|A Zambian Wonder. Lake Tanganyika is an African Great Lake. It is estimated to be the second largest freshwater lake in the world by volume, and the second deepest, after Lake Baikal in Siberia. It is also the world's longest freshwater lake. The lake is divided among four countries – Burundi, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Tanzania and Zambia, with the DRC (45%) and Tanzania (41%) possessing the majority of the lake. The water flows into the Congo River system and ultimately into the Atlantic Ocean.
The lake is situated within the Albertine Rift, the western branch of the geographic feature known as the East African Rift, and is confined by the mountainous walls of the valley. It is the largest rift lake in Africa and the second largest lake by volume in the world. It is the deepest lake in Africa and holds the greatest volume of fresh water. It extends for 676 km (420 mi) in a general north-south direction and averages 50 km (31 mi) in width. The lake covers 32,900 km2 (12,700 sq mi), with a shoreline of 1,828 km (1,136 mi) and a mean depth of 570 m (1,870 ft) and a maximum depth of 1,470 m (4,820 ft) (in the northern basin) it holds an estimated 18,900 cubic kilometres (4,500 cu mi). It has an average surface temperature of 25 °C and a pH averaging 8.4.
The enormous depth and tropical location of the lake can prevent 'turnover' of water masses, which means that much of the lower depths of the lake is so-called 'fossil water' and is anoxic (lacking oxygen). The catchment area of the lake covers 231,000 km², with two main rivers flowing into the lake, numerous smaller rivers and streams and one major outflow, the Lukuga River, which empties into the Congo River drainage.
The lake holds at least 250 species of cichlid fish and 150 non-cichlid species, most of which live along the shoreline down to a depth of approximately 180 metres (590 ft). Many species of cichlids from Lake Tanganyika are popular fish among aquarium owners due to their bright colors.
Lake Tanganyika is thus an important biological resource for the study of speciation in evolution. The largest biomass of fish, however, is in the pelagic zone (open waters) and is dominated by six species: two species of "Tanganyika sardine" and four species of predatory lates (related to, but not the same as, the Nile perch that has devastated Lake Victoria cichlids). Almost all (98%) of the Tanganyikan cichlid species are endemic to the lake and many, such as fish from the brightly coloured Tropheus genus, are prized within the aquarium trade. This kind of elevated endemism also occurs among the numerous invertebrates in the lake, most especially the molluscs (which possess forms similar to those of many marine molluscs), crabs, shrimps, copepods, jellyfishes, leeches, etc.
Fishermen on Lake Tanganyika
It is estimated that 25–40% of the protein in the diet of the approximately one million people living around the lake comes from lake fish. Currently, there are around 100,000 people directly involved in the fisheries operating from almost 800 sites. The lake is also vital to the estimated 10 million people living in the basin.
There are 2 lodges operating in the area. Ndole Bay Lodge is situated just outside the Sumbu national park and offers a variety of accommodation from Beach front luxury suites right through to a beach campsite. Ndole Bay is the only registered SCUBA diving resort on Lake Tanganyika and also offers fishing safaris, lake cruises, and walking safaris within Sumbu NP. Being outside the park it is considered safe to swim off the private beach at Ndole.
Nkamba Bay Lodge is an upmarket lodge situated in the National park and offers fishing and wildlife activities, including game drives, canoeing, sports fishing, walks, overnight trails and boating safaris.
The Zambian National Fishing Competition takes place at Nkamba and Ndole Bay Lodges in March or April every year.
The first known Westerners to find the lake were the Great British explorers Richard Burton and John Speke, in 1858. They located it while searching for the source of the Nile River. Speke continued and found the actual source, Lake Victoria. Later David Livingstone passed by the lake. He noted the name "Liemba" for its southern part, a word probably from the Fipa language which in 1927 was chosen as name for the conquered German ship which is serving the lake up to the present time.
Battle for Lake Tanganyika
The Lake was the scene of two famous battles during World War I.
With the aid of the Graf von Götzen (named after Count Gustav Adolf Graf von Götzen, the former governor of German East Africa), the Germans had complete control of the lake in the early stages of the war. The ship was used both to ferry cargo and personnel across the lake, and as a base from which to launch surprise attacks on Allied troops.
It therefore became essential for the Allied forces to gain control of the lake themselves. Under the command of Geoffrey Spicer-Simson the Royal Navy achieved the monumental task of bringing two armed motor boats Mimi and Toutou from England to the lake by rail, road and river to Kalemie on the western shore of Lake Tanganyika. The two boats waited until December 1915, and mounted a surprise attack on the Germans, with the capture of the gunboat Kingani. Another German vessel, the Hedwig, was sunk in February 1916, leaving the Götzen as the only German vessel remaining to control the lake.
As a result of their strengthened position on the lake, the Allies started advancing towards Kigoma by land, and the Belgians established an airbase on the western shore at Albertville. It was from there, in June 1916, that they launched a bombing raid on German positions in and around Kigoma. It is unclear whether or not the Götzen was hit (the Belgians claimed to have hit it but the Germans denied this), but German morale suffered and the ship was subsequently stripped of its gun since it was needed elsewhere.
The war on the lake had reached a stalemate by this stage, with both sides refusing to mount attacks. However, the war on land was progressing, largely to the advantage of the Allies, who cut off the railway link in July 1916 and threatened to isolate Kigoma completely. This led the German commander, Gustav Zimmer, to abandon the town and head south. In order to avoid his prize ship falling into Allied hands, Zimmer scuttled the vessel on July 26, 1916. The vessel was later resurrected and renamed as the MV Liemba
In 1965 Argentinian revolutionary Che Guevara used the western shores of Lake Tanganyika as a training camp for guerrilla forces in the Congo. From his camp, Che and his forces attempted to overthrow the government, but ended up pulling out in less than a year since the National Security Agency (NSA) had been monitoring him the entire time and aided government forces in ambushing his guerrillas.
Isanga Bay Lodge
Isanga Bay Lodge is situated on the shores of the vast Lake Tanganyika on Zambia's northern most border. The spectacular Kalambo Falls, the second highest in Africa, are nearby and make a popular hike.
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Ndole Bay Lodge
Discreetly situated amongst lush tropical vegetation opening onto its own exclusive beach, Ndole Bay offers a unique African experience on the shores of one of the world’s most spectacular
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