David and his brother Christopher Baker who are the great-great grandsons of the famous 19th century Victorian explorers, Sir Samuel and Florence Baker, are this week back in Uganda on a great expedition to retrace the footsteps of their ancestor, 150 years after he made the existence of Lake Albert and Murchison Falls known to the rest of the world.
David aged 74,was last here in early 2013 with his daughter Melanie during which they visited various places in Masindi,Hoima,Wanseko,Butiaba,Fort Patiko in Gulu, Karuma and Murchison Falls National Park.
This year , David has returned with his brother to plant markers at various spots along the trail believed to have been used by his ancestor in 1864 when he named Lake Albert and the spectacular Murchison Falls. The development will culminate into the “Baker Trail” which will subsequently be promoted as a modern tourism product.
The Bakers jetted into the country on 4th January 2014 and drove to Masindi town to embark on planting the commemorative markers along the great trail. They later proceeded to Gulu with a stopover at Karuma Wildlife reserve where they planted another marker on January 6th, before heading to Gulu town.
In Gulu district, the duo will plant more markers and also visit the famous Sir Samuel Baker Secondary school built in memory of their ancestor who is famed to have fought the slave trade practice.
They will plant more markers at Fort Patiko, north of Gulu town and later head to Murchison Falls National Park with a climax of their visit being to plant a marker at top of the falls which is to be witnessed by high ranking government officials, diplomats, conservationists and the tourism fraternity on Saturday January 11th.
As the Bakers visit Uganda to celebrate the 150th anniversary of when the explorers trekked through the region from Southern Sudan, a renowned anthropologist and modern day African explorer, Julian Monroe Fisher, will be embarking on a long expedition following the Sir Samuel Baker trail, from Juba to Baker’s view point on the shores of Lake Albert.
Fisher’s expedition beginning January 8th is expected to last him over one and a half month ending in late February this year. This will be the Phase three of the Rail Riders Great African expedition and will be the inaugural trek along the over 500 mile trail that Fisher designed with Mr. David Baker, a consultant in Aviation Regulatory affairs in the UK.
The location of the markers to be planted by the Bakers is based on the writings, diaries and maps of Sir Samuel Baker as compared with other findings.
“In his dairy, Baker is quoted to have said , he saw a great lake in the south and mountains in the south west that are the Congo mountains that is the exact view we stood at and put GPRS coordinates and named it the Baker’s view.
David Baker, now 74,is a retired RAF Group Captain, who after a career in aviation is now a consultant on European Regulatory Affairs. His brother Christopher on the other hand, is currently Director of Mechanical Engineering at Carl Zeiss in Dublin CA. He spent four years in Africa during his late twenties. He designed and built the equipment for a start-up iron and steel foundry in Zimbabwe.
Murchison Falls National Park is Uganda’s oldest and largest protected area which is also the most visited. The Baker’s trail is hoped to add to the diversity of attractions that make this national park a prime tourist destination.