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Lake Victoria is situated in northern Tanzania on the border with Uganda and Kenya close to the Serengeti National Park. The lake, which is located between the Western and Eastern Rift Valley, covers an area of 69,484 square km of which 49% lies in Tanzania, 45% in Uganda and 6% in Kenya.
It is Africa’s largest freshwater lake and the second largest in the world after Lake Superior in North America. Lake Victoria flows out into the River Nile, supplying the river with fresh water through the whole year.
The biological diversity of Lake Victoria is in a bad condition. Before the 1950s the biodiversity was enormous with over 500 species of fish. The domestic fish species are extinct, because of the introduction of the Nile perch which should eat the water hyacinth but instead fed everything. The water hyacinth was introduced to Lake Victoria and its surroundings by Belgian colonists. Soon the plant, which had no natural enemies, turned out to be a ecological plague especially for the Kisumu bay on the Kenyan side. It causes difficulties to fishing, transportation, drinking water supply and hydroelectric power generation.
The wildlife of Lake Victoria such as, various bird species, chimpanzees, sitatunga antelopes and elephants are protected by national park status. The settlements alongside the lake are mostly agricultural, inhabited by farmers and cattle herders. Major cities are Bukoba, Mwanza and Musoma on the Tanzanian side, Jinja and Kampala in Uganda, and Kisumu in Kenya. The lake is also used economically for fishing, cotton and coffee production, and agricultural activities. The lake and its ports are used for transportation and trans-boundary trade between Kenya and Uganda. Lake Victoria has three island shores which are worth a visit, Ukrewe, Rubondo and Ukara island.
The lake and the surrounding offers several tourist activities such as, fishing trips, bird watching, hiking and boat-rides. Swimming is also possible but should be done with caution due to Malaria and the bilhazia disease.