Lake Victoria is one of the most famous features in Uganda and the entire world at large. The Lake is the largest lake in Africa covering a surface area of 59947 sq.km. It happens to be the world’s largest tropical lake and the world’s second-largest fresh water lake by surface area and shared among three East African countries including Uganda, Kenya, and Tanzania. The Victoria features a lot of interesting attractions like the fishing village, the source of the Nile, ports, Entebbe international airport, Ngamba Island among other interesting features.
For the name, Lake Victoria was named after the queen of England Victoria and it’s among the Victorian features in Uganda. It was found by one of England early explores called John Hanning Speke, who thereafter named it Lake Victoria. Speke is the only Briton who has ever documented the Lake and he accomplished his exploration in 1858 with Richard burton who explored the source of the Nile sponsored by the royal geographical society with the loyal charter from the queen of England then, queen Victoria.
The Lake is relatively a shallow lake compared to its surface area and its depth of about 80 meters and an average depth of about 40 meters. The shoreline of this Lake occupies an area of about 7142km and islands occupy over 3.7% of the shoreline length. The area of lake victoria’s surface is shared among three countries that majorly make up the east African community; Kenya covers 6%, Uganda covers 45% and 49% is in Tanzania.
Hydrology of Lake Victoria
The biggest volume of water in this Lake is contributed by direct rainfall received twice a year in Uganda; the two rainfall peaks. The other water is received from rivers and other streams including river Kagera which is the largest river that flows into Lake Victoria through the western shoreline. Despite the many inlets into Lake Victoria, only the river Nile is the outlet from Lake Victoria. The Nile is found in Jinja Uganda. However, in Kenya, rivers like Sio, Nzoia, Yala, Nyando, Sondu Miriu, Mogusi and Migori among others, pour into the Lake.
Wildlife around Victoria
A few years back, the Lake used to be a wildlife concentrated area in Uganda, however, due to industrialization in the nearby towns, it has let to a reduction in the wildlife associated with Lake Victoria. The nearby wetlands harbor hippos, African clawless otters, marsh mongoose, sitatunga, defassa, waterbuck, cane rats and giant otter shrew among other mammals. There are a number of reptiles dwelling in the vicinity of Lake Victoria, including, crocodiles, and variable mud turtles among others.
The Victoria waters have also been a famous fishing ground with a number of fisheries along its shores. Despite this, a lot of fish have been extinct over 50 years due to a number of factors like indiscriminate fishing, and the introduction of other fish species that prey on other fish. However, the biggest group of fish is haplochromine cichlids with more than 500 species. The introduction of the Nile perch and the destruction of a lot of fish are due to the lakes’ eutrophication.
Activities you can enjoy during the Lake Victoria excursion
There are a number of activities you can do for your Victoria excursion, including the boat cruises around. There are tour operators all around the country to help you plan for the best trip around Lake Victoria. You can take a day and visit the source of the Nile River in Jinja where you can see a lot of interesting African crafts and also enjoy the Kisoga cultural dances plus different historical features like the statue of Mahatma Gandhi. You can also choose to visit the Sese islands, play with the chimpanzees at Ngamba island chimpanzee sanctuary, or else enjoy a leisure cruise on Lake Victoria where you can have fun with the golden sunset on the edge of the water among other interesting activities.