Lake Victoria is a famous water body in East Africa. It has evolved over the time with different names from different people. The lake is also known as the Victoria Nyanza, ukerewe and nalubale in Uganda. Lake Victoria is among the great lakes of East Africa and Africa as a whole. There is a lot about this you don’t want to miss during your ultimate Uganda safari. It is also the largest lake in African continent.
Lake Victoria is the only large tropical lake in the whole world, besides superior of America. The lake also stands in the second position among the fresh water lakes basing on terms of surface area. It is also the true source of the longest river in the world called the River Nile. It leaves Lake Victoria on its northern shore as the White Nile and extends northwards through Sudan and other countries to the Mediterranean Sea creating a delta before entering the sea.
Lake Victoria is a “spring of life for millions” of people living around it as they depend on it for livelihood. This is the reason as to why the Lake shores are the most densely populated lake shore regions in the whole world. Despite the golden importance of the lake, the introduction of the invasive species into the lake like the new fish species search as the Nile perch, the water hyacinth has caused the most harmful effect on the lake’s ecological status and biodiversity and the fish production. This has lead about a lot of consequences like undiscriminating fishing which has majorly lead to massive destruction of fish in the Victoria waters.
Geography of Lake Victoria
Lake Victoria is the largest lake in Africa, because of its surface area that covers over 26560 square miles. Its size is still the factor that lifts it up to the position of the largest freshwater lake in the world. Despite its great image on the world map in terms of surface area, it is not a deep lake. It is relatively a shallow lake with maximum depth of just 276ft deep.
However, the greatness of the Lake is also exhibited as the seventh largest freshwater lake by the volume of it contains. It contains over 2750 cubic kilometres of water. The lake also lies on the elevated plain plateau in the western part of the great African rift valley. It happens to have an incredible water catchment area of 71,040 square miles.
Hydrology of Lake Victoria
Lake Victoria has a few water inlets with its largest influent being Kagera River from Burundi. It enters Lake Victoria through the western shore line. Most of the water in Lake Victoria is from great precipitation, call it heavy rainfalls received in the victoria basin region. River Nile is the only major outlet of Lake Victoria and it flows to the north from the northern shore line of the lake. River Nile leaves lake victoria as the white Nile, across Murchison falls national park forming the most spectacular Murchison falls along the way, through lake albert to north-eastern Uganda as the albert Nile and goes beyond the Ugandan boarder to Sudan and other African countries.
History about the Lake
The pre-historical search for the source of the Nile by many great geologists, like Captain Nero of the prehistoric roman empire, Herodotus of Greece and others, who failed, created a zeal for further search of the source of the Nile that lead to the discovery of the great lake victoria by the early explorer, John Hanning Speke in 1858. Before the explorers, Lake Victoria was formerly known to the Arabs as ukerewe, later, the lake was named by john Speke in honour of the Queen of England, Queen victoria.
The story of the Lake Victoria as the source of the great Nile in the world enacted a lot of grievances between john Speke and burton. The query came from the issue of who was the first to find Lake Victoria. Burton argued that Speke’s discovery of the Nile was not true because burton had reached the area and did not see the source. The query about the source of the Nile, lead to summoning of the great council debate between burton and Speke. However, the debate did not happen because Speke died a few days before.
The first dam that was constructed on Lake Victoria, Nile, is the Owen falls dam in 1954, now known as the nalubaale dam at Jinja. Other dams were constructed along the Nile in Uganda like karuma power station in pakwach that was constructed in 1999 and started producing electricity in the next year. Therefore, the Lake is surely the greatest exploration that has happened to Africa and the world centuries back.
Economics of the Lake
The Lake is shared among three major east African countries; Kenya shares 6%, Uganda shares 45% and Tanzania take the rest 50% of Lake Victoria. The Victoria basin is endowed with abundance of natural resources which support the livelihood of over 33 million inhabitants of the region. The Lake has helped to support the east African countries and, perhaps, the whole world through fisheries, water, and the biodiversity; these factors make it a socio-economic importance region.
This lake is associated with a number of interesting tourist activities like, white water rafting in Jinja, bungee jumping, sport boating, among others. The scenic view of the lake from Jinja is spectacular and has led to establishment of world class accommodation facilities for visitors like the Nile resort and others. The Lake should be among your list of destinations to reach during your Uganda safaris, you can enjoy culture at the source of the Nile through the dances and the craft village where you can buy some souvenirs and more.