Uganda is located in the great lakes basin and this areas is around the tropical equatorial region of Africa and crossed by the Great Rift Valley escarpment. With such crucial geographical and natural features, Uganda has a number of water resources…lakes, rivers, swamps and water falls in this diverse ecology.
Other countries in great Lakes region of East Africa include Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi which share most of the water resources with Uganda. Some of the rivers drain in to Uganda’s lakes. There are many lakes in Uganda offering the best bird watching opportunities, boating, nature walks, adventures, swimming and safaris unique to Uganda. Many of the lakes have great economic importance to the local people and Uganda.
It is Africa’s largest fresh water lake covering an estimated 68,800sq km on the south east border of Uganda with Kenya and Tanzania. Although the largest area of the lake is shared by Tanzania, Lake Victoria defines Uganda’s weather and its economic success. It is the source of River Nile-the world’s longest river, has a number of main Hydro Electric Power Stations at Owen Falls Dam, Bugajali.
Lake Victoria is surrounded by a series of forests which are excellent in Bird watching, a source of medicinal herbs, wildlife ecology and a source of timber. Going without mention are the record breaking catches of Nile Perch and other fishes which are not found in any other lake around East Africa. Besides the sport fishing, Lake Victoria is great for boating, rafting, sunset cruises and beach holiday activities all Uganda safaris can offer in one Holiday Package.
This rift valley lake in western Uganda is another of Uganda’s lakes that was named after the British Royalty on discovery in1864 by Sir Samuel Baker.A major mention in the press since the 2000s thanks to the discoveries of rich oil wells in the region surrounding it known as the Albertine Rift, Lake Albert is one the most dramatic lakes Uganda has to showcase
The borders of this lake extend to the borders of DR Congo from western Uganda as the upper Nile (Victoria Nile) continues on its course. From the point where the river Nile enters Lake Albert is great for Boating
Off the route on Lake Albert are spectacles like Murchison Falls and many small rivers that feed the lake and the surrounding swamp. Beside the oil exploration on the lake’s shore, the lake is a good fishing ground.
It is located at the heart of central Uganda on the en-route of the River Nile into the Mediterranean Sea in Egypt. The lake’s distinct features include the finger-like shoots that define the swamps that overflow during the rainy season.
Fishing is the main economic activity on the lake and is located near Budongo Forest reserve. You can visit the lake and also go for chimpanzee tracking adventures in the forest reserve.
The two lakes are typically located in the rift valley escarpment in south western Uganda and are connected by the Kazinga Channel. Lake Edward shared by Uganda and DR Congo with parts of the 2325sq km lake in Queen Elizabeth National Park.
Lake George is the smaller of the two and shallow as well occupying 250sq km. A swamp fringes that silted lake that is joined to Lake Edward by the meandering waters of Kazinga Channel.
Fishing is an important economic activity for the communities living near the two lakes. Kazinga Channel is known for the traditional sunset baot cruises for wildlfie safaris at Queen Elizabeth
This lake lies in a designated ramsar site 20km from Kampala in the south central district of Masaka. it was once part of the greater Lake Victoria until silting of lake Victoria built sand dunes that separated the two lakes.
It is good place for birding safaris in Uganda and some of the regular sights at the lake are kingfishers, Crested Crane, Ross’ Turaco and the broad billed roller among others. Some of the animals that live near the lakes include vervet monkeys, duikers, monitor lizards and squirrels among others.
This lake is found in south western Uganda and is one of the deepest lakes in Africa. It was named after the many birds that nest and migrate to the swamps and islands in the lake. It is a fresh water lake, bilharzias free and good for swimming. It is a remarkable destination for tourist adventures like boating and bird watching among others.
Ndali-Kasienda Crater lakes
These lakes are believed to be a result of volcanic activity that occurred in south west Uganda some 100,000 years ago. The extensive lake has more than 50 smaller lakes and water streams that flood in the course of the rainy season. The surrounding area boasts sights of monkey, butterflies, birds and fishing activity.
This fresh water lake is located in Eastern Uganda and was formed called lake Salisbury. Although long and narrow, the lake is a source of livelihood for the fishing communities in Eastern Uganda and a great birding site too. Some of the birds found in the fringing swamp include the papyrus endemic gonolek, Fox’s Weaver (endemic to swamps on this lake), shoebill stork, white winged warbler, pygmy goose and the Lesser Jacana among others.
This seasonal lake is thought to be part of the greater Lake Kyoga covered in papyrus swamp and water logged savannah. The wetlands protects Uganda’s largest breeding colonies of the papyrus gonolek, shoebill stork, rufus bellied heron, fox’s weaver and also has a few sights to the water loving antelope species-sitatunga.
There are many lakes in Uganda, both seasonal and permanent. Some of the lakes define Uganda’s national parks and sustain many of the forest reserves in the country. Other lakes worth visiting include Lake Mutanda in Bwindi Forest Park, Mutolere that is drained by the glaciers from Rwenzori Mountain in western Uganda, Lake Saka and Kaitabarogo in Fort Portal, Lake Wamala and Lake Katwe that is known for Uganda’s salt mining activity.
The major rivers that drain Uganda’s lakes include River Nile and its tributaries (Victoria Nile, Albert Nile & Blue Nile),Katonga, Mpanga, Narus, Manafwa, Narus, Lamia, Nyamwamba, Mubuku, Nyamugasani and Bujuku to mention a few.