One photograph in the book shows a plaque above the Ripon Falls at the northern end of Lake Victoria, which overlooks where the Victoria Nile begins its outflow from the lake towards its far-off delta in Egypt.
Indeed, the Kagera is much wider than the Victoria Nile after the Ripon Falls, though lacking its swiftness and cataracts.
The Nile leaves Lake Victoria at Ripon Falls
near Jinja, Uganda, as the Victoria Nile.
He reached what he named Ripon Falls
on July 28th 1862.
On the lake's north side, Speke discovered the source of the Nile and called it Ripon Falls.
But Burton remained unconvinced, arguing that Speke couldn't be sure that Ripon Falls was the true source of the Nile as he hadn't followed the river into Sudan.
It was later confirmed that Ripon Falls was the source of the Nile, a discovery for which Speke will always be remembered.
However, Speke confirmed his discovery on a return expedition that began in 1860, during which he mapped a portion of Lake Victoria and named Ripon Falls
. The party then tried to follow the river's course, but was halted by tribal warfare.
A second expedition found the Nile's exit from Lake Victoria: Ripon Falls
. From there, the river winds around to Lake Albert, which was later found by other explorers, but that lake's position made it difficult to conclude whether Tanganyika or Victoria was the true source.
About 12,500 years ago the waters of Lake Victoria found a low point at the north edge of the basin, establishing, at Ripon Falls
, a permanent outlet down to the western rift valley at the north end of Lake Albert and a connection to the Albert Nile.
At a time of great political unrest and upheaval in the region, we had skirted the southern and western shores of Lake Victoria to Ripon Falls (now submerged by Owen Falls dam) and the start of the Victoria Nile.
I remembered a statement from Alan Moorhead's book: "For ordinary purposes it would seem most sensible to accept the site of the Ripon Falls as the source, since it is only from there that the mighty river confines itself to a definite course ..." I had now seen for myself what the explorers had written about, and I felt an instinctive resistance to that "sensible" conclusion.