Lake Tanganyika Safari, Facts, Map, Size, Depth & Activities

Lake Tanganyika Safari, Facts, Map, Size, Depth, Activities, & Characteristics – After Siberia’s Lake Baikal, Lake Tanganyika is the second-deepest and second-largest lake in the world. It occupies land in four countries: a small portion in Burundi and Zambia, and about 40 percent in the DRC and Tanzania.

Lake Tanganyika, located in Africa’s Great Rift Valley, is around three million years old and is fed by more than fifty different rivers and streams. Because of its age and relative isolation, it now ranks among the world’s most ecologically diverse and scientifically valuable ecosystems. Lake Tanganyika, which contains 8 percent of the world’s freshwater, is teeming with fish. Almost all of Lake Tanganyika’s fish, however, avoid the cold, oxygen-depleted depths and instead stick to the warm, top waters.

The deep water of Lake Tanganyika.

The Fact About Lake Tanganyika

Kigoma, a major town, is located on the shore of the lake. The Mahale Mountains National Park and the Gombe Stream National Park, both located in Tanzania, are popular destinations for tourists because they provide easy access to the lake.

In addition to a variety of other primates, forest birds, and colorful clouds of butterflies, both parks are well-known for their numbers of habituated chimpanzees. Each park offers lodging options, with Mahale featuring a spectacular lakeside resort. Although they are not as easily accessible as Tanzania’s more well-known safari locations, these two protected areas still provide interesting glimpses into the natural history of a renowned hotspot for biodiversity.

The 52-hectare Lupita Island in Lake Tanganyika’s south offers accommodations as well. Visitors have their pick of land-based adventures like trekking and tours to nearby fishing communities, or aquatic ones like diving, snorkeling, and sailing. Katavi National Park is also nearby and is widely regarded as one of Tanzania’s finest hidden safari gems. You may have the best of both the savannah and the rainforest by combining a typical big game safari in Katavi with a stay in Mahale or Gombe.

Booking A Trip to Lake Tanganyika

We suggest combining a trip to Lake Tanganyika with a safari in search of chimpanzees at Gombe or Mahale, as well as more obscure parks in Southern and Western Tanzania like Nyerere (Selous), Ruaha, or Katavi.

Tarangire, Lake Manyara, Ngorongoro Crater, and the Serengeti (wildebeest migration) are just a few of the Northern Tanzania safari parks you can see on your trip. Spend your final days in Zanzibar relaxing on the beach and learning about Swahili culture.

Lake Tanganyika Activities

A trip to Tanzania’s Lake Tanganyika would be unlike any other kind of safari. It is stunningly gorgeous, steeped in a fascinating history, and shrouded in mystery. The lake is a crucial link connecting Tanzania, Burundi, the Congo, and Zambia, and it is 45 miles wide and 418 miles long. From your Tanzanian safari lake base, your Kabira Safaris travel agent may set you up with a dhow trip for romantic lakeside dining, fishing, snorkeling, or swimming in the deep lake.

  • In addition to kayaking and canoeing, motorboat excursions to local villages and points of historical importance are also possible. Especially on longer trips, the lake can be fairly rough and exhilarating, and there is always enough to see along the route. Jellyfish, terrapins, and more than 400 species of fish populate the lake, providing a bountiful meal for lakeside predators such as otters, fish eagles, cormorants, pelicans, kingfishers, crocodiles, and even snakes.
  • Taking a stroll along the lake shore is like going on a mini-adventure. This large inland sea may not have tides, but it is nonetheless affected by evaporation, wind, and currents. There are so many gorgeous mollusc shells on the sand that you could think you’re at the beach. Artwork made from weathered, sun-bleached driftwood is common.

When animals such as warthogs, antelopes, leopards, and chimpanzees come to drink from the fresh water, their tracks can be seen in the sand, especially first thing in the morning. Out of the shallows, little tufty islands of reeds appear. Breakwaters of tumbled rocks and thick foliage mask dense undergrowth, leading the eye toward forested slopes. The opposite shore of the lake is dominated by a range of towering mountains.

Lake Tanganyika

There are still numerous mysteries surrounding the lake’s geological history, which will be discussed during your trip. It has gone through numerous transformations throughout the course of history as a result of factors including its high altitude and large depth, placement in a hilly volcanic environment, high rate of evaporation, unreliable water supply from the rivers that supplied it, and varying climate.

To rise from a level 300 meters below the present shoreline and spill out through the Congo towards the sea, it relied on lava blockages diverting the inflow from the Nile less than 12000 years ago. Before that time, the lake alternated between being connected to other Great Lakes in the Rift Valley area and being cut off from them. This power source is still sporadic. In 1858, British explorers Richard Burton and John Speke discovered it while on a quest to locate the Nile River’s headwaters.

The water in the lake hasn’t been replaced in an estimated 6000 years due to the lake’s ever-shifting currents and flow patterns. That’s why locals tell stories of monsters like Nessie lurking in the lake, such as Gustave the enormous crocodile, Pamba the lake monster, and Chipekwe the “killer of elephants,” alternatively known as Emela ntouka.

As a world treasure and a magical place where magnificent creatures, many still unknown to science, may be encountered by anyone on safari in this expanse of Africa (read more on when to visit Lake Tanganyika), recent studies have focused on establishing a lake basin management authority to protect the lake and its contents.

MV Liemba Tour Experience At Lake Tanganyika

MV Liemba Tour Experience At Lake Tanganyika

It’s a logistical nightmare to get to Lake Tanganyika. There aren’t many routes in, and they’re all in terrible shape, making rainy-day travel nearly difficult. Flying in a small plane is more convenient. There are landing airports in major cities like Kigoma, as well as in some of the hotels near the lake. Transportation on Lake Tanganyika is not optional if you plan on visiting the Mahale or Gombe National Parks or any of the islands in western Tanzania during your expedition safari.

Read more about where to stay in Lake Tanganyika and take advantage of the large passenger and cargo ferry, MV Liemba, which makes two-week-long trips across the lake, docking at various designated points to unload passengers and cargo before continuing on to smaller coastal towns and villages, islands, camps, and lodges accessible only by small boat in shallower waters.

There are a variety of smaller ferries that can get you across the water, but none of them come cheap. Since they have their own planes and boats, some of the more upscale resorts will cover your transportation charges by air and by speedboat. It is recommended that you coordinate all transportation in advance with your Kabira Safari tour specialist. The MV Liemba is a ferry that has been in operation for a century and has a checked but disputed history. Formerly known as the Graf von Goetzen, she was built in Germany in 1913 specifically for use as a ferry on Lake Tanganyika.

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