One of the most fun parts of traveling is virtually looking out for the places you might want to visit, and since we can actually travel now, we’d thought we’d start the fun experience from the comfort of your electronic devices. To that effect, we’d be starting a travel miniseries, and to kick start this miniseries, we’d be showing you 10 of the best lakes in Africa.
Africa can very easily be said to be one of the most beautiful continents in the world, it is after all the second largest continent in the world after Asia. Africa is home to mountains, mangrove swamps, lowlands and deserts. It’s also home to the African Great Lakes; a series of lakes within the Rift Valley in and around the East African Rift that dates back 22-25 million years ago.
There are also numerous other lakes spread across the continent within valleys, atop mountains and even below sea level. One thing we can say for sure is all of these lakes are breathtakingly spectacular, and they hold one world record or the other. Check out this list below.
Lake Assal, Djibouti
Lake Assal is one of Djibouti’s top tourist sites. The saline lake sits in the Afar Triangle at 155 metres below sea level, making it Africa’s lowest point and the third lowest point in the world!
The saline levels of Lake Assal are ten times more than the sea, making it;
- the second most saline in the world and
- the world’s largest salt reserve.
It’s a national treasure that is protected by the Djibouti government and is hoping to be designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site. Lake Assal is shallow, but it’s quite beautiful with the surrounding Danakil Desert, while hills sit along its western side, though you will see no wildlife due to the desert temperature and the saltiness of the water.
Lake Bogoria, Kenya
Also a salt water lake, Lake Bogoria lies in a volcanic region in Kenya’s Rift Valley and is famous for being home to one largest of the populations of lesser flamingos on earth. It’s also known for its geysers and hot springs that sit along its shoreline.
Lake Bogoria is a Ramsar Wetland and a protected national reserve. The high concentration of salt in the water makes in inhospitable for fish and not the best place for swimming. Still, tourists flock here to see the flamingos and geysers erupt, which, at times, can be five metres high.
Lake Chad, Chad, Cameroon, Niger & Nigeria
Lake Chad is a freshwater lake, and even though it is named after the country Chad, Lake Chad is actually shared between four countries and provides water for over 30 million people living in these countries. The lake sits right at the edge of the Sahara, creating some picturesque scenery.
Lake Chad houses around 85 fish species and is a migrating spot for many birds. Tourists may also get the chance to spot an elephant, crocodile, hippopotamus, cheetah or striped hyena hanging around its shoreline.
Lake Edward, DR Congo & Uganda
Lake Edward is the smallest of the African Great Lakes and sits in the Albertine Rift on the border between the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Uganda. The lake was named after Prince Albert Edward, The Prince of Wales and son of Queen Victoria.
The lake is located within the Virunga National Park, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Interestingly too, the park is one of the most biologically diverse areas on earth. The lake is home to numerous species of fish. Tourists may get the chance to see crocodiles, chimpanzees, elephants and lions on the banks of the lake, all of which are protected by the national park. The park also happens to be home to the critically endangered mountain gorilla.
Lake Kariba, Zambia & Zimbabwe
Lake Kariba is home to several islands and is known as the world’s largest man-made lake. It lies along the border of Zambia and Zimbabwe on the Zambezi River.
Lake Malawi, Malawi, Mozambique & Tanzania
Lake Malawi is the third largest lake in Africa at 29,600 square kilometres. It’s located within three countries and is known as Lago Niassa in Mozambique and Lake Nyasa in Tanzania.
Lake Malawi is home to more fish species than any other lake in the world. It’s also a popular lake for fishing. The lake is an ancient lake that dates back 1-2 million years. It’s also a stunning lake that’s surrounded by beautiful scenery that reflects in the aquamarine coloured water.
Lake Nasser; Egypt & Sudan
Lake Nasser is one of the largest man-made lakes in the world, and it is situated between Egypt and Sudan, although more than 80 percent of it lies within Egypt. The lake was created a result of the construction of the Aswan High Dam along the Nile River between 1958 and 1970.
Lake Nasser was named after Gamal Abdel Nasser, the second President of Egypt, though the Sudanese call it Lake Nubia. Due to its location along the Nile, it’s swarming with Nile perch, making it a top fishing site.
Lake Retba; Senegal
Similar to the Hillier lake in Australia, Lake Retba is also known as the Pink Lake of Senegal, Lake Retba is an amazingly beautiful pink lake. The lake gets its colour from Dunaliella salina algae due to the high concentration of salt in the lake.
There is no other lake like Lake Retba in all of Africa with its mesmerising pink hues. The best time to see the pink colour is in the dry season (November to June). There’s up to 40 per cent salt content in some areas, and, like the Dead Sea, you can actually float on it.
Lake Tanganyika; Burundi, DR Congo, Tanzania & Zambia
Call it a record holding lake if you will, because this lake has a lot of “degrees”. Dating back 9-12 million years, Lake Tanganyika is
- The second oldest freshwater lake in the world,
- The second deepest lake in the world,
- The world’s second largest in volume, and
- The longest freshwater lake on the planet, stretching for 673 kilometres across four countries!
Lake Tanganyika is surrounded by the walls of a valley, while the mountains reflect within its water. Sunrise and sunset are particularly good times to visit the lake and take in all of its beauty. The lake is home to over 300 different species of fish, some of which are unique only to Lake Tanganyika.
Lake Turkana; Kenya & Ethiopia
Another record holding lake is Lake Turkana, which was formerly known as Lake Rudolf, Lake Turkana is
- the world’s largest alkaline lake and
- the world’s largest permanent desert lake,
- as well as being the world’s fourth-largest salt lake.
The lake is known for its vapour, which comes out of the Central Island; an active volcano within the lake. Lake Turkana is surrounded by national parks, with Lake Turkana National Park and Sibiloi National Park being listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Both of these parks are home to some great wildlife, including Nile crocodiles, snakes and hippopotamus.
The lake is also home to hundreds of species of birds that are native to Kenya alone, as well as some more common bird species.