Until 2024, the Nile which originates within East Africa and gets a boost from Lake Victoria will remain the world’s longest river as documented by both the Encyclopaedia Britannica and Guinness World Records.
But come April 2024 and a special team of international researchers and explorers will be setting out on a 7,000-kilometre journey to try and dispute the long reigned record of the Nile being the longest water body on the globe.
As far as they are concerned their mission is to solve one of the biggest mysteries regarding the natural world.
This team of international researchers and explorers is being led by the 55-year-old Brazilian expedition leader Yuri Sanada who already has his own biased opinion.
Sanada was quoted by CNN claiming that ‘The Nile is like a worm while the Amazon is an anaconda.’
It is already established that the Amazon is the world’s most voluminous river, as it carries at least four times more water than any other river on the globe.
But the only question so far is which between the two rivers; the Nile or the Amazon, could be the longest.
“So there’s no comparison – we have the biggest river. But the longest, we will see,” Sanada added.
Where the dispute lies
Where does River Nile originate from?
The White Nile, which is the longer of the two, begins at Lake Victoria in Tanzania (though it could be also at Jinja on the Ugandan side) and flows north until it reaches Khartoum, Sudan, where it converges with the Blue Nile.
The Blue Nile, on the other hand, begins near Lake Tana in Ethiopia.
But where exactly does the Amazon River originate from? That’s the question which revolves around the whole length dispute.
Traditionally, the researchers have been deeming the headwaters of the Apurimac River in southern Peru as the starting point of the river.
But many other scientists dispute that theory.
Expeditions like that of James Contos, 51, claim to have discovered a more distant river source – the Mantaro River, in northern Peru.
“I was aware that the most distant source of the Amazon was considered to be the Apurimac, but when I was gathering all the information – maps, hydrographs, etc. – in preparation for my trip to Peru, I realized that another river appeared to be longer,” Contos said.
The planned expedition will follow the course of the Amazon River through Peru, Colombia, and Brazil.
It commences at the newly identified source in the Peruvian Andes, the Mantaro River.
The initial leg of the journey involves navigating the Mantaro’s rapids on a raft led by Contos.
Upon reaching the confluence with the Ene River, the team will continue their voyage aboard three specially designed solar- and pedal-powered boats, tracing the Amazon’s path to the Atlantic Ocean along the Brazilian coast.
In early 2025, a secondary expedition is scheduled to start from the traditional source of the Amazon, the Apurimac River in Peru.
This segment will provide an opportunity for a second set of measurements and will feature the participation of French explorer Celine Cousteau, granddaughter of the renowned oceanographer Jacques Cousteau, who will travel on horseback along the riverbanks.