What Led To The Discovery

of the

Source Of The Nile


John Hanning Speke

Captain H.M. Indian Army

Author of 'Journal of the Discovery of the Source of the Nile'

William Blackwood and Sons

Edinburgh and London



The Memory of

Lieutenant-General Sir Jas. Outram, Bart.


Who First Gave Me A Start In Africa,

This History

Is Respectfully Inscribed.


In offering this short connected history of my first two explorations in Africa, I must state that I have been urged to do so by friends desirous of knowing what led to the discovery of the source of the Nile. The greater part of it was originally published in 'Blackwood's Magazine;' but that lacked the connection which I have now given to the conclusion of my independent journey to and from the Victoria N'yanza, which is the great source or reservoir of the Nile. The manner in which I traced the Nile down from the Victoria N'yanza to Egypt is explained in my 'Journal of the Discovery of the Source of the Nile.'

J. H. Speke.


Journal of Adventures in Somali Land.

Chapter I. Introduction to the Journal.

Projects and hobbies--Life in India--Lord Clyde and Sir James Outram--The position and physical geography of the Somali country--The Nogal country, and historical sketches--Costume and Customs.

Chapter II.

The voyage--An Akil--The Somali shore--Sultan (Gerad) Mahamed Ali--Hidden treasure--The Warsingali--A royal reception--Somali appetites--Difficulties and impediments--Sultan tries my Abban or protector.

Chapter III.

Yafir Pass--Rhut Tug (River)--The ruins at Kin's city--Abban apprehends future consequences--Hyenas--The Dulbahantas--Camel drivers' tricks--Briny water--Antelope-shoooting--Elephant-hunting--Ostrich-hunting--Gazelles--Jealousy and suspicions of the people --Rapid decline of property.

Chapter IV.

Meditations among the tombs--A fracas--The return march--The north-east monsoon--Relief from persecution--Interesting animals-- Gori again--Shooting a woman--Arrival at Aden--Fresh projects--Arrangements.

Chapter V.

Aden--Departure--Kurrum--A conclave of sages--Arrangement of the expedition--The south-west monsoon--Medical practice--The camp besieged--Wounded and captive--A triumphal procession-- Flight--Return to Aden and to England--Fresh projects there.

Journal of a Cruise on the Tanganyika Lake.

Chapter I.

The Royal Geographical Society--The strange lake on the map--Set off--Arrive at Zanzibar--A preliminary excursion--A sail along the coast--The Pangani river--A jemadar's trick--Journey to Fuga --Adventures--Return to Zanzibar--Scenes there--Objects of the expedition--Recruiting for followers--The Cafila Bashi--The start--Fevers--Discussions about the Mountains of the Moon and the Victoria N'yanza--The Tanganyika.

Chapter II.

Canoes--The crews--The biography of Bombay--The voyage--Crocodiles--The lake scenery--Kivira island--Black beetles--An adventure with one of them--Kasengé island--African slavery.

Chapter III

Leave Tanganyika--Determine to visit the Ukéréwé lake, alias Victoria N'yanza--Confusion about rivers running in and out--Idea that it is the source of the Nile--Arrangements for the journey--Difficulties--The march--Nature of the country--Formalities at the meeting of caravans--A pagazi strike--A sultana--Incidents--Pillars of granite.

Chapter IV

First sight of the Victoria N'yanza--Its physical geography--Speculations on its being the source of the Nile--Sport on the lake--Sultans Machunda and Mahaya--Missionary accounts of the geography--Arab accounts--Regrets at inability to complete the discovery--The march resumed--History of the Watuta--Hippopotamus-hunting--Adventures--Kahama.

Chapter V

General character of the country traversed--The huts--The geology--Productions--Land of promise--Advice to missionaries--Leave Ulekampuri--Return of the expedition--Register of temperature.