Together. Again. From Kilwa to Khartoum!

May 24, 2011

Journalist Kit Sharp and Missionary Jose Miguel Harpua are the first to arrive at Khartoum from the south via unexplored territory.  The feat was accomplished after four expeditions.  The first two were previously reported:  Kit’s discovery of a lake shore and then Kit and Jose’s initial surveys of the massive inland body of water.

For the third expedition, the explorers took canoes to the far side of the lake.  Once there and having found a friendly native tribe to serve as a base of operations, they split up, Kit heading north up the western coast and Jose exploring the coast to the south.

These scouting jaunts didn’t get far or discover much, but at least they established most of the boundaries of the giant lake before ending the expedition.  The remaining questions were:  Are the southern swamps truly the limit of the lake, or are there feeder rivers into these swamps?  How far does the lake extend to the north?  Does the lake connect to the Blue Nile or the White Nile?

Kit names it Lake Kentucky, after the brash founder of the Cairo Confidential, the late Von Kentucky.

For the fourth expedition, the explorers departed with a large team of horses from Kilwa and verified the existence of  short feeder rivers into the southern swamps.  They continued up the western coast of the lake to find desert and swamp terrain where they had hoped to find the northern coast of Lake Kentucky.  By this time, their entire expedition had been destroyed due to several unfortunate events (the usual stuff:  snakes, bad omens, slavers, etc.).  Only Kit and Jose remained, each leading several loaded horses.

Feeling lucky and wanting to make something of this expedition’s investment, the explorers attempted a westerly bypass of the deserts and swamps.  This was successful and brought them close to the Sudd marsh at the known edge of the White Nile.  They debated further exploration of Lake Kentucky, but decided they were lucky to have made it this far on their own.  Also, Jose had discovered several healthy locations to build missionaries that he was eager to report on.  Best to follow the White Nile to Khartoum and live to resume exploration another day.

To Kit and Jose’s delight, they found Dr. Smalley and Leski Osmonov in Cairo.  The four surviving members of the Cairo Confidential celebrate their accomplishments and drink to the memories of missing friends.  Getting down to business, they examine the map and debate where to explore next.

Here’s the initial empty map:

Here’s the complete view of explored terrain:

They decide on a plan:  Kit Sharp will continue exploration from Mombasa to Lake Kentucky and up to one or both of the branches of the Nile.  Jose Miguel Harpua and Leski Osmonov will lead seperate canoe expeditions up the unpublished western waterways.  The missionary on the Niger River and the botanist on the Ogoue River.   Both will attempt to cross into the White Nile basin, if possible.  Dr. Roger Smalley will complete exploration of the southern Congo basin, skirting that pesky region of impenetrable jungle/swamp northwest of Livingstone’s mountains.

See all Cairo Confidential posts.

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