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In 1864, as they travelled south to find Lake Albert, Sir Samuel Baker and Florence Baker arrived on the North side of the great rapids at Karuma. Samuel Baker writes “I climbed up a high and almost perpendicular rock that formed a natural pinnacle on the face of the cliff, and, waving my cap to the crowd on the opposite side, I looked almost as imposing as Nelson in Trafalgar Square!"

Because of the activities of the slave traders, the arrival of Samuel Baker’s party was viewed with understandable mistrust. To assure the people of their peaceful intentions, Sam begged them to take Mrs. Baker and himself across the waters, alone. On their arrival on the other side, “the people immediately struck up a deafening welcome with horns, and marched us up the steep face of the rocky cliff through a dark grove of bananas to the heart of the village, and halted in a small courtyard in front of the headman's residence. We were now surrounded by well-dressed men, wearing robes of bark cloth, arranged in various fashions, like the Roman toga.

Several of the headmen now explained to us the atrocious treachery of Debono's men, who had been welcomed as friends of Speke and Grant, but who had repaid the hospitality by plundering and massacring their hosts.” Baker replied "You must trust me, as I trust entirely in you, and have placed myself in your hands; but if you have ever had cause to mistrust a white man, kill me at once!—either kill me, or trust in me; but let there be no suspicions."

Samuel and Florence were trusted and went on to meet the King, Kamurasi of the Bunyoro-Kitara peoples. The King eventually provided them with an escort to take them to their goal, Lake Albert Nyanza.

The Sir Samuel and Lady Florence Baker Historical Trail is supported by the following partners:

For further information contact:
Julian Monroe Fisher FRGS FI'00


copyright Julian Monroe Fisher 2013-2016