Royal Marine Glen Steyn’s challenge to walk one of Africa’s most ferocious rivers

WE TALK to Glen Steyn about his challenge to walk the length of the Orange River in Africa.

Orange River

Glen Steyn is about to embark on a challenge which will see him and a fellow Royal Marine walk along the length of Africa’s Orange River.

AFTER GLEN STEYN left the Royal Marines it’s no surprise he was soon in search of his next adventure. He admits he’s constantly looking for his next challenge in life and his decision to walk the length of the Orange River in Africa certainly ticks all the boxes for someone wishing to push themselves to the limit and test every ounce of mental and physical strength they have.


Here Glen talks about his preparations for the walk, which he will take on with a fellow ex-Royal Marine, and what he’s looking forward to most from his time in Africa.


The duo are raising money for The Royal Marines Charity and Veterans for Wildlife and you can get behind them and support the worthy causes on Facebook at expedorange or via Glen’s Instagram page at Glen.Steyn.


The Orange River stretches across the width of Africa.

What inspired you to set yourself the challenge to walk the length of the Orange River in Africa and who will you be taking on the walk with?


I have always set myself challenges or goals in life. I felt a little lost when I left the military and felt that I needed something to sink my teeth into in terms of a physical and mental challenge. On top of the challenge I want to see more of the outdoors and wilderness, immerse myself in nature and also hopefully inspire younger generations to get outdoors and have fun.


I will be walking with a fellow Royal Marine Alex Davidson from Shropshire.


Glen admits he is a man always looking for the next challenge in life.

Tell us about some of the preparations you’ve made for the challenge?


Firstly I had a look at the route and all the details in terms of the length of the river. Can I walk 2,200km with no major snags along the way, like a mini risk assessment? Can I afford it if I dont receive any sponsorship? What sort of kit will I need to have is a major one and this plays alongside the climate?


It can get very cold in Lesotho with all its mountain ranges and then blistering hot as you get closer to Namibia (bordering the namib desert), reaching temperatures of 45 degrees celsius.


Then lastly am I fit enough for the expedition and if not what sort of training regime will I have to undertake? Luckily I keep myself generally fit so the last few weeks as the expedition gets closer have been all about getting the hours in under the straps of my pack. Most importantly though I have to be mentally prepared and I have no doubt in my mind that we will complete this expedition.


Tell us about your time in the Royal Marines and how that experience has shaped the man you are today?


My time in the Royal Marines was very busy, but nothing short of being absolutely amazing. The training we received has certainly prepared me for my upcoming expeditions and being on operations with the guys in Afghanistan teaches you how to face adversity with a smile and sometimes a giggle. I am certainly a far more determined man than I ever was and that is thanks to the Royal Marines,and all the friends I made whilst I was serving. It is an eye opener when you can see how far the human body will go. Being a Royal Marine really is a state of mind and that mental robustness never leaves you once you get it. I am also a far more confident person than I was before being in the corps, probably thanks to all the characters I have worked with over the years.


Glen credits the Royal Marines with giving him the confidence to pursue any challenge he comes across in life.

What are you most looking forward to about the walk and what do you think the toughest challenges it will bring will be?


I am looking forward to meeting the diverse people who live beside the river and seeing the variety of landscapes that Southern Africa has to offer. I envisage the toughest times will be when we have uneventful and potentially boring days. When our bodies and minds start to fatigue from the mileage we have to do day in and day out, that will be when we have to really dig deep.


Tell us about the charities you are raising money for?


We will be raising for The Royal Marines Charity, the funds go towards rehabilitating injured soldiers from operations, help recovery from PTSD and also to help Royal Marines and their families if they are in any sort of financial crisis.


Our second charity is Veterans for Wildlife, the funds will go towards sending ex infantry soldiers out to South Africa. Once there they will train the local Anti – Poaching rangers in military tactics, weapon handling and medical skills to aid in the fight against illegal poaching in Southern Africa.


A picturesque view of the Orange River in Namibia, Africa.

How can our readers get behind you?


They can follow our Facebook page called @expedorange or my Instagram @glen.steyn.


We will be sending regular updates of our progress on the expedition through both of these channels.


Tell us about some of the other challenges you’ve taken on in the past?


Does 32 weeks of Royal Marines training count?


I kayaked 350km along the Vaal River in South Africa for the Royal Marines 350th birthday in 2014.


I participated in the Devizes to Westminster Canoe race in 2015.


Walking the Orange River will be my biggest yet and definitely be the farthest I will ever have gone on my own two feet.


What about life after the walk? What other challenges and projects do you have in the pipeline?


I hope to do another world first expedition before 2019, my plan for the future is to go on some epic expeditions and write about them. I am in the early stages of potentially walking the Zambezi River in Zambia, solo and unsupported, this is all down to getting funding of course.


I have a few other ideas in mind but I don’t want to give too much away at this stage.

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