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The Sir Samuel And Lady Florence Baker Historical Murchison Falls Trail Exploration

In March 1864 Sir Samuel Baker and Lady Florence Baker approached the mouth of the Victoria Nile in two long dug-out canoes propelled by local oarsmen. It had taken them 12 days to make the journey along the shoreline of Lake Albert. Sam writes “The chief of Magungo assured me that the broad channel of dead water at my feet was positively the brawling river that I had crossed below the Karuma Falls.

The guide and locals laughed at my unbelief and declared that it was dead water for a considerable distance from the junction with the lake, but that a great waterfall rushed down from a mountain, and that beyond that fall the river was merely a succession of cataracts throughout the entire distance of about six days’ march to the Karuma Falls.

I had promised Speke that I would explore most thoroughly the doubtful portion of the river that he had been forced to neglect from Karuma Falls to the lake. I was myself confused at the dead water junction, and, although I knew, that the locals must be right, as it was their own river, I was determined to sacrifice every other wish in order to fulfill my promise, and thus to settle the Nile question absolutely.”

As they paddled upriver “The roar of the waterfall was extremely loud, and after sharp pulling for a couple of hours, during which time the stream increased, we arrived at a point where the river made a slight turn.

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 before us, the river, contracted from a grand stream, was pent up in a narrow 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 contrasted 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 distinguished President of the Royal Geographical Society, I named it the Murchison Falls.”

His Bio:

Sir Samuel White Baker, (8 June 1821 – 30 December 1893) was a British explorer, officer, engineer, and writer. Lady Florence Baker was his second wife.
He had saved her from a slave market in Central Europe and instead of staying at home, she insisted on joining her husband on his exploits in Africa.

Sir Samuel Baker served as the Governor-General of the Equatorial Nile Basin (today’s South Sudan and Northern Uganda) from 1869 until 1873, which he established as the Province of Equatoria.

He is mostly remembered as the first European to view Lake Albert which he named after the recently deceased Prince Albert, consort of Queen Victoria. Sir Samuel White Baker is also remembered for his efforts to abolish the slave trade.

 

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