Lake Victoria which is certainly one of Africa’s great lakes clearly stands out. It is quite significant to our way of life – talk about the River Thames in UK! That is how important this lake is to us.
It is shared by three countries (Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda) and by surface area, is the largest on the continent, the largest tropical lake in the world and only second to Lake Superior in North America as the largest fresh water lake – hmmm, what have I left out? Yes! It covers about 68,800 sq kms and by volume, it comes in at no. 9 in the world with 2,750 cubic kms – wow!
Natively known as Lake Nalubale in Uganda, Lake Victoria was named after Queen Victoria of the UK by John Hannington Speke – presumably the first European to see the lake – way back in the 1850s. I guess both Kenya and Tanzania had names for it that I am yet to find out (I will keep you posted!)
The mighty River Nile flows out of Lake Victoria with its source in Jinja – right there is the spot where John Speke stood to record his historical moment. Sign up and be the first of your times to see this place. Believe you, me, the feeling of making a discovery will flow through your guts – these are life time memories.
… And I have not even talked about the fresh fish you will find here – Tilapia is the most common among lots of variety. If you are the kind that loves fish, then you are in for a treat. You can even do the fishing yourself. Nile perch, cat fish, lung fish,…. are some of the others you will find. You don’t have to carry your BBQ set, Ugandan style – if you will, is the way to go and you will have a mouth watering grilled fish to dig in.
Lake Victoria has some of the still-maiden Islands; proper natural untapped environment that tells you a lot about how the universe looked before man. Inevitably, man is already getting to some of them but tell you what, the beauty is phenomenon. If you are chanced, with a group of friends, take that famous Ugandan boat ride to one of them; the Banda Island is one I would recommend for the weekend – You will love it! – Great camping site and activity.
First time in Uganda? No worries! If you took one of those long global flights to Entebbe Airport, you could decide to relax in one of the modern hotels in Entebbe town as you ponder your next move to discover Uganda. Entebbe is right at the shores of Lake Victoria – feel free to take a stroll to the lake side and catch that lake breeze.
I know some where in this website I mention about Ugandan beer – but this just reminded me that even as Ugandans enjoy the cold Nile Special lager or Bell lager, they will often say they are drinking the waters of the mighty Victoria. The 2 famous breweries; one in Jinja and the other in Portbell, Kampala are right at the shores and quickly tap into the waters.
Forget the beer for a moment; if you wish to travel by water to Uganda, the good news is, you can quite easily do that if you are travelling from Tanzania. There is a cruise vessel that connects between Mwanza (Tanzania) and Portbell in Kampala … and what a way to travel – there is just some beauty that you see while travelling on water that you don’t see on land. Try it!
FYI, Lake Victoria is quite shallow – not as you would expect of such a big water body (its deepest point is at 84 meters with an average of 40 meters).
Its catchment area covers about 184,000 sq kilometres with a shoreline of 3,000 miles. Shared among 3 countries, Uganda takes about 45% (Tanzania – 49% and Kenya – 6%) but tell you what? Who cares about how much of it is where; we are simply proud and blessed. I guess the Kenyans and Tanzanians feel the same.
Here is one thing you must do …. Take that Ugandan boat ride – that lake breeze will stay with you for the rest of your life.