Lake Tanganyika: Amazing Facts

Lake Tanganyika

Table Of Contents

Another great lake that is part of Africa’s Great Rift valley is Lake Tanganyika. Tanganyika is said to be the second deepest lake in the world. Just behind lake Baikal. To put things into perspective. Baikal is also the largest lake by volume. On that measure Lake Tanganyika is also second.

This is unarguably one of the most popular and equally iconic lakes in Africa. People from other parts of the world have heard of Lake Tanganyika. The lake stretches through Zambia, Tanzania, Democratic Republic of Congo and Burundi.

The largest possession of the lake is in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Tanzania has slightly smaller share of the lake. Due to conflict in the region, most travellers head to Tanzania instead of the DRC. Tanganyika feed into the Congo river, before ending up in the Atlantic.  

Experience the tranquility of the world’s longest freshwater lake at any time of the year. I have been unable to collaborate this, but it is said that the name is descriptive of the lake, “plain-like lake.”

With an altitude of over 770 meters above sea level, the temperatures around the shores make it fresh to tour the region at any time of the year.  It’s believed to be the most beautiful freshwater lake due to its picturesque tropical forests, Blue Mountains, and silver beaches.

The mountain ridges are also graced with beautiful waterfalls, rolling from great heights into the lush ravines.  It plays host to a lot of primates. The likes of the Mahale wild chimpanzees and Gombe. These are a major tourist attraction in the region. Vast types of birds, butterflies, fish, and mammals are another drawing factor.

Lake Tanganyika gets its waters from the surrounding rivers, which include Malagarasi, Kalamba, and Ruzizi rivers.  Before it was found the Malagaris river deposited its waters into Congo river. On the edges of the lake are steep slopes around the lakes averaging 2000 meters.

The location

Lake Tanganyika is located in the heart of floral regions stretching across western and Eastern Africa.  The characteristic old palms of African beaches around the area give it beautiful scenery and cool breezes.  The predominant lake animals like hippopotamus and Nile crocodiles are also found in the cold waters.

Lake Tanganyika averages around 673 Kilometers maximum length, 72 Kilometers maximum width, and an area surface of 32,900Km².  It also has a water volume of 18,900Km³.

Lake Tanganyika Fish species

Being one of the biggest freshwater lakes in the world, Lake Tanganyika is home to an upwards of 500 fish species.  The low heights make it difficult for fish to thrive because of reduced oxygen levels below the lake.  

aulonocara Lake Tanganyika fish

This is the primary reason why 90 percent of the fish in the waters are found within 20 meters into the water with high oxygen content. It is home to over 250 Cichlid fish species, and the threatened subspecies of the banded cobra; the storm’s water cobra.

Lake Tanganyika cichlid fish


The communities around the lake are quite friendly. Most people prefer the town of Kigoma since it serves as Tanzania’s rainforest reserves jumping off points. 

The rainforest, which includes the picturesque Mahale Mountains National park and Gombe Stream National parks are home to chimpanzees. A lot more primates, butterflies and beautiful forest birds have found a home in the rainforest.

Where to Stay

Accommodation at Lake Tanganyika and its environment is not a problem for most tourists.  Both parks are all fitted with superb accommodation facilities to give you friendly hospitality.  All the hotel rooms in the region have unique designs with beautiful themes to match varied tastes for guests.  

Besides, the rooms are furnished with modern accessories, and furniture to give you a unique accommodation experience.  It is worth noting that most of these foreign reserves pose some difficulty in accessing.  No worries though because you can still access them through short flights. The unrivalled diversity will satisfy your adventurous spirit though.

When choosing where to stay during your vacation, you could stay at the Chimpanzee lodgings like the Gombe Forest Lodges, Kungwe Beach Lodges, and Greystoke Mahale, among others.  The boutique Lupita Island Resorts and Kigoma Hilltop Hotels also offer great vacation options. 

Best Time to Visit Lake Tanganyika

Wondering when to visit Lake Tanganyika. For an ultimate tour experience, you can set out on vacation to Lake Tanganyika between June and September.  During this time, the temperatures are moderate averaging 23°C with a moderately cold climate.

For avid travelers, June to September is the best time to engage in the chimpanzees trekking hikes. The dry weather during this period also makes traveling on the rough Tanganyika reserve roads, which gets muddy during wet seasons easier.  

The calm lake waters also make it a perfect time for water activities like canoeing and swimming. The dry season also makes a great time to visit Gombe and Mahale national parks for the ultimate beach experience.  

The chimpanzees living on the slopes do get down to the water in the lake. And during the wet season, the chimpanzees usually move to the top of the mountains to look for food.  This makes it difficult for trekkers to find them especially by following their trails in the wet, muddy Tanzania terrains.

If you’re a bird lover though, the onset of the rainy season is arguably the best time to visit Lake Tanganyika.  It brings with it beautiful foliage, which attracts the birds and butterflies.  

You can catch up with them between November and April.  The humidity during this time can go as high as 80 per cent. It is, however, not advisable to move to Lake Tanganyika during March and May months since most camps and lodges are closed during this period.[1]

What to Do in Lake Tanganyika

Lake Tanganyika and its shores are busy places to keep you busy during your vacation.  There are different Tanganyika tours to experiences. These include Lake Cruises, deep lake swimming, motorboat trips, and Kayaking. From boat riding to fishing there is no limit to activities to keep you entertained.

Snorkelling enthusiasts will feel at home here. It may be worth carrying your snorkelling gear. You can also hire when you get here.  In your free time, I bet you won’t resist that urge to join troops of tourists as they set out to enjoy land adventures.  

Experience the feel of fishing deep in Tanganyika fishing villages.  A stay in either Gombe or Mahale rainforests will present you with an excellent opportunity to spend some time with the friendly looking primates. (Don’t close on them though)

Find some time to experience Tanzania’s traditional biggest game safari in the Kitavi national park.  Its beautiful biodiversity lures a lot of tourists to enjoy the magnificent wild game.

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