Lake Victoria, also known locally as Victoria Nyanza, is located in east central Africa and borders three countries; Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania with a total 2137.5 miles of shoreline. Named after the former British Queen, Lake Victoria is not only Africa's largest lake at 26,830 square miles, but the world's largest tropical lake. It is therefore hard to believe that Lake Victoria has actually dried up on three occasions in its history mainly because of its shallow nature, the last time being some 12,500 years ago. Lake Victoria features on the famous Al Adrisis map of the 1160s, which also correctly identifies the lake as being the source of the Nile ~ the only river to leave the lake, however it became more widely accessible to Europeans after the British explorer, John Speke reached the lake in 1858. Its primary incoming river source is the River Kagera.
The lake isn't just home to an abundance of wildlife, many indigenous to the lake with over 100 animal species and 606 bird species, but is also home to over 3000 islands of varying sizes many of which are popular tourist destinations. It is estimated that around one million people are dependant on Lake Victoria for their livelihoods and for food, however, the lake is suffering from pollution and depleted fish stocks, not least because when the large Nile Perch was introduced to the waters in the 1950s as a known good source of food, it started eating many of the fish that already lived there.
This is all causing oxygen levels in the lake to drop significantly and, with half of the native species of the lake now dead, Lake Victoria is at risk of becoming a dead pool of water unless the recently formed Lake Victoria Environmental Management Program agreed by Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania can come good on its pledge to improve water quality and land management together with controlling the perch and restoring indigenous food fish.
Lake Victoria: Uganda Country Profile
Lake Victoria: Main Lakes of Africa
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