In April 2012 a team from Secret Compass will mount an expedition retracing the footsteps of a unique chapter in the British Empire’s foray into wildest Africa: The March on Magdala; through the spectacular Amhara Highlands on the edge of the Great Rift Valley- the birthplace of humanity.
The expedition takes place 7 – 21 April, and spaces on the team are now available for people to apply. A crossroads of African tribal, Christian, Jewish and Muslim culture for centuries, Ethiopia is a diverse mixture of people and tradition, famed for its fierce independence and resistance to modern imperial advances. So when the might of the British Empire descended on this remote kingdom in 1868 it was the dawn of a new era.
The famed General Sir Robert Napier was chosen for his ruthless tendencies, and typically Victorian determination to glorify Britain by invading Ethiopia after the native Emperor Tewdros II dared to defy Queen Victoria by kidnapping her envoys in the Abyssinian capital. Napier marched over 35,000 soldiers and camp followers almost 400 miles through lion-infested bush, jungle and mountain from the coast of what is now Eritrea to the mountain fortress of Magdala, where he defeated the Ethiopians in a brilliant stroke of near-perfect military tactics, rescued the hostages, then promptly turned around and marched back! This was campaign warfare in its purest form and marked the start of British supremacy on the ‘dark continent’.
The modern day expedition will follow the final 140 miles of the route. Starting at Lake Hashengie, a protected eco reserve, the journey will take a ten-man team through deep mountain gorges, across open plains and meeting remote indigenous communities that have seen very few westerners, before finally reaching the mountain fortress of Magdala. It promises to be a tough but incredible experience for anyone interested in exploration, history or simply a taste of true wilderness in the heart of Africa.
EDITORS NOTES. Secret Compass are currently looking for adventurous people to join the expedition team. Secret Compass is a pioneering expeditionary company. Set up by ex-Parachute Regiment officers, it conducts exploratory expeditions to remote regions following in the footsteps of the original explorers of the nineteenth century.