AT length the explorers reached Magungo, situated inside an
immense bed of reeds, at the top of a hill, above the mouth of a
large river. Passing up a channel amidst a perfect wilderness of
vegetation, they reached the shore below the town. Here they
were met by their guide, who had brought their riding oxen from Vako-
via, and reported them all well.
The chief of Magungo and a large number of natives were also on the
shore waiting for them, and brought them down a plentiful supply of
goats, fowls, eggs, and fresh butter. Proceeding on foot to the height on
which Magungo stands, they thence enjoyed a magnificent view, not only
over the lake, but to the north, towards the point where its waters flow
into the Nile.
Baker's great desire was to descend the Nile in canoes, from its exit
from the lake to the cataracts in the Madi country, and thence to march
direct. with only guns and ammunition, to Gondokoro. This plan he
found impossible to carry out.
We will let Baker continue the thrilling narrative in his own words :
The boats being ready, we took leave of the chief, leaving him an
acceptable present of beads, and we descended the hill to the river, thank-
ful at having so far successfully terminated the expedition as to have
traced the lake to that important point, Maguno, which had been our
clue to the discovery even so far away in time and place as the
distant country of Latooka. We were both very weak and ill, and my
knees trembled beneath me as I walked down the easy descent. I, in
my enervated state, endeavoring to assist my wife, we were the "blind
leading the blind ;" but had life closed on that day we could have died
most happily, for the hard fight through sickness and misery had ended
in victory ; and, although I looked to home as a paradise never to be
regained, I could have lain down to sleep in contentment on this spot,
with the consolation that, if the body had been vanquished, we died with
the prize in our grasp.
Voyage Up the Victoria Nile.
On arrival at the canoes we found everything in readiness, and the
boatmen already in their places. A crowd of natives pushed us over the
shallows, and once in deep water we passed through a broad canal which
led us into the open channel without the labor of towing through the
narrow inlet by which we had arrived. Once in the broad channel of
dead water we steered due east, and made rapid way until the evening.
The river as it now appeared, although devoid of current, was an average
of about 500 yards in width.
Before we halted for the night I was subjected to a most severe attack
of fever, and upon the boat reaching a certain spot I was carried on a
litter, perfectly unconscious, to a village, attended carefully by my poor
sick wife, who, herself half dead, followed me on foot through the
marshes in pitch darkness, and watched over me until the morning. At
daybreak I was too weak to stand, and we vere both carried down to
the canoes, and, crawling helplessly within our grass awning, we lay down
like logs while the canoes continued their voyage. Many of our men
were also suffering from fever. The malaria of the dense masses of float-
ing vegetation was most poisonous; and, upon looking back to the
canoe that followed our wake, I observed all my men sitting crouched
together sick and dispirited, looking like departed spirits being ferried
across the melancholy Styx.
The river now contracted rapidly to about two hundred and fifty yards
in width about ten miles from Magungo. We had left the vast flats of
rush banks, and entered a channel between high ground, forming steep
forest- covered hills, about 200 feet on either side, north and south : never-
theless there was no perceptible stream, although there was no doubt
that we were actually in the channel of a river. The water was clear and
exceedingly deep. In the evening we halted, and slept on a mud bank
close to the water. The grass in the forest was very high and rank : thus
we were glad to find an open space for a bivouac, although a nest of
mosquitoes and malaria.
Off in tlie Early Morning.
On waking the next morning, I observed that a thick fog covered the
surface of the river; and as I lay upon my back, I amused myself before
I woke my men by watching the fog slowly lifting from the river. While
thus employed I was struck by the fact, that the little green water-plants,
like floating cabbages, were certainly, although very slowly, moving to
the west. I immediately jumped up and watched them most attentively;
there was no doubt about it ; they were travelling towards the Albert
Lake. We were now about eighteen miles in a direct line from Magun-
go, and there was a current in the river, which, however slight, was never-
Our toilette did not take long to arrange, as we had thrown ourselves
down at night with our clothes on ; accordingly we entered the canoe at
once, and gave the order to start.
The woman Bacheeta knew the country, as she had formerly been to
Magungo when in the Service of Sali, who had been subsequently mur-
dered by Kamrasi ; she now informed me that we should terminate our
canoe voyage on that day, as we should arrive at the great waterfall of
which she had often spoken. As we proceeded, the river gradually nar-
rowed to about 180 yards, and when the paddles ceased working we
could distinctly hear the roar of water. I had heard this on waking in
the morning, but at the time I had imagined it to proceed from distant
Thunder of the Cataract.
By ten o'clock the current had so increased as we proceeded, that it
was distinctly perceptible, although weak. The roar of the waterfall was
extremely loud, and after sharp pulling for a couple cf hours, during
which time the stream increased, we arrived at a few deserted fishing-
huts, at a point where the river made a slight turn. I never saw such an
extraordinary show of crocodiles as were exposed on every sandbank on
the sides of the river; they lay like logs of timber close together, and
vpon one bank we counted twenty- seven, of large size; every basking
place was crowded in a similar manner. From the time we had fairly
entered the river, it had been confined by heights somewhat precipitous
on either side, rising to about 180 feet. At this point the cliffs were
still higher, and exceedingly abrupt. From the roar of the water, I was
sure that the fall would be in sight if we turned the corner at the bend of
the river; accordingly I prdered the boatmen to row as far as they could:
to this they at first objected, as they wished to stop at the deserted fisli-
ing village, which they explained was to be the limit of the journey, fur-
ther progress being impossible.
A Magrnificent View.
However, I explained that I merely wished to see the fall, and they
rowed immediately up the stream, which was now strong against us.
Upon rounding the corner, a magnificent sight burst suddenly upon us.
On either side of the river were beautifully wooded cliffs rising abruptly'
to a height of about 300 feet; rocks were jutting out from the intensely
green foliage : and rushing through a gap that cleft the rock exactly be-
fore us, the river, contracted from a grand stream, was pent up in a nar-
row gorge of scarcely fifty yards in width ; roaring furiously through the
rock-bound pass, it plunged in one leap of about 120 feet perpendicular
into a dark abyss below.
The fall of water was snow-white, which had a superb effect as it con-
trasted with the dark cliffs that walled the river, while the graceful
palms of the Tropics and wild plantains perfected the beauty of the view.
This was the greatest waterfall of the Nile, and, in honor of the distin-
guished President of the Royal Geographical Society, I named it the
Murchison Falls, as the most important object throughout the entire
course of the river.
The boatmen, having been promised a present of beads to induce them
to approach the fall as close as possible, succeeded in bringing the canoe
within about 300 yards of the base, but the power of the current and the
whirpools in the river rendered it impossible to proceed farther. There
was a sand-bank on our left which was literally covered with crocodiles
lying parallel to each other like trunks of trees prepared for shipment ;
they had no fear of the canoe until we approached within about twenty
yards of them, when they slowly crept into the water; all excepting one,
an immense fellow who lazily lagged behind, and immediately dropped
dead as a bullet struck him in the brain.
So alarmed were the boatmen at the unexpected report of the rifle that
they immediately dropped into the body of the canoe, one of them losing
his paddle. Nothing would induce them to attend to the boat, as I had
fired a second shot at the crocodile as a " quietus," and the natives did
not know how often the alarming noise would be repeated. Accordingly
we were at the mercy of the powerful stream, and the canoe was whisked
round by the eddy ; hardly had we realized our peril when a tremendous
commotion took place, and in an instant a great bull hippopotamus
charged the canoe, and with a severe shock striking the bottom he lifted
us half out of the water. The natives in the party positively yelled with
terror, not knowing whether the shock was in any way connected with
the dreaded report of the rifle; the black women screamed; and we
began to make use of our rifles.
The hippopotamus, proud of having disturbed us, but doubtless think-
ing us rather hard of texture, raised his head to take a last view of his
enemy, and then sank rapidly. Hippopotamus heads of enormous size
were on all sides, appearing and vanishing rapidly as they rose to survey
us ; at one time we counted eighteen upon the surface. Having recovered
the lost paddle, I prevailed upon the boatmen to keep the canoe steady
while I made a sketch of the Murchison Falls, which being completed,
we drifted rapidly down to the landing-place at the deserted fishing-village,
and bade adieu to the navigation of the lake and river of Central Africa.
The few huts that existed in this spot were mere ruins. Clouds had
portended rain, and down it came, as it usually did once in every twenty-
four hours. However, that passed away by the next morning, and the
day broke, discovering us about as wet and wretched as we were accus-
tomed to be. I now started off four of my men with the boatmen and
the interpreter Bacheeta to the nearest village, to inquire whether our
guide, Rabonga, had arrived with our riding oxen, as our future travel-
ling was to be on land, and the limit of our navigation must have been
well known to him. After some hours the people returned, minus the
boatmen, with a message from the head-man of a village they had visited,
that the oxen were there, but not the guide Rabonga, who had remained
at Magungo, but that the animals should be brought to us that evening,
together with porters to convey the luggage.
In the evening a number of people arrived, bringing some plantain
cider and plantains as a present from the head-man ; and promising that,
upon the following morning, we should be conducted to his village.
The next day we started, but not until the afternoon, as we had to
await the arrival of the head-man, who was to escort us. Our oxen were,
brought, and if we looked wretched, the anamals were a match. They
had been bitten by the fly, thousands of which were at this spot. Their
coats were staring, ears drooping, noses running, and heads hanging
down ; all the symptoms of fly-bite, together with extreme looseness of
the bowels. I saw that it was all up with our animals.
Weak as I was myself, I was obliged to walk, as my ox could not carry
me up the steep inclination, and I toiled languidly to the summit of the
cliff It poured with rain. Upon arrival at the summit we were in pre-
cisely the same park-like land that characterizes Chopi and Unyoro, but
the grass was about seven feet high ; and from the constant rain, and the
extreme fertility of the soil, the country was choked with vegetation.
Arrival at a Chief's Island.
We were now above the Murchison Falls, and we heard the roaring of
the water beneath us to our left. We continued our route parallel to the
river above the Falls, stearing east ; and a little before evening we arrived
at a small village belonging to the head-man who accompanied us. I was
chilled and wet ; my wife had fortunately been carried in her litter, which
was protected by a hide roofing. Feverish and exhausted, I procured
from the natives some good acid plums, and refreshed by these I was
able to boil my thermometer and take the altitude.
On the following morning we started, the route, as before, parallel to
the river, and so close that the roar of the rapids was extremely loud.
The river flowed in a deep ravine upon our left. We continued for a
day's march along the Somerset, crossing many lavines and torrents,
until we turned suddenly down to the left, and arriving at the bank, we
were to be transported to an island called Patooan, that was the residence
of a chief. It was about an hour after sunset, and being dark, my riding
ox; who was being driven as too weak to carry me, fell into an elephant
pitfall. After much hallooing, a canoe was brought from the island,
which was' not more than fifty yards from the mainland, and we were
ferried across. We were both very ill with a sudden attack of fever ;
and my wife, not being able to stand, was, on arrival on the island, car-
ried in a litter I knew not whither, escorted by some of my men, while I
lay down on the wet ground quite exhausted with the annihilating dis-
ease. At length the remainder of my men crossed over, and those who
had carried my wife to the village returning with firebrands, I managed to
creep after them with the aid of a long stick, upon which I rested with
In a Wretched Hut for Shelter.
After a walk, through a forest of high trees, for about a quarter of a
mile, I arrived at a village where I was show^n a wretched hut, the stars
being visible through the roof In this my wife lay dreadfully ill, and I
fell down upon some straw. About an hour later, a violent thunderstorm
broke over us, and our hut was perfectly flooded , we, being far too ill
and helpless to move from our positions, remained dripping wet and shiv-
ering with fever until the morning. Our servants and people had, like
all natives, made themselves much more comfortable than their employ-
ers ; nor did they attempt to interfere with our misery in any way until
summoned to appear at sunrise.
The foregoing is Baker's narrative. Within a few days the boats in
which they had hoped ta» return down the Nile would leave Gondokoro.
It was, therefore, of the greatest importance that they should set out at
once, and take a direct route through the Shooa country.
The natives, not to be tempted even by bribes, positively refused to
carry them. Their own men were also ill, and there was a great scarcity
of provisions. War, indeed, was going on in the country to the east,
Patooan being in the hands of Kamrasi's enemies. It was on this
account that no Unyoro porters could be found.
On the Verge of Starvation.
They might have starved had not an underground granary of seed
been discovered, by the means of Bacheeta, in one of the villages burned
down by the enemy. This, with several varieties of wild plants, enabled
them to support existence. The last of their oxen, after lingering for
some time, lay down to die, affording the men a supply of beef, and Saati
and Bacheeta occasionally obtained a fowl from one of the neighboring
islands, which they visited in a canoe.
At length both Mr. and Mrs. Baker fully believed that their last hour
was come, and he wrote various instructions in his journal,' directing his
head-man to deliver his maps and observations to the British Consul at
The object, it appeared, of Kamrasi in thus leaving them, was to
obtain their assistance against his enemies, and at length their guide,
Rehonga, made his appearance, having been ordered to carry them to
Kamrasi's camp. The journey was performed, in spite of their weak
state ; and on their arrival they found ten of the Turks left as hostages
with Kamrasi by Ibrahim, who had returned to Gondokoro. The Turks
received them with respect and manifestations of delight and wonder at
their having performed so difficult a journey. A hut was built for their
reception, and an ox, killed by the Turks, was prepared as a feast for their
The next day the king announced his readiness to receive the traveller,
who, attiring himself in a Highland costume, was carried on the shoulders
of a number of men into the presence of the monarch. The king
informed him that he had made arrangements for his remaining at
As now all hope of reaching Gondokoro in time for the boats had
gone, Mr. Baker, yielding to necessity, prepared to make himself at
home. He had a comfortable hut built, surrounded by a court-yard
with an open shed in which he and his wife could spend the hot hours
of the day. Kamrasi sent him a cow which gave an abundance of milk,
also amply supplying him with food.
Here the travellers were compelled to spend many months. Their
stay was cut short, in consequence of the invasion of the country by
Fowooka's people, accompanied by a large band of Turks under the
trader Debono. Kamrasi proposed at once taking to flight ; but Baker
promised to hoist the flag of England, and to place the country under
British protection. He then sent a message to Mahomet, Debono's
guide, warning him that should a shot be fired by any of his people, he
would be hung, and ordering them at once to quit the country ; inform-
ing them, besides, that he had already promised all the ivory to Ibrahim,
so that, contrary to the rules of the traders, they were trespassing in the
This letter had its due effect. Mahomet deserted his allies, who were
immediately attacked by Kamrasi's troops, and cut to pieces, while the
women and children were brought away as captives. Among them,
Becheeta, who had once been a slave in the country, recognized her
former mistress, who had been captured with the wives and daughters of
their chief, Rionga.
After this Ibrahim returned, bringing a variety of presents for Kam-
rasi, which, in addition to the defeat of his enemies, put him in excellent
humor. Mr. Baker was able to save the life of an old chief, Kalloe, who
had been captured; but some days afterwards the treacherous Kamrasi
shot him with his own hand.
At length the Turkish traders, having collected a large supply of
ivory, were ready to return to Shooa; and Mr. Baker, thankful to leave
the territory of the brutal Kamrasi, took his leave, and commenced the
journey with his allies, who, including porters, women, and children
amounted to a thousand people.
At the break of day, says Baker, we started. It would be tedious to
describe the journey, as, although by a diffrent route, it was through the
same country that we had traversed before. After the first day's march
we quitted the forest and entered upon the great prairies. I was aston-
ished to find after several days' journey a great difference in the dryness
of the climatei In Unyoro we had left the grass an intense green, the
rain having been frequent : here it was nearly dry, and in many places it
hdd been burnt by the native huntmg parties. From some elevated
points in the route I could distinctly make out the outline of the moun-
tains running from the Albert Lake to the north, on the west bank of the
Nile; these would hardly have been observed by a person who was
ignorant of their existence, as the grass was so high that I had to ascend
a white ant-hill to look for them; they were about sixty miles dis-
tant, and my men, who knew them well, pointed them out to their
The entire party, including women and children, had to be provided
for daily. Although they had abundance of flour, there was no meat,
and the grass being high there was no chance of game. On the fourth
day only I saw a herd of about twenty tetel (hartebeest) in an open space
that had been recently burnt. We were both riding upon oxen that I had
purchased of Ibrahim, and we were about a mile ahead of the flag in the
hope of getting a shot; dismounting from my animal I stalked the game
down a ravine, but upon reaching the point that I had resolved upon for
the shot, I found the herd had moved their position to about 250 paces
They were all looking at me, as they had been disturbed by the oxen
and the boy Saat in the distance. Dinner aepended on the shot. There
was a leafless bush singed by the recent fire ; upon a branch of this I took
a rest, but just as I was going to fire they moved off a clean miss !
whizz went the bullet over them, but so close to the ears of one that it
shook its head as though stung by a wasp, and capered round and round ;
tlic others stood perfectly still, gazing at the oxen in the distance.
Hungry as Wolves.
Crack went the left-hand barrel of the little rifle, and down went a tetel
like a lump of lead, before the satisfactory sound of the bullet returned
from the distance. Off went the herd, leaving a fine beast kicking on the
ground. It was shot through the spine, and some of the native porters
having witnessed the sport from a great distance, threw down their loads
and came racing towards the meat like a pack of wolves scenting blood.
In a few minutes the prize was divided, while a good portion was carried
by Saat for our own use : the tetel, weighing about 500 lbs. vanished
among the crowd in a few minutes.
On the fifth day's march from the Victoria Nile we arrived at Shooa ;
the change was delightful after the wet and dense vegetation of Unyoro ;
the country was dry, and the grass low and of fine quality. We took
possession of our camp, that had already been prepared for us in a large
court-yard well cemented with manure and clay, and fenced with a
strong row of palisades. A large tree grew in the centre. Several huts
were erected for interpreters and servants, and a tolerably commodious
hut, the roof overgrown with pumpkins, was arranged for our mansion.
That evening the native women crowded to our camp to welcome my
wife home, and to dance in honor of our return ; for which exhibition
they expected a present of a cow.
Much to my satisfaction I found that my first rate riding ox that had
been lamed during the previous year by falling into a pitfall, and had been
returned to Shooa, was perfectly recovered ; thus I had a good mount for
my journey to Gondokoro.
Some months were passed at Shooa, during which I occupied my time
by rambling about the neighborhood, ascending the mountain, making
duplicates of my maps, and gathering information, all of which was simply
a corroboration of what 1 had heard before, excepting from the East.
Death In the Air.
As they were marching thence through the country inhabited by the
Bari tribe, they were attacked in a gorge by the natives. We continue
the interesting narrative in Baker's own words :
The level of the country being about 200 feet above the Nile, deep
gullies cut the route at right angles, forming the natural drains to the
river. In these ravines grew dense thickets of bamboos. Having no
native guide, but trusting solely to the traders' people, who had travelled
frequently by this route, we lost the path, and shortly became entangled
amongst the numerous ravines.
At length we passed a village, around which were assembled a num-
ber of nat'ves. Having regained the route, we observed the natives
appearing in various directions, and as quickly disappearing only to
gather in our front in increased numbers. Their movements exciting
suspicion, in a country where every man was an enemy, our party closed
together; we threw out an advance guard ten men on either flank
the porters, ammunition, and effects in the centre ; while about ten men
brought up the rear. Before us lay two low rocky hills covered with
trees, high grass and brushwood,, in which I distinctly observed the
bright red forms of natives painted according to the custom of the Bari
We were evidently in for a fight. The path lay in a gorge between
the low rocky hills in advance. My wife dismounted from her ox, and
walked at the head of our party with me, Saat following behind with the
gun that he usually carried, while the men drove several riding-oxen in
Arrows Whizzing Overhead.
Hardly had we entered the pass, when whizz went an arrow over our
heads. This was the signal for a repeated discharge. The natives ran
among the rocks with the agility of monkeys, and showed a consider-
able amount of daring in standing within about eighty yards upon the
ridge, and taking steady shots at us with their poisoned arrows. The
flanking parties now opened fire, and what with the bad shooting of both
the escort and the native archers, no one was wounded on either side for
the first ten minutes. The rattle of musketry and the wild appearance
of the naked vermilion-colored savages, as they leapt along the craggy
ridge, twanging their bows at us with evil but ineffectual intent, was a
charming picture of African life and manners.
Fortunately, the branches of numerous trees and intervening clumps
of bamboo frustrated the gcod intentions of the arrows, as they glanced
from their aim ; and although some fell among our party, we were as yet
unscathed. One of the enemy, who was probably a chief, distinguished
himself in particular, by advancing to within about fifty yards, and stand-
ing on a rock, he deliberately shot five or six arrows, all of which missed
their mark ; the men dodged them as they arrived in their uncertain
flight; the speed of the arrows was so inferior, owing to the stiffness of
the bows, that nothing was easier than to evade them. Any halt was
unnecessary, We continued our march through the gorge, the men
keeping up an unremitting fire until we entered upon a tract of
grass and forest; this being perfectly dry, it would have been easy to set
it on fire, as the enemy were to leeward; but although the rustling in
the grass betokened the presence of a great number of men, they were
A Savage Fatally Wounded.
In a few minutes we emerged in a clearing, where corn had been
planted ; this was a favorable position for a decisive attack upon the
natives, who now closed up. Throwing out skirmishers, with orders
that they were to cover themselves behind the trunks of trees, the Baris
were driven back. One was now shot through the body and fell ; but
recovering, he ran with his comrades, and fell dead after a few yards.
What casualties had happened during the passage of the gorge, I
cannot say, but the enemy were now utterly discomfited. I had not
fired a shot, as the whole affair was perfect child's-play, and anyone who
could shoot would have settled the fortune of the day by half a dozen
shots ; but both the traders' people and my men were " shooters, but not
hitters." We now bivouacked on the field for the night.
During the march on the following day, the natives watched us at a
distance, following in great numbers parallel with our route, but fearing
to attack. The country was perfectly open, being a succession of fine
downs of low grass, with few trees, where any attack against our guns
would have been madness.
In the evening we arrived at two small deserted villages ; these, like
most in the Bari country, were circular, and surrounded by a live and
impenetrable fence of euphorbia, having only one entrance. The traders'
people camped in one, while I took up my quarters in the other. The
sun had sunk, and the night being pitch dark, we had a glorious fire,
around which we placed our couches opposite the narrow entrance of
the camp, about ten yards distant.
Surrounded toy Hostile Natives.
I stationed R.icharn as sentry outsidd the gateway, as he was the most
reliable of my men, and I thought it extremely probable that we might
be attacked during the night ; three other sentries I placed on guard at
various stations. Dinner being concluded, Mrs. Baker lay down on her
couch for the night. I drew the balls from a doubled-barrelled smooth
bore rifle, and loaded with cartridge containing each twenty large mould
shot (about a hundred to the pound) ; putting this under my pillow I
went to sleep. Hardly had I begun to rest, when my men woke me,
saying that the camp was surrounded by natives. Upon inquiry I found
this to be correct : it was so dark that they could not be seen without
stooping to the ground, and looking along the surface. I ordered the
sentries not to fire unless hostilities should commence on the side of the
natives, and in no case to draw trigger without a challenge.
Returning to the couch I laid down, and not wishing to sleep, I smoked
my long Unyoro pipe. In about ten minutes bang ! went a shot,
quickly followed by another from the sentry at the entrance of the camp.
Quietly rising from my bed, I found Richarn reloading at his post.
" What is it, Richarn ? " I asked. " They are shooting arrows into the
camp, aiming at the fire, in hopes of hittfng you who are sleeping there,"
said Richarn. " I watched one fellow," he continued, " as I heard the
twang of his bow four times. At each shot I heard an arrow strike the
ground between me and you, therefore I fired at him, and I think he is
down. Do you see that black object lying on the ground?" I saw
something a little blacker than the surrounding darkness, but it could
not be distinguished. Leaving Richarn with orders not to move from
his post, but to keep a good look-out until relieved by the next watch, I
again went to sleep.
Before break of day, just as the grey dawn slightly improved the
darkness, I visited the sentry ; he was at his post, and reported that he
thought the archer of the preceding night was dead, as he had heard a
sound proceeding from the dark object on the ground after I had left.
In a few minutes it was sufficiently light to distinguish the body of a
man lying about thirty paces from the camp entrance. Upon examina-
tion, he proved to be a Bari ; his bow -was in his hand, and two or
three arrows were lying by his side ; thirteen mould shot had struck
him dead ; one had cut through the bow. We now searched the camp
for arrows, and as it became light, we picked up four in various places,
some within a few feet of our beds, and all horribly barbed and poisoned,
that the deceased had shot into the camp gateway.
This was the last attack during our journey. We marched well, gen-
erally accomplishing fifteen miles of latitude daily from this point, as the
road was good and well known to our guides. The country was generally
poor, but beautifully diversified with large trees, the tamarind predomi-
nating. Passing through the small but thickly-populated and friendly
little province of Moir, in a few days we sighted the well-known moun-
tain Belignian, that we had formerly passed on its eastern side when we
had started on our uncertain path from Gondokoro upwards of two years
ago. We had a splendid view of the Ellyria Mountain, and of the dis-
tant cone, Honey Mountain, between Ellyria and Obbo.
All ihese curiously-shaped crags and peaks were well knows to us, and
we welcomed them as old friends after a long absence; they had been
our companions in times of doubt and anxiety, when success in our under-
taking appeared hopeless. At noon on the following day, as we were as
usual marching parallel with the Nile, the river, having made a slight
bend to the west, swept round, and approached within half a mile of our
path ; the small conical mountain, Regiaf, within twelve miles of Gondo-
koro, was on our left, rising from the west bank of the river. We felt
almost at home again, and marching until sunset, we bivouacked within
three miles of Gondokoro.
Back at Gondokoro.
That night we were full of speeulations. Would a boat be waiting for
us with supplies and letters? The morning anxiously looked forward to
arrived. We started; the English flag had been mounted on a fine
straight bamboo with a new lance-head specially arranged for the arrival at
Gondokoro. My men felt proud, as they would march in as conquerors;
according to White Nile ideas such a journey could not have been accom-
plished with so small a party. Long before Ibrahim's men were ready to
start, our oxen were saddled and we were off, longing to hasten into Gon-
dokoro and to find a comfortable vessel with a few luxuries, and the post
from England. Never had the oxen traveled so fast as on that morning;
the flag led the way, and the men in excellent spirits followed at double-
" I see the masts of the vessels ! " exclaimed the boy, Saat. " El hambd
el lUah ! " (thank God !) shouted the men, " Hurrah ! " said I " Three
cheers for old England and the Sources of the Nile ! hurrah!" and my
men joined me in the wild, and to their ears, savage English yell. " Now
for a salute ! Fire away all your powder if you like, my lads, and let the
people know that we're alive !
This was all that was required to complete the happiness of my people,
and loading and firing as fast as possible, we approached near to Gondo-
koro. Presently we saw the Turkish flag emerge from Gondokoro, at
about a quarter of a mile distant, followed by a number of the traders'
people, who waited to receive us. On our arrival, they immediately
approached and fired salutes with ball cartridge, as usual advancing close
to us and discharging their guns into the ground at our feet. One of my
servants, Mah'omet, was riding an ox, and an old friend of his in the
crowd happening to recognize him, immediately advanced and saluted
him by firing his gun into the earth directly beneath the belly of the ox
he was riding ; the effect produced made the crowd and ourselves
explode with laughter. The nervous ox, terrified at the sudden dis-
charge between his legs, gave a tremendous kick, and continued madly
kicking and plunging, until Mahomet was pitched over his head, and lay
sprawling on the ground ; this scene terminated the expedition.
Frightful Ravages of a Plague.
The foregoing account, given in Baker's most graphic language, shows
what hardships his expidition encountered, all of which were shared by
his heroic wife, who is the most celebrated woman traveller known to
On reaching Gondoko, only three boats had arrived, while the trading
parties were in consternation at hearing that the Egyptian authorities
were about to suppress the slave trade and with four steamers had
arrived at Khartoum, two of which had ascended the White Nile and
had captured many slavers. Thus the three thousand slaves who were
then assembled at Gondokoro would be utterly worthless.
The plague also was raging at Khartoum, and many among the crews
of the boats had died on the passage. Mr. Baker, however, engaged
one of them belonging to Koorshid Pacha.
Bidding farewell to his former opponent, Ibrahim, who had since,
however, behaved faithfully, Mr. Baker and his devoted wife commenced
their voyage down the Nile. Unhappily the plague, as might have been
expected, broke out on board, and several of their people died among
them. They chiefly regretted the loss of the faithful little boy, Saat.
At Khartoum, which they reached on the 5th of May, 1865, they
were welcomed by the whole European population, and hospitably
Here they remained two months. During the time the heat was in-
tense, and the place was visited by a dust-storm, which in a few minutes
produced an actual pitchy darkness. At first there was no wind, and
when it came it did not arrive with the violence that might have been
expected. So intense was the darkness, that Mr. Baker and his com-
panions tried in vain to distinguish their hands placed close before their
eyes ; not even an outline could be seen. This lasted for upwards of
twenty minutes, and then rapidly passed away. They had, however, felt
such darkness as the Egyptians experienced in the time of Moses.
The plague had been introduced by the slaves landed from two vessels
which liad been captured, and n ulilch thj pestilence had broken out
They cont;iined upwards of eiq^ht hundred and fifty human beings.
Nothing could be more dreadful tl:an tlie condition in which the unhappy
beings were put on shore. The women had afterwards been di^^tributed
among the soldiers, and, in consequence, the pestilence had been dissemi-
nated throughout the place.
Mr. Baker had the satisfaction of bringing Mahomet Her, who had
instigated his men to mutiny at Latooka, to justice. He was seized and
carried before the governor, when he received one hundred and fifty
lashes. How often had the wretch flogged women to excess ! What
murders had he not committed! And now how he had howled for
mercy ! Mr. Baker, however, begged that the punishment might be
stopped, and that it might be explained to him that he was thus punished
for attempting to thwart the expedition of an English traveller by insti-
gating his escort to mutiny.
The Nile having now ri^en, the voyage was recommenced ; but their
vessel was very nearly wrecked on descending the cataracts.
On reaching Berber, they crossed the desert east to Sonakim on the
Red Sea. Hence, finding a steamer, they proceeded by way of Suez to
Cairo, where they left the faithful Richarn and his wife in a comfortable
situation as servants at Shepherd's Hotel, and Mr. Baker had the satis-
faction of hearing that the Royal Geographical Society had awarded him
the Victoria Gold Medal, a proof that his exertions had been duly appre-
ciated. He, also, on his arrival in England, received the honor of
Sir Samuel and Lady Baker, after a short stay at home, returned to
Egypt; Sir Samuel there having received the fank of pacha from the
It is gratifying to know that the heroic sacrifices and brilliant services
in Tropical exploration rendered by Mr. and Mrs. Baker were appreciated
in their own home, and were recognized by the government of Great
Britain. From an ordinary personage Mr. Paker rose to the rank of
Baronet, had the title conferred upon him by which he is now known to
the world, and this was given solely as a reward fur meritorious services.
Few explorers in Africa have done more for the benefit of that benighted
region than he, and if his own ideas and plans had been carried out, and
the great changes had taken place which he contemplated, Africa to-day
would be centuries nearer enlightenment than she is.
A RENOWNED EXPEDITION.
INTRODUCTION :: CONTENTS
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