Ed Stafford

Edward James Stafford, known as Ed Stafford (born 26 December 1975), is a British explorer. He holds the Guinness World Record for being the first human ever to walk the length of the Amazon River.[1] Stafford now hosts shows on Discovery Channel.

Ed Stafford
Born (1975-12-26) 26 December 1975 (age 44)
Peterborough, England
Spouse(s)Laura Bingham

Early life and educationEdit

Ed Stafford was born in Peterborough, Cambridgeshire, England and raised in Leicestershire. He was adopted as a baby by Barbara and Jeremy Stafford, who were both solicitors in Leicestershire. He was educated at Uppingham and was a Cub and a Scout in Leicestershire.

Exploration and survival careerEdit

On 9 August 2010, he became the first person to have walked the entire length of the Amazon River,[2] documented in the 2011 TV series Walking the Amazon on Channel 5. Stafford's expedition began with a friend, Luke Collyer, on 2 April 2008, on the southern coast of Peru. Collyer left after three months, and Stafford completed the journey with his guide, Gadiel “Cho” Sánchez Rivera. He undertook the attempt for several charities.[3][4]

Stafford ran out of money halfway through his hike and had to rely on making YouTube videos featuring PayPal links asking viewers for money. He later described this as "crowdfunding before it had even been invented."[5] He was also held up both at gunpoint and by bow and arrow, and arrested for both drug smuggling and murder - the latter occurring when he coincidentally arrived in an isolated settlement the same day as a community member had gone missing. He was locked in a wooden hut for eight hours before being allowed to continue his journey.[6]

In May 2009 Stafford appeared on the cover of the Royal Geographical Society's Geographical magazine.[7]

Amazon route

In May 2008 Stafford was made Diane Sawyer's ABC News "Person of the Week".[8]

Stafford's accomplishment of walking the Amazon river has been described by Sir Ranulph Fiennes as being "truly extraordinary...in the top league of expeditions past and present".[9]

Stafford was announced as one of National Geographic Adventurers of the Year 2010 and then in March 2011 he was awarded European Adventurer of the Year[10] in a ceremony in Stockholm, Sweden.

In 2011 Guinness World Records recognised Stafford's achievement[11] and he appears in the 2012 Guinness Book of Records.

Also in 2011, Stafford was awarded the Mungo Park Medal by the Royal Scottish Geographical Society.[12] He was not presented the award until 2014 at an event in Perth Scotland.

Commissioned by Discovery Communications, in August 2012 Stafford filmed a three-part special for Discovery Channel where he was dropped on the uninhabited tropical island of Olorua (18°36′19″S 178°45′15″W / 18.60528°S 178.75417°W / -18.60528; -178.75417) in the Pacific for 60 days with no food or equipment to help him survive. "Ed Stafford: Naked and Marooned" [13] was aired on Discovery Channel in the UK in March 2013 and "Naked Castaway" (US version) aired in the USA in April of the same year. Stafford's book of the 60 days in isolation was released in the UK (Virgin Books) in June 2014 and was released in the USA (Penguin Books) in September 2014.

Stafford appears on Discovery Channel in his self-filmed series Marooned with Ed Stafford that is a joint Europe and US Discovery Channel commission.[14] The series was followed up by Ed Stafford: Into The Unknown, which follows Stafford on his travels to remote locations to investigate strange and inexplicable markings which have baffled scientists. The programme aired on the Discovery Channel UK and its international subsidiaries in the latter part of 2015.[15]

The series Ed Stafford: Left For Dead, another survival show, premiered in the autumn of 2017.[16][17]

A survival show Ed Stafford: First Man Out with a competition format began production in 2018,[18] and premiered in early 2019. In the show, Stafford meets one other survival expert each week in a different part of the world where each competes to complete a difficult trek with minimal provisions. Stafford's six competitors in season one are: Aldo Kane, (Borneo, episode one), Khen Rhee (Kazakhstan, episode two), Matt Graham (Mongolia, episode three), EJ Snyder (Thailand, episode four), Cat Bigney (Palau, episode five) and John Hudson (India, episode six).[19]

Personal lifeEdit

After his Amazon expedition Stafford began a search for his biological parents, whom he managed to track with the help of his sister, Janie. He explained, "There had always been this background intrigue. I looked for my birth family, not because I needed new parents in my life, but because it's just inherent to want to know." From his biological family, he has two younger brothers.[20]

On 6 June 2017 Stafford announced via Twitter that his wife Laura Bingham had given birth to a boy.[21]

Prince's Rainforests ProjectEdit

In August 2009 Stafford started writing a biweekly blog for the Prince's Rainforests Project.[22]


  1. ^ "First person to walk the length of the Amazon River". Guinness World Records. Retrieved 15 September 2016.
  2. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 15 August 2010. Retrieved 2010-08-09.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  3. ^ "ME Association". ME Association. 9 September 2016. Retrieved 15 September 2016.
  4. ^ "The Times & The Sunday Times" (PDF). Extras.timesonline.co.uk. Retrieved 15 September 2016.
  5. ^ Hancock, Adam (25 February 2018). "I was stalked by a polar bear". BBC News. Retrieved 2 March 2020.
  6. ^ Hancock, Adam (25 February 2018). "I was stalked by a polar bear". BBC News. Retrieved 2 March 2020.
  7. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 25 May 2009. Retrieved 2009-05-19.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  8. ^ Weir, Bill (21 May 2010). "Bill Weir Is Inspired by Man Walking Length of Amazon River - ABC News". Abcnews.go.com. Retrieved 15 September 2016.
  9. ^ Jackson, Peter (9 August 2010). "Amazon adventure: Ed Stafford's trek from source to sea". BBC News. Retrieved 9 August 2010.
  10. ^ "Amazon explorer Ed Stafford given adventurer award". BBC News. 13 March 2011. Retrieved 15 September 2016.
  11. ^ "First person to walk the length of the Amazon River". Guinness World Records. Retrieved 15 September 2016.
  12. ^ "Mungo Park Medal". Royal Scottish Geographical Society. Archived from the original on 3 March 2016. Retrieved 6 November 2018.
  13. ^ "Ed Stafford: Naked and Marooned". IMDb.com. Retrieved 15 September 2016.
  14. ^ James Sullivan (7 May 2014). "Ed Stafford 'Marooned' Pits the Amazon Explorer Against the Elements". Mensjournal.com. Retrieved 15 September 2016.
  15. ^ White, Peter (27 February 2015). "Ed Stafford ties with Keo for Discovery adventure | News | Broadcast". Broadcastnow.co.uk. Retrieved 15 September 2016.
  16. ^ Allen, Aliyah (12 May 2017). "Discovery commissions Ed Stafford survival series Left For Dead". rts.org.uk. Retrieved 13 September 2018.
  17. ^ "Ed Stafford: Left For Dead". www.imdb.com. Retrieved 13 September 2018.
  18. ^ "On The Spot: Adventurer and TV Presenter Ed Stafford Shares His Camping Secrets". 1 June 2018.
  19. ^ discovery.com/Ed Stafford
  20. ^ McPhee, Rod (12 January 2015). "TV survival expert Ed Stafford on birth parents search: I don't think explorers are at peace with themselves - Mirror Online". Mirror.co.uk. Retrieved 15 September 2016.
  21. ^ @Ed_Stafford (6 June 2017). "Meet the all new Stafford family. Mother & baby very happy and healthy @laurabingham93 💙" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  22. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 6 August 2009. Retrieved 2009-08-04.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)

External linksEdit