An explorer

An explorer is a person who travels to un known land with an aim of knowing more about it

Examples of explores who came to East Africa

  • John Speke
  • Sir Samuel Baker
  • Henry Morton Stanley
  • Dr. David Livingstone
  • Joseph Thompson
  • Dr. Fisher
  • Count Teleki
  • Jacob Erhardt
  • Ludwig Krapf
  • Johan Rebman
  • James Bruce

Note: The Royal Geographical Society sent most of the explorers to East Africa

  • They funded/sponsored their journeys to East Africa
  • They provided them with supplies e.g. food ,water and medical supplies
  • They provided them with security

Reasons why the explorers came to East Africa

  • To find the source of River Nile.
  • They had love for adventure.
  • They wanted to discover areas of trade.
  • For prestige /fame and have their names written in the books of history.

John Speke and Richard Burton

  • John Speke and Richard Burton were the first explorers to travel into the interior of East Africa.
  • They were sent by the Royal Geographical society [R.G.S].
  • They were sent to East Africa to find the source of River Nile.
  • In 1856, they arrived in Zanzibar and set off for Bagamoyo in 1857, taking the route through
  • Tabora.
  • In, 1858, Speke and Burton reached L. Tanganyika but realised it wasn’t connected to River Nile.
  • They returned to Tabora where Burton fell sick.
  • Speke travelled northwards to Mwanza and found a big lake.
  • He named it Lake Victoria after Britain’s Queen Victoria.
  • Speke joined Burton at Tabora and returned to England.

John Speke and James Grant

  • Speke returned to E.Africa in 1860 with his old friend, James Grant.
  • They wanted to prove whether L. Victoria was the true source of the Nile.
  • They led a caravan of 217 men using the same route he used with Burton.
  • They got to Karagwe with difficulty where King Rumanika welcomed them and helped them on
  • their way to Buganda to meet Muteesa I.
  • Grant fell sick in Karagwe and was unable to continue with the journey in 1862.
  • Speke was later joined by Grant in Buganda.
  • Speke travelled Eastwards .
  • Speke saw the source of the Nile in 1862 on lake Victoria and also found a water fall at the
  • point where River Nile separates from L.Victoria and named it the Rippon falls after
  • president of Royal Geographical society (R.G.S) Lord Rippon by then.
  • Speke and Grant moved northwards and met Sir Samuel Baker with his-wife at Gondokoro in
  • Sudan on their way to Uganda.
  • They returned to England through Egypt in 1863.
  • Speke and Grant were the first European to reach Karagwe, Buganda and Bunyoro kingdoms.

Sir Samuel Baker

  • They set off from Egypt following the southern route.
  • The Bakers were interested in finding the source of the Nile.
  • They reached Bunyoro in 1864 and saw lake Mwitanzigye (Albert) which he named L.Albert
  • after Queen Victoria’s husband.
  • They saw and named murchison falls after the president of R.G.S, Sir Roderick
  • Murchison.
  • They returned to England in 1885.
  • They were the first Europeans to use the Nile route into East Africa from the north.

Henry Morton Stanley

  • He came to Africa on three different occasions.
  • On his first journey (1871 – 1872) he was sent to look for Dr. David Livingstone.
  • Stanley returned to England and left Livingstone to continue his explorations in 1872.
  • He was sponsored by the Daily Telegraph of England and the New York Herald of America.
  • He returned to E.Africa in 1874 to complete the work of Dr. David Livingstone.
  • He circumnavigated L.Victoria with a canoe he named Lady Alice to confirm Speke’s views that L. Victoria was the source of the Nile.
  • On his second journey, he visited Muteesa I palace in 1875 and requested him to write a letter to England inviting missionaries to Uganda.
  • It is believed that a Frenchman Lenant De Belle Fonds took the letter to England.
  • The letter was published in the Daily Telegraph of London and bore fruits and led to the coming
  • of missionaries to E.Africa.
  • In 1878, Stanley was sent to East Africa for the third time to rescue Emin Pasha in Madhist revolt in Sudan.
  • He saw and named mountains of the moon (Mt. Rwenzori), L. George and L. Edward.

Dr. David Livingstone

He is regarded as the greatest of African’s explorers. He made several journeys until his death in

The purpose of his coming to Africa.

  • To spread Christianity.
  • To stop slave trade.
  • He was a medical doctor, missionary and explorer.
  • He was sponsored by the R.G.S
  • He was interested in solving the puzzle of the source of the Nile.
  • He doubted both Baker and Speke’s conclusion about the source of the Nile.
  • He was persuaded to return to Europe but he refused with the hope of finding the source of the
  • Nile.
  • He thought that R. Nile was linked to L-Tanganyika or R. Lualaba but he was proved wrong
  • by H.M- Stanley.
  • He was the first European to see L. Malawi, L. Mweru, L Bagwelu, R. Limpopo, R. Zambezi
  • and Victoria falls.
  • He died in 1873 at Chitambo’s village near the swamps of L. Bagwelu in Zambia.
  • His royal servants Chuma and Susi carried his body to the coast where it was sent to Britain.
  • He was buried at West Minister Abbey in Britain in honour of his work in Africa.

Joseph Thompson

  • He was the first European to find a direct route from the coast to L.Victoria.
  • He became the first explorer to cross the Masai land successfully.
  • His mission was to observe people, rocks, animals and plants of the areas he passed through.
  • He was the first European to see L. Nakuru ,L Baringo ,L.Elementaita, and Mt. Elgon.

Dr. Fischer

  • He was a German scientist who reached L.Naivasha in 1872-
  • He spent little time in East Africa due to fear of hostile tribes.

Count Teleki

  • He was the first white man to see lake Turkana (Rudolf)
  • He named lake Stephanie in Ethiopia.

James Bruce

  • He was the first European to see the Blue Nile and L.Tana.

Map showing European exploration in East Africa