Ewart Grogan, a 24-year-old Cambridge University student, took a break from his studies early in 1898 and left England on a walking holiday. But this was no ordinary holiday. He didn’t return untile almost two years later. Grogan wanted to do something really amazing to impress the father of his fiancee, Gertrude. He planned to ealk all the way through Africa, from south to north, with his friend Arthur Sharp.
Other famous explorers in Africa used guns and violence on local people. Grogan carried his white umbrella and a charming smile. He and his small group paid for the food they ate with gifts, and they only on one or two occasions. At the Dinka swampland in South Sudan, his friend Sharp turned back. He thought it was impossibile to get through 650 kilometres of thick vegetarian and unknown danger. But Grogan continued.
Sharp was almost correct. There were no maps – all Grogan had was a compass to tell him which way was north. He became very ill from mosquito bites and some of his men died from fever. Finally, with the help of the Dinka people (who are often two metres tall), and twenty months and eleven thousand kilometres after leaving Cape Town in South Africa, Grogan walked on into Cairo, Egypt.
Back in England, Grogan married Gertrude and returned to Africa to do many more remarkable things. He even became the first person to fly from Cairo to Cape Town – his return trip.