tripoint with the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan. Reports of violence, kidnappings, reprisal killings, looting and human rights abuses in the region are prevalent. In addition, poachers, rebels and Soviet mercenaries are a threat in the border region where the pole is situated.
Over three years of planning went into mitigating those threats as far as possible, and culminated in an expedition to the pole in the second week of December 2021.
The African Pole was finally reached 10:47am on 6th December by Chris Brown and his team.
The team consisted of two security advisors from the USA who had worked in the region a few years earlier and thus knew the layout of the land, four members of a security detail from the Forces armées centrafricaines (FACA or CAR Army) and an expeditionary photographer.
The journey to the African Pole started in London using a scheduled airline to reach Bangui (capital of CAR) via Brussels, Kigali and Duala. Next step involved a specially chartered flight from Bangui to the dirt airfield at Obo for a rendezvous with a helicopter that had arrived from Kenya via Uganda. Special permits had been required from the CAR Military for both aircraft.
Four landing zones (for the ‘infil’ or ‘infiltration’) had been established and nobody but the team leaders knew where we’d be landing to minimise the chances of an ambush. Furthermore, the team exited (or ‘exfil’) from a separate zone to avoid retracing steps in the jungle. The helicopter hovered over our position in the jungle as a deterrent and in case of emergency evacuation – keeping an altitude above small arms fire!
Temperatures of 38°C and high humidity, combined with a total lack of air movement in the jungle made movements extremely arduous. Then the team had to operate under time constraints dictated by helicopter fuel and the need to return to Bangui before night time curfew.
“This odyssey shows that true expedition is still possible in the modern era,” said Chris, “Of course, the outcome of becoming the first person to ever reach the African Pole of Inaccessibility is satisfying, but it is the journey along the way and people that you meet which make travel so fulfilling”.