Gondokoro was a trading-station on the east bank of the White Nile in southern Sudan, 750 miles south of Khartoum. Its importance lay in the fact that it was within a few miles of the limit of navigability of the Nile from Khartoum upstream. From this point the journey south to Uganda was continued overland. Depots were build by Turkish slave traders where the slaves were kept awaiting shipment down the White Nile.
The Catholic missionary Ignatius Knoblecher set up a mission there in 1852. Gondokoro was the scene for the arrival of John Hanning Speke and James Augustus Grant after their two years and five months long journey through Central Africa from Zanzibar. They arrived exhausted on February 13, 1863 and expected to be met by the British consul John Petherick and his rescue party. As Petherick was away, hunting in the countryside the two explorers instead were welcomed by Samuel Baker and his wife Florence, who greeted them with a cup of tea.
A passage from Alan Moorehead´s The White Nile (p. 61) describes it thus: "The sportsman Samuel Baker and his wife had come up the Nile to look for them, and there had been others as well who had arrived at Gondokoro on the same mission, three Dutch ladies, the Baroness van Capellan and Mrs and Miss Tinne, but they had been forced to return to Khartoum through sickness. ... "'Speke', Baker says, 'appeared the more worn of the two: he was excessively lean, but in reality he was in good tough condition; he had walked the whole way from Zanzibar, never having once ridden during that wearying march. Grant was in honourable rags; his bare knees projecting through the remnants of trousers that were an exhibition of rough industry tailor's work.'"
Months Past: The Source of the Nile; the Pact to End War; and the Fall of the Hospitallers: Richard Cavendish Introduces This Month's Anniversaries
Aug 01, 2008; AUG 3 1858 The Nile's Source Discovered John Harming Speke, an army officer's son from the West Country, was commissioned into...