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Lake Victoria

Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania are African nations bordering immense Lake Victoria. This impressive body of water is Africa’s largest great lake (by area) and the world’s second largest freshwater lake (Lake Superior). Direct precipitation and thousands of small streams feed into the lake, but its only outflow drains to the Nile River on the lake’s northern shore.

In 1858 Lake Victoria was named for Britain’s famous Queen Victoria by John Hanning Speke, the first European to lay eyes on it, as he searched for the source of the Nile River. A famous public quarrel ensued between Speke and his fellow explorer Richard Francis Burton about the truth of Lake Victoria actually being the source of the Nile, resulting in numerous other explorations set on proving Speke’s discovery true or false. Eventually, the New York Herald newspaper decided to put an end to the matter and funded an expedition by Henry Morton Stanley. After circumnavigating the lake, he reported that Speke’s initial discovery was correct and that Lake Victoria was indeed the source of the Nile.

Even though the controversy was over 150 years ago, its significance sparked an interest in the study of Africa with an allure that has never died away. Thousands of would-be explorers tour Africa, and specifically Lake Victoria, each year in search of the incredible natural wonders to be found there.

Lake Victoria is known for exceptional year-round fishing and birdwatching. On an early morning boat trip, guests can fish for enormous Nile perch, weighing up to 300 pounds. Even if anglers catch only tilapia, most lodge chefs will happily cook the fresh catch. Glimpse nearly 370 bird species from the lake shores or islands within the lake, famous for flocks of fish eagles, double-toothed barbets, iridescent sunbirds, kingfishers, cormorants, and many other endangered and magnificent water birds. Around the lake and among the many islands, otters frolic alongside giant monitor lizards. Water sports such as waterskiing, knee-boarding, and tubing are popular with thrill-seeking tourists.

Several large parks touch the lake, one of which is Ruma National Park in Kenya. Beautiful black and white roan antelope, Jackson’s hartebeest, Rothschild giraffe, oribi, bohor reedbuck, impala, topi, waterbuck, buffalo, and the occasional leopard can be seen in the park.

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