Facts, Travel

8 Largest Lakes in Africa – What Are the Biggest Lakes in Africa?

4. Lake Volta (8,502 square kilometres)

While not the largest manmade lake by volume in Africa, this one has a larger surface area than Kariba. It is located within Ghana and is contained by the Akosombo Dam. The dam powers Ghana itself as well as several other countries. Tourists who visit the lake often take cruises to the island of Dodi to explore its beautiful rocky shores.

Volta Lake - the largest reservoir by surface area in the world

Volta Lake – the largest reservoir by surface area in the world – Image credit to Sandister Tei – CC BY 3.0

3. Lake Malawi (29,600 square kilometres)

Another extraordinary large lake to visit in Africa is Lake Malawi, also called Lake Nyasa or Lago Niassa. As another of the Great Lakes, it is the ninth largest on the planet and the second deepest and third largest on the continent.

More species of fish call Lake Malawi home than any other lake on Earth—over 1,000 species of cichlids alone. There are a number of wildlife species that occupy the shores which are quite extraordinary as well, including monkeys, hippos, and Nile crocodiles. Also be on the lookout for painted hunting dogs, originally believed to have gone extinct in the region, but recently spotted again.

Lake Malawi in 1967

Lake Malawi in 1967

2. Lake Tanganyika (32,900 square kilometres)

This lake is both the longest freshwater lake on Earth and the second deepest, following Lake Baikal in Russia. It is thought that in terms of volume, it is also the second largest freshwater lake in the world. It is shared by Zambia, Tanzania, Burundi, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Like Lake Victoria, it is one of the African Great Lakes.

The name “Tanganyika” is a pretty apt description, reportedly translating to “the great lake spreading out like a plain.” There are at least 325 species of fish living in the lake, the majority of which are native. It s considered one of the most biologically unique and diverse habitats anywhere in the world, with 98% of the cichlid fish species being unique to the lake itself. A number of the crab, mollusc and crustacean species are exclusive to the lake as well. If you are in the area, be sure to plan a day to fish and swim.

Lake Tanganyika from space - second largest lakes in Africa

Lake Tanganyika from space

1. Lake Victoria (68,000 square kilometres)

Lake Victoria is shared by Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda. It is both the largest freshwater lake in Africa and the second largest worldwide (exceeded in size only by North America’s Lake Superior).

Despite its large area, Lake Victoria is relatively shallow, with a maximum depth reaching down to 84 meters. On average, the depth is only 40 meters.

Eighty percent of the water in this lake comes from rain, while the rest flows in from rivers. If you visit, you will see many species of birds, including herons, kingfishers and sandpipers. You cannot swim here, but you can visit Mfangano Island for spectacular bird-watching, and also trek through the surrounding jungle to see monkeys and monitor lizards.

Lake Victoria is the largest lake in Africa

Lake Victoria is the largest lake in Africa – Image credit to Hansueli Krapf – CC BY-SA 3.0

Now you know what some of the largest lakes in Africa are, and that they are also some of the largest lakes in the world. Any one of these can make a wonderful destination for your next trip!

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One comment

  1. 1

    Thanks 4 highlighting,because,many people don’t know the exact deepth of their lakes ,yet are born in the area.

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