What’s The Longest Walkable Route On Earth?

Oh, so you’ve been trekking in the Himalayas, hiked the Inca Trail, and completed the Camino de Santiago. Big whoop. Why don’t you put your bipedal status to proper use and go for a real walk? You could even give what is claimed to be the world’s longest stroll a try. Setting off from L’Agulhas in South Africa, your route will take you from the southernmost point on the African continent to Magadan in the far northeast of Russia, some 22,387 kilometers (13,910 miles) away.

Crossing 16 countries, several mountain ranges, and deserts, this lengthy promenade was identified by Reddit user cbz3000 as the longest unbroken overland route in the world. According to Google Maps, the distance can be shortened to a mere 21,779 kilometers (13,533 miles) by taking a ferry across the Black Sea, although that would be cheating.

Overall, the lengthy stroll should require about 4,492 hours of continuous walking, adding up to just over half a year on the move. During this time, you’ll tramp up and down enough hills to equal 13 ascents and descents of Mount Everest.

Of course, in reality, the journey would likely take a lot longer than this, as you’d need to stop to eat, sleep, and rest. If we’re being realistic, then it’s unlikely anyone would ever be able to complete the trek, as it passes through numerous currently war-torn countries like South Sudan and Syria, while the visa requirements of many nations simply don’t allow visitors to stay long enough to cross the entire country on foot.

Theoretically, however, if you could get around these issues, then you’d only need to worry about natural hurdles like the searing heat of the Sahara Desert, the freezing Siberian tundra, or the malaria-carrying mosquitos of tropical Africa. Carrying the right equipment to survive in these different climates would be a major challenge, and you’d probably need to pack several pairs of walking boots to replace those that wear out along the way.

And if you want to stretch your legs a little more then why not extend your trip by crossing the Bering Strait that links Siberia to Alaska, recreating the journey of the first humans to reach the Americas thousands of years ago? You won’t find this route on Google Maps, but adventurer Karl Bushby managed to plod across the treacherous 93-kilometer (58-mile) wide stretch of icy ocean in the winter of 2006, as part of an incredible foot-powered journey from Chile to his hometown of Hull in northern England.

Setting off from the foot of South America in 1998, Bushby initially hoped to complete the 57,936-kilometer (36,000-mile) odyssey by 2010 but is currently still en route after more than a quarter of a century of walking. Visas have played a major role in slowing him down, forcing him to return to the US after he was deemed to have not entered Russia at the correct port upon completing his crossing of the Bering Strait.

Then there’s National Geographic journalist Paul Salopek, who in 2013 began a 38,600-kilometer (24,000-mile) journey to retrace humanity’s route out of Africa. Setting off from Ethiopia in 2013, Salopek had planned to reach the Americas within seven years, but is currently still in China and has yet to make the crossing from Eurasia to Alaska.

So by all means, have a crack at the world’s longest walkable route – just be prepared to spend the rest of your life trying to complete it.

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