Lake Victoria

A GUIDE TO LAKE VICTORIA

Lake Victoria is the largest inland lake in Africa and the largest tropical lake in the world. Covering a surface area of 68 800 square kilometres, this Great African Lake is located in East Central Africa and lies nestled in an ancient basin on the borders of three countries: Tanzania, Uganda and Kenya.

The mighty lake lies in a shallow depression between the Western and Eastern Rift Valley and is made up of several archipelagos that are shared between the three countries. The two most stunning attractions in the Lake Victoria Basin are Rubondo Island National Park which is the largest island park in Africa and the Ssese Islands which is spectacular archipelago made up of 84 islands.

Lake Victoria supports a thriving fishing and agricultural industry as well as a busy transport industry. Agricultural activities include coffee, maize, tea and coffee farming on either a subsistence or commercial level. There are 500 recorded fish species in Lake Victoria, including the infamous Nile Perch which is an invasive species that was introduced in the 1950s.

A tour of Lake Victoria appeals to nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts. It’s also an opportunity to learn more about the people of Lake Victoria. The great lake is conveniently located to the major safari game reserves in Tanzania and Uganda and is the perfect add-on destination for people who travel to those regions to see the gorillas or the annual wildebeest migration.

HISTORY OF LAKE VICTORIA

Lake Victoria was discovered by John Hanning Speke in 1858 on his famous quest to find the source of the Nile, along with his travel companion Richard Francis Burton. Speke named it Lake Victoria after the reigning Queen of England. At the time, Speke caused much debate in the scientific community by claiming Lake Victoria was the source of the Nile River.

Its existence was confirmed by the Welsh-American explorer Henry Morton Stanley who at the time circumnavigated the lake and reported the great outflow was at Ripon Falls on the northern shore of Lake Victoria.

Prior to Speke’s arrival, Lake Victoria was well-known to the Arab traders who explored the inland routes in search of gold and ivory as well as sourced slaves from the region. An ancient map of the lake has been discovered and dates back to approximately 1160 AD.

FASCINATING FACTS ABOUT LAKE VICTORIA

The coastline of Lake Victoria covers an area of 5 180 square kilometres (2 000 miles). It’s incredibly diverse; ranging from 90-metre high cliffs and dense papyrus swamps at the delta of the Kagera River to the flat and barren shores of the channel to the Gulf of Kavirondo and Winam Gulf.

Lake Victoria is famous for a group of islands known as the Ssese Islands. This incredible archipelago is made up of 84 islands and is located in the northwestern part of Lake Victoria that falls within Uganda.

Lake Victoria is moderately shallow and its volume of water is less than other great lakes in Africa which have a considerably smaller surface areas. As much as 85% of the water that fills Lake Victoria is provided by rainfall and about 15% of the water is lost to evaporation.

Kagera River is the largest river that flows into Lake Victoria. Two rivers flow out of the great lake: White Nile or Victoria Nile and Katonga River.

Victoria Nile leaves the lake at Ripon Falls near Jinja and flows in a northern direction  for 500 kilometres. After if falls over Murchison Falls, it flows into Lake Albert and onto the Albert Nile. This is the last part of the river in Uganda before it enters Sudan.

The only river that flows out of Lake Victoria is the famous Nile River. In terms of contributed water, Lake Victoria is the primary source of the longest branch of the Nile River.

It’s estimated that Lake Victoria formed over 400 000 years ago.

The surface area of Lake Victoria is about 800 square kilometres (26 600 square miles) and it has a 3 440 kilometre-stretched shoreline.

In total, there are over 3 000 inhabited islets in Lake Victoria.

In terms of volume, Lake Victoria is the 9th largest continental lake in the world. It contains approximately 2 424 cubic kilometres of water.

Lake Victoria has a maximum depth of between 80 to 84 metres (262 to 275 feet) and an average depth of 40 metres (130 feet).

Lake Victoria’s surface area is divided among three countries: Kenya (6%), Uganda (45%) and Tanzania (49%).

The only freshwater lake that is larger than Lake Victoria is Lake Superior in North America.

According to geological studies, Lake Victoria has dried up completely a few times. The last time was over 17 300 years ago.

Uganda operates two major hydroelectric dams on Lake Victoria to generate hydro-electricity.

Lake Victoria supports the largest inland fishing industry in Africa. Fish species harvested in Lake Victoria included indigenous species such as tilapia and haplochromine cichlids as well as foreign species such as Nile perch, silver butter catfish, elephantfish and marbled lungfish.

Nile Perch was introduced in the 1950s to boost the fishing industry and this has caused huge problems as the species is extremely invasive. At its peak in the early 1990s, 500 000 tonnes of Nile perch were harvested every year in Lake Victoria but this has declined significantly in recent years due to overfishing.

In May 1996, the ferry MV Bukoba sank in Lake Victoria. At least 1 000 people lost their lives in this ferry disaster, making it one of the worst maritime disasters in Africa’s history.

Lake Victoria also goes by the names of Lake Nyanza, Nam Lolwe (Luo) and Nnalubaale (Luganda). There is an increasing trend in Africa to revert back to the native name for the great lake.

Approximately 30 million people live in the Lake Victoria Basin. The world is extremely concerned as the great lake faces several critical environmental issues, including an overgrowth of water hyacinth, overfishing, deforestation of the island forests and water pollution.

WHY YOU SHOULD VISIT LAKE VICTORIA

Lake Victoria is marketed as ‘The Pearl’ or ‘Pride of Africa’. It’s one of the greatest lakes in the world and is renowned for its spectacular beauty, lush tropical islands and beautiful beachside hotels and resorts. There are over 200 fish species in Lake Victoria which makes it a sought-after destination for a fishing tour in Africa.

The number of tourists visiting Lake Victoria has increased over the years because the region is benefitting from improved infrastructure and an increase in investment in the hospitality industry. You’ll find a wide selection of accommodation in the Lake Victoria basin, ranging from rustic fishing camps to private resorts, safari lodges and modern hotels.

Lake Victoria is also rich in history and has a substantial number of heritage sites as well as a significant archaeological site. The vast network of islands are home to incredible bird species which makes the lake region a birder’s paradise.

Lake Victoria spreads out over the borders of Tanzania, Uganda and Kenya and is close to Serengeti National Park in Tanzania and other world-renowned safari destinations in East Africa. It’s a popular add-on destination after a Big 5 safari tour to the Serengeti and the other famous game reserves in East Africa.

You can combine a holiday to Lake Victoria with a once-in-a-lifetime Serengeti safari tour in Tanzania or a gorilla tour in Uganda. If you can’t get to the impenetrable forests in Rwanda or Uganda for chimpanzee trekking, you ca visit Ngama Island on the Uganda side of Lake Victoria. The 100-acre island is a protected chimpanzee sanctuary.

 

IS IT SAFE TO VISIT LAKE VICTORIA?

Hundreds of thousands of travellers visit Lake Victoria every year despite the fact that certain media sites will tell you it’s one of the most dangerous destinations in Africa. Here you have to look at the travel data – or lack of them – and decide for yourself if a holiday in Lake Victoria is worth it.

Swimming in Lake Victoria

Swimming in Lake Victoria is not recommended but you will see locals and international visitors swimming in the great lake. The main worry about swimming in Lake Victoria is the risk of contracting bilharzia. There are also large populations of hippo and crocodiles in the lake.

Fishing is one of the highlights of a trip to Lake Victoria but again, it’s important to know a vast number of people lose their lives as a result of boating accidents and drownings. There are a few reasons for this but extreme weather and boats capsizing are the main causes.

Bilharzia in Lake Victoria

This dreaded tropical disease is transmitted through bilharzia-infected snails. The medical term for bilharzia is Schistosomiasis or ‘snail fever’ to the locals. Schistosomiasis is common in the majority of large lakes in Africa.

Bilharzia is not immediately fatal like malaria but it causes very unpleasant symptoms. It’s can be life-threatening if the parasite lives in your body undetected or treated and causes irreparable damage to your organs.

The first symptoms of bilharzia are severe abdominal pain and diarrhea. Over a period of time, more serious symptoms will occur such as infertility, enlargement of the spleen (protruding stomachs) and organ failure.

Bilharzia is easy to treat but it can go undetected if you mistake the common bilharzia symptoms for something else. If you swim in Lake Victoria, it’s a good idea to go to a doctor when you return home and have bloods taken to test for the parasite.

 

Extreme weather conditions in Lake Victoria

It’s estimated that about 5 000 people die every year from water-related accidents in Lake Victoria. This is due to a combination of extreme weather patterns, inferior fishing boats and people not being strong swimmers.

The weather conditions on the great lake can go from mild and pleasant to torrid and life-threatening in a matter of minutes. Strong winds whip up high waves that can make you feel like you’re on a boat in the middle of the ocean in a storm. The strong winds also push the boats onto rocks.

Windy conditions are worst in the months of June, July and August.

Hippos and crocodiles in Lake Victoria

Lake Victoria is home to large populations of hippo and crocodiles. They are both highly dangerous and responsible for hundreds of fatalities every year in Africa.

Boating accidents in Lake Victoria

A fishing trip in Lake Victoria is safe as long as you take the usual precautions to prevent a tragic boating accident or drowning. The most important thing is you should only book a fishing trip in Lake Victoria through a reputable operator who has a reliable, ‘seaworthy’ boat and years of fishing experience on the lake.

The majority of boating accidents in Lake Victoria go unreported and usually it’s a tragic case of local people being caught out on the lake in extreme weather and in boats that are “unseaworthy”.

Other causes of deaths on Lake Victoria include overloaded boats, engines not strong enough, drunken sailors, negligent ferry operators, impaired vision at night, lack of policing and regulations and passengers not wearing life-jackets.

THE FAMOUS ISLANDS OF LAKE VICTORIA

 

The islands of Lake Victoria are the main attractions and the majority of travellers visit the great lake region for a combination of outdoor activities. The choice ranges from fishing and boat cruises to hiking, walking trails, mountain biking and birdwatching.

Of course, many holidaymakers visit Lake Victoria for a lovely ‘beach’ holiday at one of the many hotels and resorts along the lake shoreline.

SSESE ISLANDS

The Ssese Islands is an outstanding archipelago which is made up of a collection of 84 densely-forested islands. They form the Kalangala District.

The Ssese Islands are divided into two main groups:

  • Bugala Group in the south-west region; named after Bugala Island which is the largest island in the archipelago
  • Koome Group in the north-eastern region; named after Koome Island which is the largest in that group

The two island groups are separated by the Koome Channel.

If you’re planning a holiday to Lake Victoria, these four islands are popular options:

Bugala Island

Bugala Island is the largest island in the Ssese archipelago. It covers an area of some 270 square kilometres. It’s the most developed island in Lake Victoria and is easy to get to by ferry which is located at Lutoboka Bay.

Kalangala is the main town of Ssese Islands and is located on the eastern end of Bugala Island.

There are two ferries that transport people to Bugala Island and back. The most popular ferry runs from Nakiwogo Dock (located south of Entebbe) to the ferry dock at Kalangala. The second ferry runs from Bukakata (located near Masaka) to the ferry dock at the town of Luku.

Bugala Island has an incredible array of wildlife and many interesting bird species.

Banda Island

Banda Island is a small island that operates as a private leasehold. There is a well-kept campsite and budget lodge on the island and loads of things to do on the island.

Apart from relaxing on the sandy beach, popular activities include trolling for Nile Perch in a Kato or speed boat, canoeing around the whole island, strolling through the rainforest and birdwatching.

There is bilharzia in the waters surrounding the island but because there is no community living in close proximity, the likelihood of picking up the parasite is extremely low.

Bulago Island

Bulago Island (not to be mistaken for Bugala Island) is a small island that covers an area of about 2 square kilometres. It has 6 kilometres of sandy beaches and its rugged shoreline is made up of low cliffs and rocky outcrops. The north-eastern tip of the island is covered in by a lush rain forest.

Bulago Island is popular for sailing on Lake Victoria. You can hire small sailboats and windsurfers from the lodge on the island. You can also have a lot of fun waterskiing and tubing.

The island is small so you can enjoy a leisurely hike around the whole island or take a stroll to the rainforest to bird watch. Bulago Island is a birder’s paradise.

Ngamba Island

Ngamba Island has grown in popularity as a place to visit in Lake Victoria because it’s home to a protected chimpanzee sanctuary. The sanctuary was founded in 1998 to care for orphaned chimpanzees that were rescued in Uganda from poaches and wildlife meat traders.

It’s a small island that’s approximately 40 hectares in size and is totally covered by a lush rainforest. It’s a birder’s paradise with over 120 bird species and is home to an interesting array of wildlife.

The best thing about visiting Ngamba Island is you get to see the chimpanzees in their natural habitat. The chimps are kept in a secluded area for their safety but roam freely in the forested section.

Visitors need to provide proof that they are up-to-date with their vaccinations to prevent the spread of diseases from humans to the primates.

Guests stay in self-contained safari tents in a well-maintained camp that overlooks the Ssese Islands of Lake Victoria.

RUBONDO ISLAND NATIONAL PARK

Rubondo Island National Park is located in Tanzania in the south-western portion of Lake Victoria. The national park is made up of the famous Rubondo Island and a collection of 11  smaller islands. Rubondo Island National Park covers an area of 456 square kilometres of land and water surface area and is known as the largest ‘island park in Africa’.

It’s one of the most popular tourist destination in Lake Victoria, particularly wildlife enthusiasts. Rubondo Island is home to a wide array of animals, including elephant, giraffe, chimpanzee, bushbuck, bush pigs and the shy Suni antelope. Birdlife on Rubondo Island is prolific with about 400 recorded species on the island.

Rubondo Island is also home to the rare and highly endangered Sitatunga which is an amphibious antelope that hides and camouflages itself in the thick marshes around the lake. An amphibious antelope can live on both land and in shallow waters.

Rubondo Island is mostly covered in thick rainforests with open patches of woodlands, papyrus swamps and pristine sandy beaches. The island park is popular with travellers who love outdoor adventures. Things to do on Rubondo Island range from hiking and walking safaris in the dense forests to canoeing, fishing, birdwatching and of course, lazing on the beaches.

Rubondo Island National Park is a protected wilderness area which means certain rare and endangered animal and bird species have thrived in island rainforests. This includes the black and white colobus and chimpanzees.

RUSINGA ISLAND

Rusinga Island lies in the eastern corner of Lake Victoria and falls within Kenya. It’s a long elongated island that is 16 kilometres long and 5 kilometres wide. What makes Rusinga Island famous is the extraordinary presence of rich and important fossil beds that date back some 18 million years.

In 1948, an expedition party collected over 15 000 fossils from the Miocene. This includes 64 primate species known as the Miocene apes.

Rusinga Island Lodge is the most popular place to stay on Rusinga Island. Guests can enjoy fishing, boat cruises, hiking, mountain biking and an selection of water sports.

UKEREWE ISLAND

Ukerewe Island is the largest island in Lake Victoria and the largest inland island in Africa. The island park is an archipelago which is made up of 27 smaller islands. The islands are all inhabited by local people except for three that are uninhabitable.

The Nansio people are the largest community who live on Ukerewe Island. The island people live off what they catch in Lake Victoria and small-scale farming.

Historic sites on Ukerewe Island include:

  • Kagunguli – an old Roman church built in 1895
  • Bukindo – a Chief’s palace built in 1922
  • A school and dispensary built between 1902 and 1913 and is still in use

Irondo Point is a popular tourist attraction on Ukerewe Island. It offers a three-way spectacular view of Entebbe in Uganda, Mwanza City in Tanzania and Nairobi in Kenya.

Things to do on Ukerewe Island include fishing, canoeing, cycling, hiking or walking and taking a cultural tour of a local village.

MFANGANO ISLAND

Mfangano Island is located on the Kenyan side of Lake Victoria and is most famous for its ancient rock paintings. They are believed to have been painted by the Bantu Pygmies of Uganda who were the earliest inhabitants of the island region.

The rock paintings on Mfangano Island are thought to be between 1 000 and 4 000 years old.  The site itself is both revered and feared by local inhabitants which means the paintings have been left untouched.

There are two principle sites on the island: a cave close to the water known as Mawanga and a rock shelter found further inland called Kwitone.

PLACES TO VISIT ON A HOLIDAY TO LAKE VICTORIA

The tropical islands highlighted above are the main attractions for a trip to Lake Victoria but there are other popular places to visit while on holiday in the region.

 

Kakamega Forest National Park

Kakamega Forest National Park is located about 50 kilometres from Lake Victoria. It is located northwest of the Nairobi, the capital of Kenya, and near Kenya’s border with Uganda.

The national park is covered in dense tropical forests which are the last remnant of the ancient Guineo-Congolian rainforest that once covered vast swathes of Africa. It covers an area of about 230 square kilometres and is renowned for its incredible biodiversity.

Unfortunately, overpopulation, deforestation and overgrazing threaten this extremely valuable tract of forest. Less than half of the endangered tropical forest remains a protected indigenous forest. It gained its national forest status in 1985.

What makes the Kakamega Forest unique is its extremely wet climate. The region receives up to 1 700 millimeters of rainfall every year.

Kakamega Forest National Park boasts a spectacular array of rare trees including the elgon teak and the red and white stinkwood. There are over 60 species of orchids in the forest of which 9 species are only found in those forests.

Birdlife in Kakamega Forest National Park is prolific. It’s home to over 365 bird species including the rare west African Great blue turaco and white-and-black casqued hornbill. There are 9 bird species in the national park that are not found anywhere else in the world.

Other vulnerable species found in Kakamega Forest National Park include the African clawless other, giant African water shrew, tree pangolin, blue and red-tail monkey and the De Brazza’s monkey. Leopards have been seen in the Kakamega Forest but the last sighting was in 1991.

Unique insects found in the national park include the goliath beetle and the pink and green-flowered mantis.

The southern section of Kakamega Forest National Park is the most accessible area for tourists. Things to do in Kakamega include forest walks, hiking, primate tours, bird and butterfly watching and village tours. Tours to visit the most-photographed tree in the forest, Mama Mtere tree, as well as the Crying Stone are also popular.

Botanical Gardens Entebbe

The national botanical gardens of Uganda are located in Entebbe on the shores of Lake Victoria. The lush gardens were laid out in 1898 by the first curator and are divided into different ecozones. This includes a stunning tropical rainforest zone.

The lush tropical gardens are home to an array of monkeys and squirrels as well as 115 bird species. This includes the African fish eagle, Angola swallow and the Deidrick cuckoo.

A number of popular annual events take place at Botanical Gardens Entebbe including the Milege World Music Festival which is held in November. The Botanical Gardens Entebbe are easy to get to from the main international airport.

Uganda Wildlife Conservation Education Centre

Uganda Wildlife Conservation Education Centre is the longer name for the Entebbe Zoo. The protected wildlife sanctuary is located a short 15-minute drive from Entebbe International Airport.

The centre cares for orphaned and rescued animals that are victims of the bush meat trade as well as deforestation. The centre tries to release as many of the animals back into the wild but many of them remain in the care of the centre and act as ambassadors to educate visitors on the plight of Uganda’s wildlife.

Thimlich Ohinga Archaeological Site

Thimlich Ohinga Archaeological Site is located north-west of the town of Migori in the Lake Victoria Basin. It is a dry-stonewalled settlement that was built in the 16th century. It served as a protective fort for communities and their livestock until the mid-20th century.

The important archaeological site lies just south of Ruma National Park. This small relatively unknown national park in Kenya is known as the “Last Retreat of the Roan Antelope”. It provides sanctuary for the only indigenous population of the rare and highly-endangered roan antelope in Kenya.

MAIN CITIES LINKED TO LAKE VICTORIA

Entebbe

Entebbe is located in Central Uganda and lies close to the northern shores of Lake Victoria. The busy city is approximately 45 kilometres from Kampala, the capital city and largest city in Uganda.

Most travellers fly into Entebbe International Airport and travel on to their accommodation in Lake Victoria with a private charter plane or take a ferry across to the island.

Popular things to do while staying in Entebbe include a visit to Uganda Wildlife Education Centre and the Entebbe Botanical Garden. You can also do a day tour of Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary from Entebbe.

Mwanza

The city of Mwanza is the major port on Lake Victoria in Tanzania. It’s the economic hub of the great lake region and the bulk of what the area produces passes through the industrial harbour. This includes harvests from tea, cotton and coffee plantations.

The majority of the inhabitants of Mwanza are the Sukuma which is the largest population group in Tanzania. They live simple lives subsisting off subsistence farming and fishing.

Mwanza is a good place to stay if you want to visit Rubondo Islands National Park which is located fairly close to the city.

Kisumu

Kisumu is the largest lakeside city in the Lake Victoria region on the Kenyan side of the great lake. It’s a vibrant lake port and famous for its busy markets that line the city streets.

The city has been left largely untouched by commercial development so it retains much of its traditional cultural heritage.

Musoma

The town of Musoma is located in northern Tanzania close to the Kenyan border on the shores of Lake Victoria. It’s the administrative capital of the Mara region and is rich in history.

You’ll find a number of German heritage buildings which were used as government offices.  The Mwalimu Julius K Nyerere Museum houses an exhibition of records that document the early history of Tanzania as well as the rise of nationalism and the independence movement.

If you’re staying in Musoma, you can take a boat trip to one of the nearby islands in Lake Victoria or book an overnight stay at one of the island lodges. The most popular thing to do in Musoma is a trip to Matvilla Beach. It’s known for its striking granite boulders and festive lakeside bars and restaurants.

WHERE TO STAY IN LAKE VICTORIA

The great lakes spreads over the borders of three countries so you have a wide choice of places to stay in Lake Victoria. Accommodation in Lake Victoria ranges from luxury beachside resorts on the islands to rustic camping spots on the beach.

Here is a list of the Top 5 hotels in Lake Victoria that you can trust for a wonderful tropical island holiday:

Rubondo Island Camp ǀ Accommodation on Rubondo Island National Park in Lake Victoria (Tanzania)

Rubondo Island Camp is the only tourist accommodation available on Rubondo Island National Park. The luxury beachside camp is located in the southwestern section of Lake Victoria that falls within Tanzania.

Guests stay in modern lakeside cottages and enjoy a wide choice of outdoor activities. This includes walking trails, boating, fishing and safari tours in the dense island forests. Birdlife is spectacular in and around the camp which makes Rubondo Island Camp a popular holiday destination for avid birdwatchers.

Rusinga Island Lodge ǀ Accommodation on Rusinga Island in Lake Victoria (Kenya)

Rusinga Island Lodge is a popular beachside lodge located in a remote and unspoilt corner of Rusinga Island. The island lies on the Kenyan side of Lake Victoria.

Guests stay in thatched cottages with spectacular views of the lake and enjoy an array of outdoor activities. This includes fishing, boating, canoeing, mountain biking and waterskiing. You can also book a day tour to an important archaeological site on the island where thousands of fossils have been uncovered.

Mfangano Island Camp ǀ Accommodation on Mfangano Island in Lake Victoria (Kenya)

Mfangano Island Camp is located on the western shores of Mfangano Island in Lake Victoria in a section of the great lake that falls within Kenya. This exclusive beachside camp is private and only sleeps a maximum of 12 guests.

A stay at Mfangano Island Camp is usually sold as an add-on option to a safari tour in Kenya. It’s a 40-minute flight in a charter plane from the Masai Mara and a 15-minute boat ride from the airport to Mfangano Island.

Victoria Forest Resort ǀ Accommodation on Bugala Island in Lake Victoria (Uganda)

Victoria Forest Resort is located in Kalangala which is the main town of Bugala Island, the largest island in the Ssese archipelago. The resort is conveniently situated about 1 kilometre from the ferry in Lutoboka Bay.

Victoria Forest Resort is situated on a 3-kilometre stretch of beach and offers guests a wide selection of outdoor activities. This includes walking trails in the Lutoboka Forest, mountain biking, bird watching and beach games. There’s a swimming pool on the property for adults and one for kids.

Brovad Sands Lodge ǀ Accommodation on Bugala Island in Lake Victoria (Uganda)

Brovad Sands Lodge is a luxury guest lodge located in Kalangala on Bugala Island. It’s a popular beach lodge for travellers on holiday in Lake Victoria and offers guests a host of outdoor activities. The lodge has a gorgeous swimming pool if you’re nervous of swimming in Lake Victoria and an in-house spa treatment centre.

 

 

GETTING AROUND LAKE VICTORIA

Ferries are the most popular mode of transport in Lake Victoria for both locals and tourists. The main ports on Lake Victoria are located at:

  • Kisumu in Kenya
  • Mwanza in Tanzania
  • Bukoba in Tanzania
  • Entebbe in Uganda
  • Port Bell in Uganda
  • Jinja in Uganda

It’s highly recommended that you book your holiday to Lake Victoria through a reputable tour operator. Book a popular Lake Victoria tour which should include transport arrangements to fly in and out of the Lake Victoria region and ferry rides where needed.

BEST TIME TO VISIT LAKE VICTORIA

Lake Victoria has a tropical climate which is typically warm and pleasant throughout the year. This makes Lake Victoria a year-round destination.

Lake Victoria has a short rainy season in November and December and a long rainy season from the middle of March to early June.

The peak tourist season runs from July through to February. The beach resorts and hotels in Lake Victoria charge a higher rate during the peak season and flights to and from the international airports close to Lake Victoria are more expensive in the busy tourist season.

The low tourist season is from March to June. This is when you can pick up reasonably-priced accommodation in Lake Victoria and flights to Lake Victoria region are generally less expensive in the quiet tourist season.

TRAVEL INFORMATION FOR LAKE VICTORIA

Is there malaria in Lake Victoria?

Lake Victoria is a high-risk malaria region. The swampy shorelines of the great lake are the prefect breeding ground for malaria-carrying mosquitoes.

It’s highly recommended travellers take anti-malaria tablets for a holiday in Lake Victoria and the usual precautions to prevent being bitten.

Is there bilharzia in Lake Victoria?

Yes, there is bilharzia in Lake Victoria. Bilharzia is present in almost all large lakes in Africa, and is strongly prevalent in shallow reedy waters in close vicinity to villages. Bilharzia occurs and thrives in waters that are contaminated by human faeces. Poor sanitation in the lakeside fishing villages is the main reason why bilharzia is still such a big problem in the Lake Victoria Basin.

Bilharzia is easy to diagnose and treat. However, if left untreated, bilharzia can cause long-term and irreparable damage to your organs.

Do you need a visa for Lake Victoria?

You will travel to Lake Victoria through Uganda, Kenya or Tanzania. The same visa requirements for the East African Community (EAC) apply for a holiday to Lake Victoria. The EAC is the regional intergovernmental organisation of the Republics of Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi and South Sudan.

Speak to your travel agent or consult the official websites for Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania for information on visa and passport requirements.

What country is Lake Victoria in?

Lake Victoria is located in eastern central Africa and spreads across the boundaries of three countries. Most of Lake Victoria lies in Tanzania and Uganda and a smaller section lies in Kenya.

 

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