Lake Victoria Uganda Safari

Lake Victoria takes its name from Queen Elizabeth Victoria of England and it is by far one of the most spectacular water lakes in Uganda and Africa as a whole. It is one of the African Great Lakes and it is shared amongst 3 East African states that is Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania.

Kenya takes about 6% of the Lake which is approximately 4100sq.kms, Uganda 45% about 31000sq.kms and Tanzania 49% which is about 33000sq.kms. This magical waterbody was renamed by John Hanning Speke the first Briton to document it however, local guides used to call it Lake Nyanza, Nnalubaale in Luganda and in Luo it is called Nam Lowe.

Speke completed his exploration in Lake Victoria in 1858 on his tour with Richard Francis Burton to find the Source of the mighty River Nile. Their tour was financed by the Royal Geographic Society. Lake Victoria is incredibly one of the stunning water bodies that are worth exploring on Uganda safari.

This lake is estimated to cover an area of about 59947sq.kms which makes it the most extensive water lake in Africa and also the largest tropical lake on earth. This lake is rated as the 2nd largest fresh water lake in the world after Lake Superior in North America.

On the other hand, it is ranked as the 9th largest continental lake on earth considering its surface area and looking at its water volume, it contains about 2424 cubic kilometers of water. It is a magical place to consider a must to explore while on Uganda safari holiday.

Lake Victoria covers a shallow depression in Africa and its maximum depth ranges between 80 and 84m while its average depth is about 40m. Its catchment area is estimated to cover an area of about 169858sq.kms with its shoreline stretching up to about 7142kms. Lake Victoria isn’t only credited for its vast size but also as a home to numerous stunning islands which make up a length of about 3.7%.

Its geology dates back about 400000 years and its formation is as a result of westward flowing rivers that dammed by an up-thrown crustal block. Following its geological history, this lake underwent through very many changes right from its current shallow depression to formation of smaller lakes.

The geological cores which were taken from its bottom indicate that Lake Victoria has dried up absolutely about 3 times from the time of its formation. It is believed to have dried out approximately 17300 years back and later refilled about 14700 years back at the time the African humid period started. However, it receives about 80% of its water from direct rainfall and its annual average evaporation ranges between 2 and 2.2m.

Lake Victoria Uganda Safari

Shores of Lake Victoria

Wildlife in and around Lake Nalubaale

Variety of mammal species can be spotted in Lake Victoria area while on Uganda safari. Some of the mammal species here are associated with the lake and the wetlands around. They include among others bohor reedbuck, African clawless otter, marsh mongoose, defassa waterbucks, spotted necked otter, sitatunga, hippos, cane rats, giant otter shrew. The numerous species of reptiles which thrive in Lake Victoria and the nearby wetlands include the mud turtles, Nile crocodiles, William’s mud turtle and African turtles.

Compared to other lakes, Lake Victoria hosts variety of fish species including the common cichlid fish species, bagrid catfish, squeaker catfish, cyprinids, killifish, African tetras, spiny eel to mention but a few. Visitors on Uganda safari in Lake Victoria can also explore variety of crustaceans and molluscs which include 2 freshwater crab species. This Lake is also a home to an estimate of about 28 freshwater snails.

Other touristic sites to explore on Uganda safari in Lake Victoria include the Ssese archipelago which constitutes an estimate of about 84 magical islands which include among others the Bugala Islands, Pyramid Island, Damba Island, Koome Islands, Buvuma Islands, Bulingugwe Island, Bujagai Island and Bubembe Island.

Ngamba Island is another unique island to explore on Uganda safari in Lake Victoria. It is where over 49 orphaned chimpanzees live in the Ngamba Island Sanctuary. This chimpanzee sanctuary was established in 1988 and today, it is one exception tourist site to explore on Uganda safari. Mabamba Swamp also makes up part of Lake Victoria and for birders, this is one of the is an ideal birding spot?

Visitors on Uganda birding tour in this wetland have a chance to sight at varied bird species including shoebill storks, pied kingfishers, African pygmie goose, bee-eaters a mention but a few. This wetland is set within 1 and half hours’ drive from Kampala. This swamp is characterized by small channels of marsh filled water and lagoons. It is set within 16500 hectares.

On the side of Tanzania, there is Rubondo Island which Rubondo Island National Park derives its name. A visit to this magical site lets you explore variety of species including hippos, an estimate of about 400 bird species. Saanane Island is another stunning island to explore in Lake Victoria but on Tanzania side. It is from this magical island that Saanane Island National Park derives its name and features exceptional landscape, impalas, rock rabbits, monkeys, otters, hyrax.

On the Kenya side, Kisumu is one of the best spots on Lake Victoria shores you shouldn’t miss to visit. It is an ideal weekend getaway and different places to explore include among others Kisumu museum where there is impala sanctuary, hippo point, Kit Mikayi, Lwangni beach, dunga beach or you opt to go for boat excursions.

Some of the activities to do in Lake Victoria

  • Birding

Birding is an ideal safari activity to engage in while on Uganda safari in Lake Victoria. The ideal spots to embark on birding tour here include Mabamba papyrus swamp which lets you sight variety of birds including pied kingfishers, African pygmy goose, shoebill storks and many others.

  • Sunset cruises

Enjoy the incredible views as the sunsets on a cruise along Lake Victoria and be rewarded with lots of memorable experiences. This is a 1-2 hours’ experience and starts in late afternoon to 5:00pm.

  • Visit Ngamba Island

A visit to Ngamba Island lets you explore about chimpanzees, witness the daily activities as care takers feed the rescued chimpanzees in Ngamba Chimpanzee Sanctuary where orphaned chimpanzees are protected.

Lake Victoria Uganda

Chimpanzee Trekking in Ngamba Island

Where to stay in and around Lake Victoria

The available accommodation facilities in and around Lake Victoria include Brovad Sands Lodge, Mirembe Resort Beach, Ssese Habitat Resort, Banda Island Resort and Campsite which are found on Ssese Island. The nearby hotels around Lake Victoria include Victoria Forest Resort, Lake Victoria Hotel, Lake Victoria Serena Golf Resort and Spa.

  • Getting to Lake Victoria

By road, Lake Victoria is reachable starting from Kampala about 40kms away along Entebbe road where you can easily connect to this lake. By air, visitors on Uganda safari can fly and land into Entebbe International Airport which is currently the only international airport and entry point by air into Uganda. From Entebbe airport, you can drive a short distance to Lake Victoria.

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