Lake Victoria is the continent’s largest lake, the largest tropical lake in the world, and the second widest fresh water lake in the world in terms of surface area. Being relatively shallow for its size, Lake Victoria ranks as the seventh largest freshwater lake by volume. It is the source of the longest branch of the River Nile, the White Nile. It is a biological hotspot with great biodiversity. The lake lies within an elevated plateau in the western part of Africa’s Great Rift Valley. The lake has a shoreline of 2,138 miles and has more than 3,000 islands, many of which are inhabited. These islands include the Ssese Islands in Uganda, a large group of islands in the northwest of the lake that are becoming a popular destination for tourists.
Lake Victoria is relatively young with its current basin formed only 400,000 years ago. The lake’s shallowness, limited river inflow, and large surface area relative to its volume make it vulnerable to climate changes. Core samplings taken from its bottom show that Lake Victoria has dried up completely three times since it formed. These drying cycles are probably related to past ice ages, which are times when precipitation declined globally. The lake last dried out 17,300 years ago, and filled again beginning 14,700 years ago.
The activities for visitors include bird watching and fishing on Lake Victoria.