Lake Victoria

Straddling the boundaries of Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania, lies Africa’s largest freshwater lake and source of the Nile River - Lake Victoria. Named after Queen Victoria by explorer John Speke who was the first Briton to document it whilst searching for the source of the Nile, this largest of the African Great Lakes, commonly known as Victoria Nyanza, is the second-largest freshwater lake in the world spanning a massive +60 000km2.

Lake Victoria supports Africa's largest inland fishery (as of 1997) and more than thirty million people in Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda rely on the lake for its natural resources. As of 2016, an environmental data repository exists for Lake Victoria. The repository contains shoreline, bathymetry, pollution, temperature, wind vector, and other important data for both the lake and the wider Basin. Many towns and cities are reliant on Victoria for their water supplies, for farming and other uses, and in 2013 the European Investment Bank started the Lamadi Water Scheme project with the aim of protecting the environmental health of the lake, through improved water and sanitation to the Tanzanian towns whose pollution is part of the degradation of the lake. The project aims to provide safe drinking water for an estimated one million people and improved sanitation for 100 000 people. Sediment and suspended solids are filtered out using sand, which acts like a sieve. The water is then ready to be chlorinated or treated in another way. The sand filtration helps reduce water-borne diseases and is based on the use of the local environment.

Lake Victoria is home to a huge array of birdlife and wetland animals, including the sitatunga antelope and spotted neck otter. Many native species of freshwater fish including several types of colourful cichlid can also be found here, as well as the introduced Nile Tilapia and the Nile Perch which are major drawcards for big game fishermen.

Tanzania's Rubondo Island National Park - located in the southern portion of Lake Victoria on one of its many islands is the best place to stay due to its National Park protected status. There is a good range of wildlife on this 460km2 tropical island - including elephant, chimpanzee, black and white colobus monkeys and giraffe - and around 250 species of bird species, making it a hit with birders and non-birders alike. The habitat also supports a massive array of wildflowers which explode into life at the beginning of the November rains, bringing large numbers of breeding migrant birds who stay until February. It is a wonderful place to track chimpanzees, try your luck with catch-and-release Nile Perch or simply kick back and enjoy this extremely remote little corner of the world surrounded by the flora and fauna of this incredibly vibrant wild place.

Rubondo Island can be accessed by scheduled light aircraft transfers from Kigali in Rwanda, and from/to numerous Serengeti airstrips in Tanzania, making the destination an easy and wonderful add-on to Gorilla trekking in Rwanda and/or safaris in Tanzania. Flight connections also link Rubondo to Zanzibar and Arusha.