The Bakers spent the next nine months crossing through the African wilderness or waiting in villages because civil wars made travel too dangerous.
The Bakers were a formidable pair. Samuel was hot tempered and decisive. Florence was quick witted, well organized, and patient. Together, they endured travel through mountainous terrain that killed most of their animals.
In January 1864, they entered an area in present-day Uganda ruled by a king named Kamrasi. Needing Kamrasi’s permission to continue south, Samuel began swapping gifts with the king. Eventually, Samuel had little left to give.
Kamrasi asked for his guns and navigation tools. Samuel refused. Kamrasi made a final request, Florence. Samuel pulled a revolver from his holster and pointed it at the king while Florence gave a fiery speech in Arabic. The king was shocked; he thought Samuel would be pleased to swap wives. The Bakers left Kamrasi two days later.
On March 14, the party at last glimpsed the silver sheen of a massive lake. Here, the Bakers were convinced, lay the true source of the Nile River (later, this was proved wrong). Samuel named it Lake Albert, after the English prince.
The return trip down the Nile took another 18 months. After the Bakers returned to England, Samuel was knighted and the Royal Geographical Society awarded him the Victoria Gold Medal, its most coveted award.