From the Second Cataract (Wadi-Halfa) to Khartoum
The journey from Wadi-Halfa (at the Second Cataract of the Nile) to Khartoum is performed by Soudan government train de luxe, which leaves Halfa twice a week and accomplishes the journey (some 560 miles) in about twenty-seven hours, 232 miles of which are through the Desert of Abu-Hamed. In the town of Abu-Hamed ( at the head of the Fourth Cataract) there are excellent baths, erected by the railway administration, for the comfort of travelers. From Abu-Hamed to Berber is 135 miles, the railroad running close by the Nile most of the route. At 88 miles from Abu-Hamed the Fifth Cataract is passed.
Berber owed its former importance to its position on the great caravan routes to and from the Soudan. From Berber to Khartoum is a little over two hundred miles. The railroad crosses the Atbara River, the most northerly affluent of the Nile. The battle of the Atbara, between an Anglo-Egyptian force under General Kitchener and the army of the Dervishes, was fought at a place called Nakhila on April 8, 1898. The Dervish force numbered about 14,000 men, and of these 3,000 were killed and wounded, and 2,000 more made prisoners. The Anglo-Egyptian loss was 5 officers and 78 men killed, and 475 wounded. About three miles from the river, between Atbara and Schendi , are the Pyramids of Meroe, tombs of rulers of the island of Meroe, alluded to by Strabo. Fifty miles beyond Schendi begins the Sixth Cataract, where the channel at the entrance to the gorge is only two hundred yards wide. From this point the line runs to Halfiya, the terminus of the railway, whence passengers are' conveyed by steamer to Khartoum in about fifteen minutes.
Khartoum, once the Dervish stronghold and the scene of General Gordon's captivity and death, is now a modern Eastern city, thanks to Lord Kitchener's decisive victory at Omdurman over the Khalifa's army, on September 2, 1898. A governor-general's palace has arisen on the foundation of Gordon's old house, and a tablet marks the spot where he was assassinated. Handsome government buildings and a Soudan Memorial College have been erected, and along the bank of the Nile has been made a promenade, over two miles long, besides botanical and zoological gardens. Five miles from Khartoum is Omdurman, the last resort of the Mahdi, who shortly before the battle had died and was buried there. His mausoleum met with the fate of his army. It was promptly destroyed, to prevent its ever becoming a shrine for his deluded and infatuated followers.
From Khartoum to Gondokoro (British East Africa).
There is a monthly government steamer Service between Khartoum and Gondokoro, a distance of 1,081 miles by the White Nile, taking fourteen days up, and a few days less returning.
From Gondokoro to Lake Victoria Nyanza.
The distance from Gondokoro, the head of navigation on the White Nile, to Entebbe, on the Lake Victoria Nyanza, is 457 miles, of which 292 miles are by land and 165 by river. From Gondokoro to Nimuli is 112 miles by path; by Nile route, via Fort Berkley, the journey is divided into nine " camps " averaging twelve miles apart.
From Nimuli to Butiaba is 165 miles by river, via Wadelai. Nights are generally spent on shore, so as to avoid frequent and unpleasant visits from hippopotami, which are apt to show their anribyance at the intrusion of a boat by continually bumping it, making a night under such circumstances most undesirable.
From Butiaba to Entebbe is 179^ miles by cart road, divided into about fifteen camps, at an average of twelve miles apart. This section of the journey is through an elephant country. At Entebbe, on the Victoria Nyanza Lake, there is a hotel, and a weekly steamer to Port Florence, the railroad terminus, on the lake, of the Uganda Railroad. The lake is 300 miles long by 200 miles broad.
From Lake Victoria Nyanza to Mombasa, B.E.A.
From Port Florence on Lake Victoria Nyanza, the interesting journey by rail to Mombasa, on the Indian Ocean — capital of British East Africa — is 584 miles. The railroad passes over the Mau escarpment at an altitude of 8,320 feet, while spread out below lies the Great Rift Valley, dominated by the volcanic cone of Longonot. Here every species of game can be seen. Herds of zebra race with the train, and the plains are dotted with ostrich, hartbeest, gnu and antelope. Lions, giraffes and the rhinoceros are frequently seen from the railroad carriages. It may be truly said that this is the most unique railroad ride in the world. The herds of game, instead of diminishing with the advance of civilization, seem positively to increase, owing to the wise measures taken by the British government against indiscriminate slaughter. The shooting license costs £50, limited to the killing of two elephants and one buffalo, and ten of most kinds of antelope.
From Mombasa steamer can be taken north to Aden, or south to Madagascar and Natal.