Lake Victoria is remarkably one of the most magical water lakes in Africa. It derived its name from Queen Elizabeth Victoria of England after it was named by John Hanning Speke the first Briton to document it. This water body covers an area of about 59947 square kilometers making it Africa’s largest water lake and the vast tropical lake in the world. It is the second largest fresh water lake in the world just after Lake Superior in North America. Considering its volume, it is 9th largest continental lake on the planet and comprises of 2424 cubic kilometers of water. Besides its vast size, it is remarkably one of a few fresh lakes that still exist in Africa and the world at large.
It covers a shallow depression in Africa with a maximum depth of between 80 and 84 meters and average depth of 40 meters. The catchment area occupies about 169858 square kilometers with shoreline extending up to 7142 kilometers and comes with magical islands. Lake Victoria is set in East Africa and it is shared by Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania. This water lake is approximately 400000 years old and it formed when the westward flowing rivers were dammed by an up thrown crustal block. At a time of its formation, it went through enormous changes ranging from its current shallow depression. This water body receives about 80% of its water from direct rainfall with average evaporation of between 2 and 2.2 meters each year.
Things to see in Lake Victoria
Lake Victoria is a home to diverse species including mammal species like hippos, spotted necked otter, marsh mongoose, sitatunga, African clawless otter, bohor reedbuck, cane rats, giant otter shrew, defassa waterbuck and many more. There are also several reptile species including the Nile crocodiles, mud turtles, William’s mud turtle, African turtles and many others. There are also cichlid fish species as well as other fish species including squeaker catfish, cyprinids, bagrid catfish, African tetras, killifish, spiny eel and many more. There are many crustaceans and molluscs including two freshwater crab species. Over 28 freshwater snails are confined within this water body.
Depending on the part of East Africa, if you are in Kenya, Kisumu is that one exceptional spot you should pay a visit to. Kisumu is set just adjacent the shores of Lake Victoria and it serves best for weekend getaways. While here, you can pay a visit to Kisumu museum which hosts, impala sanctuary, Kit Mikayi, hippo point, Lwangni beach, dunga beach and also take part in boat excursions.
Other magical sites to pay a visit to in this lake include islands especially the Ssese Islands that make up about 84 islands (including among others Bugala Islands, Koome Islands, Buvuma Islands, Pyramid Island, Damba Island, Bulingugwe Island, Bujagai Island, Bubembe Island). On Tanzania side, you can pay a visit to Rubondo Island National park-this is an incredible site with hippos, 400 bird species. The Saa Nane Island which comes with breathtaking landscape and several monkeys, impalas, rock rabbits, otters, hyrax while Ngamba Island comes with several chimpanzees.
Mabamba Swamp which forms an arm of Lake Victoria is an ideal birding spot. Visitors on Uganda birding tour in this wetland have a chance to sight at varied bird species including shoebill storks, pied kingfishers, African pygmie goose, bee-eaters a mention but a few. This wetland is set within 1 and half hours’ drive from Kampala. This swamp is characterized by small channels of marsh filled water and lagoons. It is set within 16500 hectares.
In conclusion, Lake Victoria is one of Africa’s magical water bodies. While on safari in East Africa it should be a must to explore whether on Uganda side, Kenya or Tanzania.