A lake can be defined as an area of variable size, filled with slow moving water that is surrounded by land. Lakes are either naturally occurring or man-made. These popular and biggest lakes in Africa make the continent’s geography more astonishing and provide a habitat for many different species of fish, birds, plants and other wildlife animals.
The most remarkable thing about the lakes in Africa is that most of them are fresh water lakes. In that, they have a source, say a river that pours fresh water into them and another river that drains water out of them, keeping the water fresh and well aerated. As we shall see, Africa is home to some of the world’s largest and deepest lakes.
Popular and Biggest Lakes in Africa
|Lake Victoria||Shared by Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda|
|Lake Tanganyika||Shared by Tanzania, Zambia, Democratic Republic of Congo and Burundi|
|Lake Malawi||Shared by Malawi, Mozambique and Tanzania|
|Lake Turkana||Shared by Kenya and Ethiopia|
|Lake Kariba||Shared by Zambia and Zimbabwe|
|Lake Albert||Shared by Democratic Republic of Congo and Uganda|
|Lake Kivu||Shared by Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda|
Lake Victoria (68,000 square kilometers)
Lake Victoria is one of Africa’s popular and biggest lakes. It is shared by three neighboring countries namely; Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda. This lake is famed for being both the largest freshwater lake in the continent and the second largest lake in the whole world.
This lake is relatively shallow and its maximum depth is 84 meters. Most of its water comes from the rain since it is located in a tropical area, rain is seen quite often. The rest of its waters come from rivers joining the lake. The ideology of it being a freshwater lake means that it has rivers depositing water into it while others drain water out of it, purposely to keep the lake’s water fresh and aerated.
This lake is also home to various species of bird, fish, plant life as well as wildlife. Be sure to visit Mfangano Island for a spectacular bird-watching experience.
Lake Tanganyika (32,900 square kilometers)
This lake prides itself not only for being the longest freshwater lake on the planet Earth, but also the second deepest. Lake Tanganyika is also the second largest freshwater lake in the entire universe. Just like its earlier predecessor, Lake Tanganyika is shared by Tanzania, Zambia, Democratic Republic of Congo and Burundi.
Its name ‘Tanganyika’ suits its description perfectly as it is said to mean, ‘the great lake spreading out like a plain.’ Popular African lakes like this one are home to over 325 species of fish as well as crustacean’s species and mollusk. Its diversity of plant and animal life have made the lake be recognized as the most biologically diverse habitats in the world.
Lake Malawi (29,600 square kilometers)
Also called Lake Nyasa of Lago Niassa by the locals. Lake Malawi is the ninth largest lake in the world. It is also the third largest and second deepest lake in Africa. Among all other lakes, Lake Malawi has the most species of fish residing in its crystal clear blue waters.
Apart from that, Lake Malawi is also a great tourist attraction because of the wildlife species that live around the shores of the lake such as Nile crocodiles, monkeys, and hippos. It is shared by Malawi, Mozambique, and Tanzania.
Lake Volta (8,502 square kilometers)
Lake Volta is situated in Ghana. It is located within Akosombo Dam, which serves as a hydroelectric power plant since its waters are used to generate electricity which powers Ghana as well as several other countries around it.
The lake is also home to the magnificent Island of Dodi, which many tourists flock to savor its beauty and traverse its breath taking clean, rocky shores.
Lake Turkana (6,405 square kilometers)
Previously known as Lake Rudolf, Lake Turkana is shared by Kenya and Ethiopia. It forms part of the Great Rift Valley. Its popularity arises from the fact that it is the largest permanent desert lake in the world as well as the world’s largest alkaline lake. It serves as one of the salt mines in Kenya.
Lake Kariba (5,400 square kilometers)
Despite it being a man-made lake, it is one of the biggest lakes in Africa. Not to mention, it is the largest man-made lake in Africa. Zambia and Zimbabwe share the waters of this lake.
The flora surrounding the lake is such a sight to behold and it is home to many wildlife species such as hippos, crocodiles, and elephants.
Lake Albert (5,300 square kilometers)
Also called Lake Albert Nyanza and previously known as Lake Mobutu Sese Seko. Lake Albert is the sixth largest lake in the African continent and the twenty-seventh largest lake in the whole world. The lake is shared by Democratic Republic of Congo and Uganda.
The famous River Nile is a tributary to this lake which makes it more appealing as a tourist attraction. The lake is also home to thousands of fish species which are a major source of food for the inhabitants of that region.
Lake Nasser (5,250 square kilometers)
Situated in Egypt, Lake Nasser is located behind Aswan High Dam across River Nile. This lake is home to thousands of fish species. As a result of this, it is popular among tourists who flock the area to enjoy fishing expeditions as well as sight- seeing of the ancient Egyptian ruins that are submerged under its surface.
Lake Kivu (2,700 square kilometers)
Among Africa’s popular and biggest lakes, is Lake Kivu. It is shared between the Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda. What makes it quite popular is the fact that it is situated on a volcanic terrain.
This has resulted in the extinction of most life forms living in and around the lake region. This because, Lake Kivu is located near volcanic vents of Mount Nyiragongo, which is one of the most active volcanoes in Africa. Its location near those vents has contaminated the lake with gases such as carbon dioxide and methane which are toxic to any life form.
The lake has a possibility of the eruption as well if at all any volcanic activity were to happen on Mount Nyiragongo disturbing the state of equilibrium that the gases in the lake are at currently.
Africa is quite endowed geographically. This claim has been backed by the presence of many physical features in the continent, lakes included. These popular African lakes not only serve as tourist attractions, but also as a source of electricity, water, and food for the persons living around those regions. They are also home to thousands of various fish species, water plants, and wild life.
Now that you are well versed with these popular and biggest lakes in Africa, do make an effort to make one or most of them your tourist destination the next time you decide to take a vacation.