Despite its huge size, the murky lake is not that deep – only 100 meters at its deepest. The lake lies in the Rift Valley of East Africa, a 3,500 mile system of deep cracks in the earth’s crust running from the Red Sea south to Mozambique. Although this region of Africa is better known for its large cats and the herds of wildebeests, zebras and giraffes that roam the savanna plains, its most diverse and endangered ecosystems are to be found under water.
Lake Victoria’s vastness (400 km long and 280 km wide), blue waters and extensive white sand shores are awe-inspiring. It has a number of Islands, each with its unique beauty and enchantment.
Within the Lake, one can find many archipelagos as well as numerous reefs just below the surface. Lake Victoria is known for its abundance of fish, fishing for tilapia and Nile perch provides a living for the majority of the Bantu-speaking people who live along the lakeside. The fish are sold at local markets or to the processors for export. There are over 200 species of fish, which all make a major contribution to the economy. The Lake lies within the Victoria basin, which covers an area of 238,900 sq. km.
Lake Victoria is bordered to the south by 300-ft high precipices that are backed by the papyrus and ambatch swamps that form the delta of the Kagera River. The lake drains water into the Kavirondo Gulf through a narrow channel. The gulf is roughly 25 km wide and extends for at least 40 miles to Kisumu, Kenya. One of the largest and most important contributors to Lake Victoria is the Kagera River, which runs into the western side of the lake. One other source is the Katonga River, which is situated north of the Kagera. There are several other inlets, but the lake’s only outlet is the Victoria Nile to the north.