Speke History

Speke Hotel is named after the British explorer, John Hanning Speke, who discovered ‘The source of River Nile’ in July 1858. Built in the 1920s colonial era, Speke Hotel is the first and oldest hotel in Uganda. Despite having gone through numerous renovations since then, it has nevertheless maintained its colonial ambience.

John Hanning Speke
Born in 1827, Speke was an officer in the British Indian Army who made three exploratory expeditions to Africa and who is most associated with the search for the source of the Nile and the discovery and naming of Lake Victoria.

In 1856, along with fellow explorer, Richard Burton, the duo descended on East Africa in search of the Great Lakes, which were rumoured to exist in the centre of the continent and it was hoped that the expedition would also locate the source of the Nile.

The journey was extremely strenuous that both men fell ill from a variety of tropical diseases. After an arduous journey, the two became the first Europeans to reach Lake Tanganyika where, they heard of a second lake in the area.

However, at that time, Burton was too ill to make the trip, so Speke went on alone and thus became the first European to visit Lake Victoria as well discovering the source of the Nile.