Lake George Uganda
Lake George sits on the western arm of the Great African Rift Valley in Queen Elizabeth National Park, western Uganda, and covers a surface area of 250 square kilometers. This small and shallow Lake is about 2.4 meters deep and part of the African Great Lakes systems much as not considered one of the Great Lakes.
With several tributaries such as Rivers Dura, Rumi, Mpanga, Katonga, Nsonge from Rwenzori, and Mubuku, Lake George flows south-westwards into Lake Edward through the Kazinga Channel, a 32-kilometer long channel connecting these two Lakes. It was named after King George V of the United Kingdom and the British Dominions (when he was still a Prince).
Lake George was first discovered by Explorer Henry M. Stanley in 1875 during his legendary Trans-African expedition after following the course of River Katonga from Lake Victoria. This Lake sits in a landscape of about 914 meters above sea level and has its main catchment area within the Mount Rwenzori ranges.
He initially thought it was part of Lake Albert and named it the “Beatrice Gulf but plans to explore other Lakes was aborted due to the endless conflicts in the Bunyoro Kingdom.
Lake George was designated a Ramsar wetland on 4th March 1988 and its main islands of the Lake are Akika, Kankuranga, and Iranqara.
- Flora and Fauna in/around Lake George
The Northern shores of Lake George are covered by thick/dense Papyrus swamp, which has largely contributed to the continuous fluctuation of water levels to a minimal level. Unique fish species in Lake George are Nile Tilapia and Haplochromis Nigripinnis among others.
The papyrus swamp near the shores of Lake George are habitats for the Sitatunga in addition to the Hippos, Buffaloes, elephants, Nile crocodiles, and Uganda kobs that roam the shores of the Lake. Other animals such as warthogs, waterbucks, elands, buffaloes, and duikers are usually spotted grazing around the shores.
Lake George is one of Queen Elizabeth National Park’s top birding spots with over 100 species of wetland, aquatic and savannah birds spotted in one day. Sights of the Marabou storks, grey-headed kingfishers, African fish eagles, Swamp nightjar, Nubian woodpeckers, pick-backed pelicans, shoebill storks, and African mourning dove are expected in and around Lake George.
Tourist activities conducted in and around Lake George
- Cultural tours
One of the commonest community-based initiatives around Lake George is the “Kasuga Community Experience” that ushers tourists to the lifestyle of the people living around the Lake with activities such as birding, canoeing, traditional beer brewing demonstrations, traditional canoe making demonstrations, canoe regatta, and many others.
For your visits to Lake George, you will also get the chance to join the fishermen to the Lake where you will be taught how to fish and even take your best catch that will be prepared for lunch or dinner. Species such as Tilapia are caught in Lake George.
- Dugout canoes ride.
Dugout canoe rides are also conducted on Lake George whereby strong-hearted tourists hop on a traditional canoe to explore the beauty and discover the history of the shallow Lake. Expect to reach the Islands, fish breeding areas and also spot different bird species.
- Nature walks
Nature walks around the papyrus wetlands introduces tourists to the different species of birds that call Lake George and surrounding areas home as well as get a chance to see how fine traditional souvenirs such as baskets are actually weaved.
Whether through nature walks, dugout canoe rides, and even cultural tours, one thing you are guaranteed of being rewarded with is the jaw-dropping views of the different wetland and aquatic bird species in the area. Species such as the shoebill storks, African fish eagles, and pelicans are a must-see in and around Lake George.
- Best time to visit Lake George
Lake George and surrounding areas experience both dry and wet seasons with the latter ranging from March to May as well as October and November. These months are perfect for spotting migratory bird species but usually avoided for other activities such as nature walks.
The dry months-June to September and December to February is ideal for visiting Lake George and is when most activities are relished. However, the Lake can be visited all year round.
- Where to stay around Lake George
Some of the budget, midrange, or luxury places to stay around Lake George are Kasenyi Lake Retreat and Campsite, Mweya Safari Lodge, Jacana Safari Lodge, Enganzi Game Lodge, Simba Safari Camp, Ihamba Lakeside Safari Lodge, Kazinga Channel View Resort, and Tembo Safari Lodge among others.