Tanzania Lake Victoria
(Tanzania, TZ, East Africa)
The biggest lake in Africa
by area, Lake Victoria measures in at around 337 km / 209 miles in length by approximately 250 km / 155 miles in width. Named after Queen Victoria, this lake ranks as the largest of the world's tropical lakes and plays an important part in the economy of East Africa, since it supports a massive inland fishery operation.
Lake Victoria lies on the northern outskirts of Tanzania, where it also borders Kenya
and Uganda. Since it sits very close to the Serengeti
and the Biharamulo Game Reserve, the opportunities for tourist activities in and around the lake are plentiful. The lake is a biological hotspot, making it home to a large number of tropical fish, as well as a rich variety of bird life. Boat excursions, fishing trips and trail hikes are just some of the activities on offer.
The lake is fed by literally thousands of small streams, with the most sizeable being the Kagera River, on the westerly shore. Outflows come in the form of the White Nile River (north) and the Katonga River (west), the latter of which links Lake George in Uganda.
Supporting a vast and diverse array of underwater life, Lake Victoria is famous for its brightly coloured cichlids, which once numbered more than 400 individual cichlid species. However, today, that number is estimated at roughly 200 species, due to the introduction of the Nile perch in the 1950s to improve fishing.
The Nile perch is a large predatory fish and soon thrived, rather unexpectedly devastating the Haplochromis cichlids and quickly making many species extinct. Lake Victoria also suffers at the hands of the water hyacinth, which can grow to form thick dense mats of vegetation and frequently suffocates sections the coastline of the lake.
Various towns and cities of Tanzania surround Lake Victoria, such as Bukoba, Msoma and Mwanza. Both Bukoba and Mwanza are home to significant ports, connecting destinations such as Kisumu in Kenya, and Entebbe, Jinja and Port Bell in Uganda.