Best-selling author Candice Millard and our superb Zanzibar guide Said at the old British Consulate Building where the Burton & Speke expedition began.
Two years ago New York Times Bestselling author Candice Millard requested I design a program for Candice and her husband Mark Uhlig to research the Burton & Speke Expedition of 1857-59 and the Speke & Grant Expedition of 1860-61.
Candice had decided her next book would be about the explorers Capt. Sir Richard Burton, Capt. John Hanning Speke and Sidi Mubarak Bombay, the African guide who led most of the important caravans of the day including Henry Stanley’s epic journeys. Each of Candice’s previous books, The River of Doubt, Hero of the Empire, and The Destiny of the Republic, were New York Times bestsellers, (and btw among my favorite biographies ever), so I was very excited to include as many experiences as I could within their time limit of 10 days.
The most important sections of the trip were Zanzibar, Ujiji, Lake Tanganyika, Tabora, the Baganda Kingdom, and the source of the Nile itself at Jinja Uganda. By chartering a private aircraft from my colleague Taki Lalji, owner of Zantasair Aviation, we were able to cover huge tracts of country that took the explorers months to traverse. By flying an average of 4000 ft, and using an original edition of Burton’s map and descriptions of the journey to guide us, we were able to view a landscape virtually unchanged in the 155 years since that epic journey.
“Without Don Young , I would not have been able to do half the things we accomplished on this research trip. His contacts in Eastern Africa, his creativity and determination, and most of all his incredible knowledge of the history and geography of the region made everything possible.” – Candice Millard-Uhlig