(Press Release) Anthropologist and explorer Julian Monroe Fisher has completed Phase Two of The RailRiders 2012-16 Great African Expedition, having successfully traveled overland along the expeditionary route followed by Victorian age explorer Sir Samuel White Baker and his wife Lady Florence Baker in South Sudan and northern Uganda.
In the spring of 2012 during Phase One of The RailRiders 2012-16 Great African Expedition, Fisher began the historical route the Bakers followed with an overland journey from Cairo, Egypt to Khartoum, Sudan. During Phase One Fisher traveled solo opting to take the route the original expeditionary supply team followed across the deserts of Egypt and Sudan. At that time Fisher, upon reaching Khartoum, was not allowed to travel further south of Khartoum due to the ongoing conflict along the Sudanese border with its neighbor the new nation of South Sudan.
In early January 2013 Fisher returned to Africa and began Phase Two in Juba, the capital of South Sudan. Joined by British filmmaker and photographer Jon Maguire who signed on for Phase Two of The RailRiders 2012-16 Great African Expedition to document the journey, the duo traveled from Juba north to the land of the Mundari tribal herdsmen, before turning southeast into the far reaches of the South Sudanese state of Eastern Equatoria.
Quoting Fisher, “South Sudan was one of the most amazing places that I have traveled to on the African continent. Despite decades of war and the landmines that still litter large areas of the region in the east, the hospitality we received was genuine. Ironically one of the challenging aspects of the journey in South Sudan was convincing locals and government officials that I was not the great-great grandson of Sir Samuel Baker. At times I was quite humbled by local villagers when they presented me with gifts, in one instance a large Leopard skin and a crown fit for a king.”
From South Sudan the team crossed over the border into Uganda where they were met in the town of Masindi by the actual great-great grandson of Sir Samuel Baker. David Baker from the United Kingdom was traveling to Uganda for the first time with his daughter Melanie who lives in Canada.
Fisher guided the Bakers to the location where Sir Samuel Baker became the first European to see the lake which he later named Lake Albert. Lake Albert forms the borderline between the African countries of Uganda and The Democratic Republic of Congo.
Phase Two of The RailRiders 2012-16 Great African Expedition has been credited by the Uganda Wildlife Authority for correcting modern maps which incorrectly mark the location referred to as Baker’s View. During a ceremony in the Ugandan capital Kampala attended by Dr Andrew G. Seguya, the Executive Director of the Uganda Wildlife Authority and the Honorable Maria Mutagamba, the Uganda Minister of Tourism, Fisher formally presented the actual GPS coordinates of the real Baker’s View.
The expedition also laid the groundwork for the proposed Sir Samuel Baker Historical Trail, a collection of historically significant designated trail markers stretching from Gondorkoro Island in Juba, South Sudan, to Murchison Falls, Uganda. The historical trail follows the actual expeditionary route taken by the Bakers in the 1860’s. The trail is currently slated to officially open in 2014 to commemorate the 150th year anniversary of Sir Samuel White Baker’s 1864 expedition through the region.
The Sir Samuel Baker Historical Trail is supported by www.JulianMonroeFisher.com/greatafrica, the Uganda Wildlife Authority, the Uganda Ministry of Tourism, Marasa Africa, RailRiders Adventure Clothing and the descendants of Sir Samuel White Baker. The RailRiders 2012-16 Great African Expedition has partnered with The Hendri Coetzee Trust in support of their vision to commemorate and advance the legacy of Hendri Coetzee through his inspirational philosophy of life and adventure.
Release of a documentary film from content gathered during the expedition is forthcoming.
Lake Albert was named by the 19th century Victorian explorer Baker for Prince Albert, consort of Queen Victoria. One of the great African lakes, Lake Albert straddles the borderline between Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Sir Samuel White Baker also named Murchison Falls for Sir Roderick Impey Murchison, one on the founders of The Royal Geographical Society and one of the society’s president in the 1850s.
Julian Monroe Fisher is an African explorer, an Anthropologist, a published author, an Ethnographical
documentary filmmaker, a Fellow with The Royal Geographical Society (with the Institute of British
Geographers) in London, a member of the American Anthropological Association and an International Fellow with the British Chapter of The Explorers Club in New York City. Between 2007 and 2011 Fisher conducted five consecutive Explorers Club flag sanctioned research expeditions to the African continent.
Jonathan Maguire, from Lichfield, UK, is a graduate from the University of the Arts, London, with a degree in Fine Art Photography. For the last eighteen months he has worked with the British Exploring Society as a filmmaker and photographer. In July 2012 he filmed a documentary following an expedition with the British Exploring Society as they crossed the Sinai Peninsula. The Sinai expedition was the largest British group expedition, and the only multi-team crossing of the Sinai Desert in recorded history. Jon was recently appointed.
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