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5 Largest Lakes in Africa

by Reananda Hidayat Permono

Africa, popularly called the Dark Continent, is a continent with high temperature and mesmerizing natural landscape. One of those Africa landscapes is the lake. Some lakes in Africa have large size, one of them is the Great Rift Valley. That group of lakes in Africa, which is located from the north of Syria till the central Mozambique, was discovered by John Walter Gregory.

Great Rift Valley is virtually splitting Africa continent from above. The 3000 mil valley becomes the research center about human evolution since countless of fossils have been found in the valley. There are 5 largest lakes in Africa that can be found in the Great Rift Valley.

  1. Lake Kivu (2.220 km²)

Lake Kivu is the smallest lake among those five largest lakes in Africa. The lake has an area of 2.220 km² and is located in Central Africa between Rwanda and Congo. The maximum depth of the lake can reach up to 240 meter, with the water volume of 330 km3. Lake Kivu, that has been visited by Prince Adolf von Gotzen in 1894, has an estuary in Ruzizi River. The river is going to the south as well towards Lake Tanganyika.

Only a few of fish species, around 28 species, can be found in the lake. Some of the endemic fishes of Lake Kivu are barbus, parrot, lemuru, and sardine. Sardine exploitation has occurred at Lake Tanganyika before. For sardine conservation, a scientist has successfully breed the fish at Lake Kivu. Furthermore, Lake Kivu becomes the only natural habitat to this day. Water also has some essential properties for life.

  1. Lake Albert (2.220 km²)

Lake Albert is located between Congo and Uganda. It has another name, Lake Mobutu Sese Seko. The lake has an area of 2.220 km2, with 160 km long and 30 km wide. Lake Albert has maximum depth of 51 meter and is located on 619 meter above sea level, the very north of Great rift Valley. The lake water is coming from Nile Victoria River, Semliki River, and Lake Edward. Despite the river water resource, the salinity of Albert Lake is quite higher than those rivers’ salinity themselves. There are also some popular lakes in Papua.

  1. Lake Malawi (29.600 km²)

Lake Malawi is one of the 5 largest lakes in Africa. Lake Malawi is the third largest lake in Africa, and also the eight largest lake in the world, with an area of 29.600 km². It has the length of 560 to 580 km and the average width of 75 km. Malawi Lake was formed due to tectonic activity in Africa that has happened tens of thousands of years ago. As its name, the lake is located in Malawi, although it’s actually located between three countries, Malawi, Tanzania, and Mozambique. Due to its extreme depth, water ecosystem of Lake Malawi becomes proper place for most of lake fish species. The lake water is coming from Shire River, which is also the branch of Zambezi River.

  1. Lake Tanganyika (32.900 km²)

Lake Tanganyika is the second largest lake in Africa. The lake has an area of 32.900 km2, with 673 km long (north to south) and 50 km wide. Due to its large size, the lake is located in four countries, Congo, Burundi, Zambia and Tanzania. Tanganyika Lake is the second deepest lake in the world after Lake Baikal in Siberia, with the depth up to 1.470 meter and water volume of 18.900 km3. Because of its depth and tropical weather, Tanganyika Lake can prevent water turn over incident. The water at the bottom of the lake is called fossil water, since it has not enough oxygen. Besides located in Great Rift Valley area, the lake is also surrounded by mountains. Therefore, it has relatively low temperature, around 25 degree Celsius. The lake has pH of 8.4 and becomes the place for 450 fish species. Most of the fish are living at the bottom of the lake.

  1. Lake Victoria (68.870 km²)

Lake Victoria is the largest lake in Africa with an area of 68.870 km2. It’s located in the western part of Great Rift Valley and three different countries, Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda. With its large size, Lake Victoria becomes the largest tropical lake and the second largest fresh water lake in the world. Look at this list of 10 largest lakes in the world. However, Lake Victoria is surprisingly shallow, with the water volume of 2.760 km3. The water lake is coming from White Nile River. Lake Victoria has many islands, around 3.000 islands but most of them are uninhabited. Due to its pretty landscape, Lake Victoria is acclaimed as a natural tourism spot by the local government. There are also some popular lakes in Vietnam that you need to know.

Apart of those 5 largest lakes in Africa, another lake exists in the Great Rift Valley area; Lake Edward. The lake that was named after Prince Albert Edward is located between two countries; Uganda and Congo. The lake water is coming from several rivers, such as Nyamugasani, Ishasha, Rutshuru, Ntungwe, and Rwindi Rivers. Those rivers are going to Semliki River, then Lake Edward afterwards. Besides Africa, there are some deepest lakes in South East Asia too.

So there are some largest lakes in Africa. Hopefully this article can be useful for your knowledge.

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