Lake Tanganyika is one of the most beautiful and fascinating natural freshwater lakes in the world. It is the second largest by volume and the second deepest, with water flowing in from the Congo and ultimately into the vast Atlantic Ocean. Tanzania is host to the largest portion of the Great Lake (46%), sharing it with Burundi, Zambia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).
REASONS TO VISIT LAKE TANGANYIKA
The Fascinating Ecology
Between its uniquely uniform temperatures to the remarkable varying water types from top to bottom, Lake Tanganyika is a veritable geological wonder.
The Marine Life
The lake has more than 350 species of fish, including Small Nile Perch, Giant Nile Perch, Goliath Tiger, English Fish, Kapenta, Bichir and the Lake Tanganyika yellow-belly. There are also a great variety of invertebrates like molluscs, crabs, copepods, shrimp, jellyfish and leeches.
During World War I, it became the scene of two infamous battles between the Allies and the Germans. In 1965, Che Guevara, an Argentinian revolutionary, utilized the shores of Lake Tanganyika for training guerilla forces in the Congo. And in 1992, the lake was featured in a BBC documentary entitled Pole to Pole. Standing on the shores of the lake today or gliding across its surface in a boat is a history lover’s dream.
On the shores of Laket Tanganyika are the Mahale Mountains & Gombe Stream National parks. Both offer ssome of the best Chimp safaris in the world as well as hiking and birding.
Originally designed to be a cargo vessel, it was modified to become a military expedition ship during World War I, Following the war, the British again raised the sunken ship and officially converted it into the passenger vessel it is today. The MV Liemba is an incredible piece of history.
Given the abundant population of fish living within the lake, it’s no surprise that sport fishing and angling are quite popular here as well. Fishing enthusiasts can enjoy the thrill of the catch, from Goliath Tiger fish to Nile perch.
Lake Tanganyika is situated within the Albertine Rift, the western branch of the East African Rift, and is confined by the mountainous walls of the valley. The lake is divided among four countries – Tanzania, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Burundi, and Zambia.
Lake Tangayinka offers a wide variety of accommodation options from luxurious lodges and camps to modest guest houses.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
A plathora of fun activities are possible within the Lake Tanganyika area such as Beach Holidays, Birding Safaris, Boating and Canoeing, Cultural Tourism Diving and Snorkelling, Fishing, Mountain Climbing & Camping Safaris.
Teeming with life and rich with history, From its crystal clear waters, flowing with the winds, from the surrounding mountains, to its incredible depths of ancient origin, a visit here is unlike anything you’ve experienced before, Lake Tanganyika is one of the most incredible places on earth.
ABOUT LAKE TANGANYIKA
The British explorers Richard Burton and John Speke were the first westerners to reach the lake, in 1858, while trying to locate the source of the Nile. David Livingstone also passed by the lake later on, and named the southern part of the lake "Liemba", which is thought to be a word from the Fipa language.
During World War I, there were 2 important battles fought on the lake. In 1965, the Argentinian revolutionary Che Guevara used Lake Tanganyika’s western shores as training grounds for guerilla forces in the Congo, but pulled out in less than a year. More recently in 1992, Lake Tanganyika was featured in Pole to Pole, a documentary series by the BBC, in which Michael Palin crossed the lake aboard the MV Liemba.
There are 2 ferries which carry passengers and cargo: MV Mwongozo, which goes from Kigoma to Bujumbura, and MV Liemba, which goes from Kigoma to Mpulungu. Tragedy struck the lake on December 12th, 2014, when the ferry MV Mutambala sank, and more than 120 lives were lost.
Lake Tanganyika is located in the Albertine Rift, which is the western section of the East African Rift. It’s the second largest lake in Africa by surface area (after Lake Victoria), the largest lake in Africa by volume, and its maximum depth of 1,470 meters (4,820 feet) makes it the deepest lake in Africa, reaching 642 meters (2,106 feet) below sea level. Holding 18,900 cubic kilometers (4,500 cubic miles) of freshwater, it accounts for approximately 18% of all the world’s unfrozen surface freshwater.
With a length of 673 kilometers (418 miles) it is the world’s longest lake, and it stretches in a North-South direction. It averages around 50 kilometers (31 miles) in width, with a maximum of 72 kilometers (45 miles). The lake’s surface area of 32,900 square kilometers (or 12,700 square miles) makes it the fifth largest freshwater lake in the world in that aspect. It has a shoreline of 1,828 kilometers and an average depth of 570 meters (1,870 feet). Its maximum depth of 1,470 meters is reached in the northern section of the lake. The lake’s average surface water temperature is 25° C and the average pH is 8.4.
As well as all the sights to take in, the lake also has a few water-based activities to indulge in. Fishing, Snorkelling and even scuba diving are some of the best of the lake’s offerings. The water is a warm and comfortable temperature to swim in all year round.
The lake is home to 250 cichlid fish species, out of which 98% are endemic to the lake. It’s also home to 75 non-cichlid fish species, out of which approximately 60% are endemic. Most fish live along the lake’s shoreline, to a maximum depth of about 180 meters (590 feet).
Best things to see in Lake Tanganyika | do in Lake Tanganyika
Snorkelling & Scuba Diving
Lake Tanganyika is hugely popular for diving with it's great visibility and fish variety. Spend the day underwater exploring the incredible topography of this immensely deep Lake.
other than the popular diving in Lake Tanganyika, visitors can enjoy sailing, swimming, boating, wakeboarding, kitesurfing and waterskiing.
On the shores of Lake Tanganyika are the Mahale Mountains & Gombe Stream National Parks which are very popular for hiking, chimp safaris and even mountain climbing.
while there are over 280 species of Cichlids in the Lake, there are larger species that provide a larger fight. The Sangala Pamba can grow to over 2 metres in length and weigh over 100 kgs. Common catches are Nile Perch (up to 50kg), Lake Salmon (up to 25kg), Nkupi/yellowbelly (up to 4kg), Tigerfish, Bream, Lake Trout ,Vundoo, Frontosa, Mbilli and a variety of other fish.
Lake Game Viewing
While there are plenty of fish to be seen during your diving and snorkelling trips, there are also many aquatic critters to be seen such as otters, freshwater crabs, speckled eels and freshwater jellyfish which are harmless.
We can arrange for a few hours or full day trips. Set off towards one of the many islands with a picnic and snorkelling gear in hand.
WHERE TO STAY : Lodges| Hotels | Camps
Lake Tanganyika accommodation varies from luxury remote lodges & camps to smaller locally run guest houses. There are a variety of accommodation options to suit the type of trip you are planning, your budget and taste.
LAKE TANGANYIKA HOTEL
LAKE SHORE LODGE
BEST TIME TO VISIT
Lake Tanganyika can be visited all year round.
The annual cycle in the region consists of 2 main seasons. The wet season is between October and April and is characterized by high humidity, considerable precipitation, weak winds over the lake, but also frequent thunderstorms.
The dry season lasts from May until the end of August, and is characterized by strong, southerly winds and little precipitation. These seasonal changes are the results of large-scale atmospheric processes.