Proceeding up the White Nile basin from Gondokro (current Juba, in southern Sudan) for about 100 miles, the Bakers entered the Latooka territory where they stayed for a short time. Samuel Baker thought the Latooka to be the most handsome people he’d yet seen in Africa, describing them as tall, fine featured and well built – the ideal ‘picture’ of a cattle raising people, of which they had many thousands.
However, salt was not available in Latooka land, and Baker describes how the Latookas make it from goat dung and from grasses:
Samuel Baker, The Albert N’Yanza, Great Basin of the Nile. 1863f.
Salt is not procurable in Latooka; the natives seldom use it, as it is excessively difficult to make it in any quantity from the only two sources that will produce it; the best is made from goat’s dung; this is reduced ashes, and saturated; the water is then strained off, and evaporated by boiling.
Another quality is made of peculiar grass, with a thick fleshy stem, something like sugarcane; the ashes of this produce salt, but by no means pure.
Salt was also scarce in Burundi and was made in the same way. Even today, salt is a luxury for those who are quite poor and it is not unusual to see people with goitre.
The chief of Latooka would eat a handful of salt greedily that I gave him from my large supply, and I could purchase supplies with this article better than with beads.