BIG Thanks to All Our Corporate Sponsors and Product Donors

‘River Gambia Expedition 2012 – 1000km source to sea Africa odyssey’  team thanks all our product sponsors, backers and collaborators for all their unprecedented support and product donations. We are extremely grateful and thankful.

Friday  1st March 2012: Today’s shout out goes to Kelly Kettle – this little beauty was a life saver…we Brits love our tea! An expedition kit is not complete without one! Also, because you can burn any old bits of dry twigs and grass to boil the water it meant that this time, we didn’t have to use kembo (charcoal – from trees which more all too often purposely chopped down for burning) – used all the time in West Africa to make fires.

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Helen – ‘we LOVE our Kelly Kettle!’ – Senegal, West Africa © Jason Florio

‘Kelly Kettle® essential camping equipment for the outdoors (for scouts, fishing, picnics, disaster kits, etc. Order yours now!)‘ And now….also for West Africa adventures! Thanks Patrick and Seamus Kelly for all your support for the River Gambia Expedition – we’re not quite sure how we would have survived without our tea! And, also, thanks guys for stepping up to the mark and sending another Kelly Kettle our way, when our wayward box of gear (containing the original Kelly Kettles you sent to us in the UK) didn’t appear in The Gambia!

Kelly Kettle

Abdou and Florio make tea the Kelly Kettle way – Senegal, West Africa © Helen Jones Florio

Monday 4th March – 2013: Today’s ‘shout out’ goes to The Gambia Experience , and The Senegal Experience, who also supported us on our ‘A Short Walk in the Gambian Bush – a 930km African odyssey’…and an extra big shout out to Matt Smith, savant wordsmith of the The Gambia Blog, and Jenny Adams, PR guru for Serenity Holidays/The Gambia Experience/The Senegal Experience – thanks, as always, for the continuous encouragement and support.


Fatoto, The Gambia, West Africa

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The River Gambia, Mako, Senegal, West Africa

The Gambia Experience

5th March 2013: Today’s ‘shout out’ goes to Ram Mohan and ComAfriqueIntelizon‘Providing Urban Amenities to Rural Areas in a Sustainable manner : Corporate Social Responsibility through a Commercial Program synergised with Development.’

We met Ram, in The Gambia, just before we left for the River Gambia Expedition…and, what an entrepreneurial  inspiration he is! There is a great story behind ComAfriqueIntelizon so please take a minute to check it out. In a nutshell, they are supplying solar-powered bulbs and torches to villagers throughout West Africa, who don’t yet have access to electricity. But, there is more to it than that…ComAfrique bring in donors to provide a number of lights to each village, the villagers buy the lights for a nominal fee and this saves money on buying candles daily. They are also encouraged to save this money, which goes towards improvements in the village and/or buying more lights for the whole village…

We could go on and on about this project…suffice to say, thank you, Ram and ComAfrique for lighting up the River Gambia Expedition!

Light up a village…‘ please check them out here

ComAfrique Intelizon - solar powered lights © Helen Jones-Florio

ComAfrique Intelizon – solar powered lights © Helen Jones-Florio


7th March 2013 – today’s ‘shout out’ goes SteriPEN – ‘Drink safe on or off the grid with SteriPEN® Adventurer Opti water purifier and Solar Charging Case.’ We were definitely ‘off the grid’ on the River Gambia Expedition and using the SteriPEN Adventurer Opti meant that the water we drank was safe to drink, everywhere we went. We’d used one on the last expedition – A Short Walk in the Gambian Bush – but the it was battery operated and we went through a ton of crappy ‘lumo’ – local Gambian markets – batteries. The updated version, which SteriPEN very kindly donated, has a solar-powered case. Perfect – particularly when in three West African countries which have  A LOT of sunshine!

It’s thanks to Dee Knisley and all at SteriPEN, UK, that neither of us came back from West Africa with any nasty bacterial microbes (not that we are aware of!) in our system, from drinking river, well, and tap water.

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SteriPEN Adventurer Opti – West Africa dust and all! The River Gambia,  Senegal, West Africa

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SteriPEN harnesses the brilliant power of ultraviolet light to make water safe to drink

15th March 2013 – Today’s shout out goes to:

Yellowbrick Tracking Devices‘Keeping track…™YB3 gets a GPS fix and transmits your position back to the website, from anywhere on earth. Truly global coverage. Absolutely no dead spots. Now everyone can follow you on your adventure…’ which is just what everyone did, through checking out the River Gambia Expedition route map our personal Yellowbrick blog.

Yellowbrick 'YB3' Tracking Device - follow our (almost) every move on the expedition

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Helen – sending emails, via an iPad link to the YB3, Christmas Day, camping on the rocks by the River Gambia, Njeun, Senegal © Jason Florio

Not only did we have the GPS tracking – you can see our route map on the YB3 blog – which also worked on the iridium network (which is why we were never out of range – anywhere), but we also had the RED emergency button – which we made a contact list of people who would, hopefully, come to the rescue should had anything happened. And, we could send and receive emails, which were a godsend when you were feeling a wee bit homesick or wanted to send a expedition progress update message (which my mum then kindly posted on FB for us!) . Just a few of the multitude of ways as to why the little yellow and black gadget was an integral part of our equipment package. So, it BIG thanks to Nick Farrell and Yellowbrick, UK, for the loan of the YB3 for our River Gambia Expedition

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Florio models the Overboard Waterproof Dry Tubes, Brefet, The River Gambia, West Africa. Image © Helen Jones-Florio

March 19, 2013 – Today’s ‘shout out’ goes to ™Overboard ‘the leaders in waterproof bags and cases‘. And those bags did exactly what they said on the label – ‘Overboard keeping your gear dry‘! There were times, on the River Gambia Expedition ,as the river got wider and wider and choppier and choppier, when our two little canoes were buffeted around quite considerably and filled with water – everything got a good soaking – on the surface, that is. The water just slid off those dry bags. And, the iPad case was mega! Our GPS tracking system was on the iPad, which meant that we needed it at hand, at all times, and the case took a good soaking too – on the surface only. The iPad? Dry as a bone.

The Overboard dry bags were also perfect for the road section of our journey – barreling up and down the extremely dusty ‘roads’ of the  Fouta Djallon Highlands on motorcycles – our gear was kept dust-free.

Overboard - Leaders in Waterproof Bags & Cases

Massive thanks to Joel Meadows and all at Overboard, UK, for their very generous gear sponsorship – all those dry bags and cases will definitely be making the next expedition with us!

‘This has cheered the OB team up on a dreary Monday!’ Overboard

March 20, 2013 – Today’s ‘shout out’ goes to ™TEVA – ‘Live better stories…change your shoe, not your stride‘ . TEVA UK very generously sponsored the River Gambia Expedition with water shoes for all the team – ‘CHURN EVO’ for the men and ‘EWASO’ for the woman – as displayed by expedition co-team leader and producer, Helen Jones-Florio:

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‘Come on in, kids, the water’s fine!’ – Helen in her ™TEVA EWASO wet shoes – River Gambia, Karantaba, The Gambia, West Africa © Jason Florio

These shoes took some beating and more than a few good soakings too – dipping into the River Gambia every day, and often trudging through the mud – and they still look like new. They are super lightweight too, slip on and slip off, quick dry, and they grip – particularly useful when one had to jump out of a canoe in a hurry and clamber over the rocks to avoid hippos!

Big thanks to all at TEVA for their support – we’ll definitely be taking our TEVA shoes along on the next expedition!

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NUUN UK – The River Gambia, Sila Kounda, Senegal, West Africa © Jason Florio

March 26, 2013 – Today’s shout out goes to NUUN, UK – ‘You’re Always Active, Your Water Should Be Too’

‘Nuun is leading the way in portable hydration with three drink options to keep you refreshed all day, everyday. All three are ideal to help keep you hydrated and to make the most of the water you drink’ – Nuun

BIG thanks to Sarah, Ella and all at Nuun for the hydration tablets and water bottles, for the River Gambia Expedition. They supplied us with three tasty flovours: tri-berry (my favourite), lemon & lime and lime tea, which helped to keep us hydrated throughout our journey – whether we’re trekking in the Fouta Djallon Highlands of Guinea or canoeing down the River Gambia in Senegal and The Gambia.

Thanks for your support, NUUN!


‘What an awesome expedition you guys did, we were very happy to support you both. Thanks for the cracking photos! Keep in touch, all at nuun’

More ‘shout outs’ to come, for everyone else who backed us with product…

including: Goal Zero, Mountain Boot Company, Peliproducts UK™ , DPxGear™ , Tamarack Outdoors™ Opencast Software , Redcoat Express , Crewsaver, SystemX

Outside Magazine – Adventure Lab/Expedition Watch: ‘The River Gambia, From Source to Sea’ Jason Florio manages to get a plug for our sponsors and backers in his interviews about the River Gambia Expedition 2012 

Plus, our resident award-winning photographer and expedition co-leader, Jason Florio, got some great shots of all the product we received, in use, whilst we are the on the river and trekking in the bush – which our sponsors get to use for their own marketing purposes.

And, for those who don’t already know…here are the why, where, what’s and who’s

Thanks a million!

Helen & Florio

We did it-Polaroid_DSF4403

4 Responses to BIG Thanks to All Our Corporate Sponsors and Product Donors

  1. Pingback: Dream boats…folding Canadian canoes…anyone? |

  2. Pingback: Travel Plans Update: The River Gambia Expedition 2012 – things are falling into place and our leaving date for West Africa is in sight. At last. |

  3. Pingback: Wish List: Expeditions gear and gadgets needed – for the River Gambia Expedition-1000km source to sea African odyssey |

  4. Pingback: A quick shout out, from The Gambia, West Africa, to our River Gambia Expedition product sponsors. |

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