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Lake Tanganyika

Lake Tanganyika , in Northern ZambiaLake Tanganyika , in Northern ZambiaLake Tanganyika , in Northern ZambiaLake Tanganyika , in Northern ZambiaLake Tanganyika , in Northern ZambiaLake Tanganyika , in Northern ZambiaLake Tanganyika , in Northern ZambiaLake Tanganyika , in Northern ZambiaLake Tanganyika , in Northern ZambiaLake Tanganyika , in Northern ZambiaLake Tanganyika , in Northern Zambia
Lake Tanganyika , in Northern ZambiaLake Tanganyika , in Northern ZambiaLake Tanganyika , in Northern ZambiaLake Tanganyika , in Northern ZambiaLake Tanganyika , in Northern ZambiaLake Tanganyika , in Northern ZambiaLake Tanganyika , in Northern ZambiaLake Tanganyika , in Northern ZambiaLake Tanganyika , in Northern ZambiaLake Tanganyika , in Northern ZambiaLake Tanganyika , in Northern Zambia

General Information

This vast inland sea was first made known to the European world in the mid 1880’s by the English explorers Richard Burton and John Speke in their pursuit of the source of the Nile.

The Lake is bordered by four countries – Zambia in the south, Tanzania and DRC along the east and west coasts; and Burundi in the north. Commonly referred to the meeting place of Africa where north, east, west and south meet, the lake is a kaleidoscope of culture, landscape and nature.

The lifestyle of the lake inhabitants has changed little over the centuries while the influence of Arabia can be seen in the design of the wooden boats and dhows which ply this ancient trade route.

Tradition is still strong in lakeside villages, where fishing is the way of life and respect for the Spirit of the Lake observed.

Regarded as one of the most biologically unique habitats on earth, Lake Tanganyika is also a showcase due to its great stability and age.

Facts

  • Lake Tanganyika is the largest rift lake in Africa lying in the Western Rift of the Great Rift Valley. Extending over 650 km in a North/South direction and averaging over 50km wide, Lake Tanganyika has the second highest volume of fresh water in the world (after Baikal), is the longest freshwater lake in the world, and at 1400m deep it is the second deepest in the world.
  • The Lake covers 32,900km2 area, with 1,828km of shoreline. Much of the coastline consists of high escarpments dropping directly into the lake interspersed with vast headlands and long pristine beaches.
  • Water clarity averages around 15meters visibility and water temperature is around 26oC. Biology With such a variety of habitats and conditions Tanganyika truly comes into its own regarding diversity of life.
  • Ninety eight percent of the lakes cichlids and almost all its molluscs and crustaceans are endemic.
  • More than 2000 plant and animal species live in the lake and about 600 of these exist nowhere outside the Lake Tanganyika watershed.
  • Much of the biomass in the lake is made up of pelagic fish species from the genus Stolothrissa (kapenta) and Lates (Nile perch) both of which make up a significant part of the commercial and sports fishery of the lake. Fish from the group known as Cichlids are the real evolutionary wonders of Tanganyika.
  • Varying in size, shape, colour and behaviour; with over three hundred endemic species, they form the centre of delight for fish enthusiasts.
  • Also endemic to Tanganyika are two fully aquatic water snakes, one of which is the Storm’s water Cobra. 

Zambia’s Tanganyika

Although Zambia can only claim 7% of the lake’s surface area, Nsumbu National Park encompasses some 100 kilometres of the lake’s most pristine shoreline.

Every conceivable shoreline is represented within Zambian waters.

The national park offers a haven to both big game, as well as an important protected area for fish and other aquatic life.

On the eastern side of the park some of the most dramatic landscapes are found with escarpments plunging 400 metres into the lake.

During the rains many of the valleys cascade with running water forming spectacular and remote waterfalls, many without even names.

 

Information courtesy of Ndole Bay Lodge

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