Kingsley Holgate is hitting the road again. This time it’s a journey to East Africa in the footsteps of Joseph Thomson, Scottish geologist, naturalist, and explorer who was the first European to enter several regions of eastern Africa and whose writings are outstanding contributions to geographical knowledge, exceptional for their careful records and surveys. Thomson’s gazelle the most common gazelle of eastern Africa, was named for him.
In 1882 the Royal Geographical Society launched what was to be Thomson’s major expedition, to try to find the shortest route from Zanzibar to Uganda. Traveling unarmed from the coastal city of Mombasa, in modern Kenya, he went by way of Kilimanjaro, surviving two crossings through the country of the Maasai people, who had previously barred passage. He was the first European to note the existence of Lake Baringo, and he reached Lake Victoria on Dec. 10, 1882.
He secured British trading rights at Sokoto and Gwandu, in present-day Nigeria (1885), traveled privately in Morocco (1888), and in 1890 entered the service of Cecil Rhodes’s British South Africa Company, making mining and trade agreements in what is now Zambia.
In Land Rovers, on foot, and with a climb up Mt Kenya, Kingsley and his team will attempt to follow in the footsteps of one of the most daring Royal Geographical expeditions of all times in which Joseph Thomson led an expedition across Equatorial East Africa to open a route from the coast through dreaded Maasailand to Lake Victoria. Apart from the geographic expeditions objective Kingsley and his team will continue to save and improve lives through this adventure through the distribution of mosquito nets to pregnant mothers and children under the age of 5. Through a project called Rite to Sight spectacles will be handed out to the poor sighted, is it not incredible how something so small can change a person’s life. Nearly one in five child deaths, about 1.5 million each year, is due to diarrhoea. The Kingsley Holgate Foundation’s LifeStraw campaign, in which small filters are provided to communities in deep rural areas that have unsafe contaminated drinking water, continues to save and improve lives.
“What a privilege to be able to tell this story. There is no doubt that Joseph Thomson was one of the greatest explores to follow Dr Livingstone’s call to Africa,” says Kingsley. “This Land Rover ‘Out of Africa‘ journey that follows Joseph Thomson’s Royal Geographic Society expedition to open up a path across Maasailand has all the icons of a great East African expedition. Historic Mombassa, a journey through the vast wildlife sanctuary of Tsavo, Kilimanjaro and Mount Kenya, the elephants of Amboseli, the Great African Rift valley lakes of Naivasha, Bogoria, Baringo, Nakuru and Elmentaita – millions of flamingo’s, vast herds of game.”