Ed Stafford

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Ed Stafford
Edward James Stafford

(1975-12-26) 26 December 1975 (age 47)
Alma materNewcastle University
(m. 2016)

Edward James Stafford (born 26 December 1975) is an English explorer and survivalist. 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 the Discovery Channel and Channel Four.

Early life and education[edit]

Ed Stafford was born in Peterborough, Cambridgeshire, England and raised in Leicestershire. He was adopted as a baby by Barbara and Jeremiah Stafford, who were both solicitors in Leicestershire. He was educated at Uppingham and was a Cub and a Scout in Leicestershire. Stafford graduated with a BSc in Geography from Newcastle University in 1997.[2]

Military career[edit]

Stafford joined the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst in September 1998,[3] and after a year's training he was commissioned in the Devonshire and Dorset Regiment of the British Army as a subaltern on 7 August 1999: he was granted seniority in the rank of subaltern (second lieutenant) from 10 August 1996 and of subaltern (lieutenant) from 10 August 1998.[4] His service number was 550823. He served a tour of duty in Northern Ireland in 2000.[3] He was promoted to captain on 8 February 2002,[5] before leaving the British Army on 7 August 2002.[6]

Exploration and survival career[edit]

On 9 August 2010, he became the first person to have walked the entire length of the Amazon River,[7] 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.[8][9]

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".[10] 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.[11]

In May 2009 Stafford appeared on the cover of the Royal Geographical Society's Geographical magazine.[12]

Amazon route

In May 2008 Stafford was made Diane Sawyer's ABC News "Person of the Week".[13]

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".[14]

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[15] in a ceremony in Stockholm, Sweden.

In 2011 Guinness World Records recognised Stafford's achievement[1] 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.[16] 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"[17] 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.[18] 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.[19]

The series Ed Stafford: Left For Dead, another survival show, premiered in the autumn of 2017.[20][21]

A survival show Ed Stafford: First Man Out with a competition format began production in 2018,[22] 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).[23] Series two of First Man Out was filmed entirely in China and premiered in early 2020; Stafford's six competitors in season two are: Will Lord (Bashan, episode one), Josh James (Yunnan Province, episode two), Ky Furneaux (Four Girls Mountain Range, episode three), Matt 'The Juggernaut' Wright (Wanshan Archipelago, episode four), Hakim Isler (Zoige Marshes, episode five) and Xinlei Wu (Aksai Desert, episode six).[24]

Personal life[edit]

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.[25]

On 3 September 2016, Stafford married fellow explorer, Laura Bingham in Leicestershire.[26]

On 6 June 2017 Stafford announced via Twitter that Bingham had given birth to a boy called Ranulph.[27] On 26 August 2020, Stafford's wife gave birth to twin girls – Mary and Camilla.[28]

Prince's Rainforests Project[edit]

In August 2009 Stafford started writing a biweekly blog for the Prince's Rainforests Project.[29]


Year Television series Channel Notes Ref
2011 Walking the Amazon Channel 5 and Discovery two-part documentary [30]
2013–2016 Ed Stafford: Naked and Marooned Discovery 3 series; 19 episodes [31]
2015 Ed Stafford: Into The Unknown Discovery 1 series; 6 episodes [32]
2016 Burma's Secret Jungle War with Joe Simpson BBC Two two-part documentary [33]
2017 Ed Stafford: Left For Dead Discovery 1 series; 6 episodes [34]
2019 60 Days on the Streets Channel 4 1 series; 3 episodes [35]
Ed Stafford: Man Woman Child Wild Discovery Documentary [36]
2019–present Ed Stafford: First Man Out Discovery 3 series-present [37]
2022 60 Days with the Gypsies Channel 4 Three-part series [38]
TBA Kings of the Jungle (w/t) Channel 4 Six-part series [39]
2023 60 Days on the Estates Channel 4 Three-part series [40]


Title Release date ISBN Ref
Walking the Amazon 7 June 2012 978-0753515648 [41]
Naked and Marooned 5 June 2014 978-0753555040 [42]
Adventures for a Lifetime 4 October 2018 978-0008306359 [43]
Ed Stafford's Ultimate Adventure Guide 12 October 2018 978-0228101604 [44]
Expeditions Unpacked 17 September 2019 978-1781318782 [45]
Epic Expeditions: 25 of the Greatest Voyages Into the Unknown 3 August 2021 978-0711259645 [46]


  1. ^ a b "First person to walk the length of the Amazon River". Guinness World Records. 9 August 2010. Retrieved 15 September 2016.
  2. ^ "Explorer, author and television presenter (BSc Geography 1997)". www.ncl.ac.uk. Archived from the original on 16 October 2020. Retrieved 9 October 2020.
  3. ^ a b "Explorer Ed Stafford on how the CCF shaped him". Combined Cadet Force. 8 January 2018. Retrieved 7 February 2022.
  4. ^ "No. 55615". The London Gazette. 21 September 1999. pp. 10097–10098.
  5. ^ "No. 56524". The London Gazette (Supplement). 2 April 2002. p. 3965.
  6. ^ "No. 56661". The London Gazette (Supplement). 13 August 2002. p. 9735.
  7. ^ "Ed Stafford, British Man, Becomes First to Walk Along Entire Amazon River". HuffPost. Archived from the original on 15 August 2010. Retrieved 9 August 2010.
  8. ^ "ME Association". ME Association. 9 September 2016. Retrieved 15 September 2016.
  9. ^ "The Times & The Sunday Times" (PDF). Extras.timesonline.co.uk. Retrieved 15 September 2016.
  10. ^ Hancock, Adam (25 February 2018). "I was stalked by a polar bear". BBC News. Retrieved 2 March 2020.
  11. ^ Hancock, Adam (25 February 2018). "I was stalked by a polar bear". BBC News. Retrieved 2 March 2020.
  12. ^ "Home / Geographical". Archived from the original on 25 May 2009. Retrieved 19 May 2009.
  13. ^ Weir, Bill (21 May 2010). "Bill Weir Is Inspired by Man Walking Length of Amazon River". ABC News. Retrieved 15 September 2016.
  14. ^ Jackson, Peter (9 August 2010). "Amazon adventure: Ed Stafford's trek from source to sea". BBC News. Retrieved 9 August 2010.
  15. ^ "Amazon explorer Ed Stafford given adventurer award". BBC News. 13 March 2011. Retrieved 15 September 2016.
  16. ^ "Mungo Park Medal". Royal Scottish Geographical Society. Archived from the original on 3 March 2016. Retrieved 6 November 2018.
  17. ^ "Ed Stafford: Naked and Marooned". IMDb.com. Retrieved 15 September 2016.
  18. ^ James Sullivan (7 May 2014). "Ed Stafford 'Marooned' Pits the Amazon Explorer Against the Elements". Mensjournal.com. Retrieved 15 September 2016.
  19. ^ White, Peter (27 February 2015). "Ed Stafford ties with Keo for Discovery adventure | News | Broadcast". Broadcastnow.co.uk. Retrieved 15 September 2016.
  20. ^ Allen, Aliyah (12 May 2017). "Discovery commissions Ed Stafford survival series Left For Dead". rts.org.uk. Retrieved 13 September 2018.
  21. ^ "Ed Stafford: Left For Dead". www.imdb.com. Retrieved 13 September 2018.
  22. ^ "On The Spot: Adventurer and TV Presenter Ed Stafford Shares His Camping Secrets". 1 June 2018.
  23. ^ discovery.com/Ed Stafford
  24. ^ "Ed Stafford: First Man Out". discoveryuk.com. Retrieved 25 January 2021.
  25. ^ 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.
  26. ^ Owen, Dave (10 July 2017). "Ed Stafford marries fellow adventurer Laura Bingham in Hallaton". Leicester Mercury. Retrieved 13 February 2022.
  27. ^ @Ed_Stafford (6 June 2017). "Meet the all new Stafford family. Mother & baby very happy and healthy @laurabingham93 💙" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  28. ^ "Adventurers Ed Stafford and wife Laura Bingham welcome twin girls into the world". leicestermercury.co.uk. 27 August 2020. Retrieved 9 October 2020.
  29. ^ "Ed's Amazon Adventure Blog". Archived from the original on 6 August 2009. Retrieved 4 August 2009.
  30. ^ "Ed Stafford: self-shooting masterclass". 13 October 2016. Retrieved 10 October 2020.
  31. ^ "Ed Stafford: Naked and Marooned". Retrieved 10 October 2020.
  32. ^ "Ed Stafford: Into the Unknown". Retrieved 10 October 2020.
  33. ^ "Burma's Secret Jungle War with Joe Simpson". Retrieved 10 October 2020.
  34. ^ "Ed Stafford: Left For Dead". Retrieved 10 October 2020.
  35. ^ "60 Days on the Streets". Retrieved 10 October 2020.
  36. ^ "Ed Stafford: Man Woman Child Wild". Retrieved 25 January 2021.
  37. ^ "Ed Stafford: First Man Out". Retrieved 10 October 2020.
  38. ^ "Channel 4 and Boundless Reunite with Ed Stafford to Spend 60 Days With The Gypsies". Retrieved 31 January 2022.
  39. ^ "Channel 4 commissions Kings of the Jungle (w/t) from Twenty Twenty". Retrieved 26 February 2023.
  40. ^ "Ed Stafford Moves Into Britain's Most Notorious Housing Estates for Channel 4 and Naked Series". Retrieved 28 April 2023.
  41. ^ Walking the Amazon. ASIN 0753515644.
  42. ^ Naked and Marooned. ASIN 0753555042.
  43. ^ Adventures for a Lifetime. ASIN 0008306354.
  44. ^ "Ed Stafford's Ultimate Adventure Guide". Retrieved 18 October 2020.
  45. ^ Expeditions Unpacked. ASIN 1781318786.
  46. ^ Epic Expediitions. ASIN 071125964X.

External links[edit]