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5 Amazing Facts About the Deepest Lake in East Africa

Deepest Lake in East Africa
Written by Abraham Odhiambo

Lake Tanganyika is the deepest lake in East Africa. It is also one of the world’s largest and most popular lakes. The lake drains into the Congo River system and ultimately into the Atlantic Ocean. 

It is within the Albertine Rift, the western branch of the East African Rift. River Ruzizi is the primary source of the catchment area, which covers 231,000 square kilometres. The Malagarasi River is also a major source of the lake. 

The deepest lake in East Africa has one major outflow – the Lukaga River. Lake Tanganyika has several islands, including the following:

  • Kumbula
  • Ile Kibishie
  • Mutondwe

Without further ado, let’s focus on five interesting facts about the deepest lake in East Africa that everyone should know. 

Which is the Deepest Lake in East Africa?

Lake Tanganyika is the deepest lake in East Africa. The lake has a surface area of 32,893 square kilometres with an average depth of 570 m (1,870 ft). 

Deepest Lake in East Africa

Lake Tanganyika. Photo/ Afric’Adventure.

1. Lake Tanganyika is the Second Largest Lake in Africa

The water volume of Lake Tanganyika is 4,500 cubic miles, and it is the second largest lake in Africa after Lake Victoria. 

The lake’s water covers an area of 12,700 square miles and has an average depth of 1,870 feet. Lake Tanganyika has a great depth because it lies in the Great Rift Valley. The deepest point of the lake is 4,280 feet. 

The lake is extremely clear, allowing you to see up to 20 metres from the surface. The temperature of Lake Tanganyika is uniform.  

Lake Tanganyika also holds the record for being the longest freshwater lake in the world besides being the deepest lake in East Afric. It doubles up as the second oldest freshwater lake in the world. 

2. Four Countries Share the Deepest Lake in East Africa

Lake Tanganyika, which covers a surface of 32,893 sq. km., is shared by four countries in Eastern Africa. Forty-six per cent of the lake is in Tanzania while the Democratic Republic of Congo has 40% of it.

Burundi and Zambia have the remaining part of the lake. The waters of the lake flow into the Congo River System, ending in the Atlantic Ocean. 

3. Lake Tanganyika Hosts Over 350 Different Species of Fish

Lake Tanganyika is home to more than 350 different species of fish since it’s a freshwater lake. Scientists continue to discover new species of fish at the remarkable lake. The most dominant fish species in the lake is the chilid.

This water body is one of the top lakes in the world in terms of biodiversity. Apart from the fish species, there are also numerous species of plants, birds and crustaceans. 

4. English Explorers Discovered the Lake

The deepest lake in East Africa first came to the attention of the world in the mid-1800s. English explorers John Speke and Richard Burton discovered the lake. The two founded the lake while pursuing the source of the River Nile.

Deepest Lake in East Africa

John Speke and Richard Burton discovered Lake Tanganyika. Photo/

John Speke and Richard Burton arrived at the shores of the River Nile in February 1858. Their fascinating journey has been documented in the movies Mountains of the Moon

5. Battles Took Place at the Lake During World War One

The British and German armies fought on Lake Tanganyika with the aim of securing its control. The Battle for Lake Tanganyika took place between December 1915 and July 1916. The German units who had dominated the lake since the start of the war did not want the British to take control. 

Further developments in the conflict led to the Germans withdrawing from the lake. The Belgians and the British took control of the surface of Lake Tanganyika.

What is the Second Deepest Lake in East Africa?

According to scientists, Lake Bunyonyi has an average depth of 39 metres. However, locals and tour guides insist that the lake is much deeper, about 900 metres, making it the second deepest lake in East Africa. 

What are the deepest lakes in Uganda?

  1. Lake Victoria 1,100 metres
  2. Lake Edward 913 metres
  3. Lake George 612 metres

What is the Deepest Lake in Kenya?

Lake Turkana is the deepest lake in Kenya. The lake covers 6,409 square kilometres and reaches a maximum depth of 109 metres. 

About the author

Abraham Odhiambo

Abraham Odhiambo is a writer with interests in nature, travel, African safari and sports. I'm pursuing a bachelor's degree in Media and Communication at Egerton University.

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