Top 7 Facts About Lake Tanganyika You Might Not Know : One of the Great Lakes of Africa, Lake Tanganyika is also one of the biggest and most well-known lakes in the world. We’ve put together a list of seven interesting facts about this enormous African lake that you might not be aware of because there are so many of them.

Lake Tanganyika Is The Second-Largest Lake In Africa.

It is also the second-deepest, second-largest by volume, and second-oldest freshwater lake in the world. Lake Baikal in Siberia is the only lake bigger than Lake Tanganyika. Its length as a freshwater lake is the only record it can claim.

12,700 square miles of water are stored in Lake Tanganyika, which has a volume of 4,500 cubic miles. The lake has a maximum depth of 4,820 feet and a mean depth of 1,870 feet. Its location in the Great Rift Valley accounts for its considerable depth.

Four Countries Share The Lake.

Tanzania holds 46% of the lake’s total area, followed by the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) with 40%. Burundi and Zambia are the other two nations that own the lake. Its waters enter the Congo River system before eventually draining into the Atlantic Ocean.

It was discovered by England Explorers

In the middle of the nineteenth century, two English explorers by the names of Richard Burton and John Speke first brought this enormous African lake to the attention of the world. They arrived at the shores of Lake Tanganyika in February 1858 after a search for the River Nile’s origin. They eventually learned that the northern Ruzizi River, which they initially believed to be the Nile, actually flowed into the lake rather than out of it. Mountains of the Moon, a film, details their fascinating journey.

During World War I, There Were Battles On The Lake.

Several naval encounters took place on the lake during World War I between the British and Germans. The goal was to take control of Lake Tanganyika because of its strategic value. Since the beginning of the war, German forces have dominated the area.

It Boasts Visibility Of Up To 20 Meters.

The lake is so clear that you can see up to 20 meters below the surface. Massive boulders, breathtaking drop-offs, and a bottom covered in shells are all visible.

The Lake’s Temperature Is Unique.

The temperature in Lake Tanganyika is remarkably consistent, with the lower parts of the lake only 3°C colder than the surface. This strange phenomenon’s mechanism is still unknown.

There Are Over 350 Different Fish Species In The Lake.

Around 95% of the fish are endemic. Similar to Lake Malawi, Lake Tanganyika is very old, and this, along with its ecological isolation, has facilitated the evolution of a significant number of unusual fish over time. This amazing lake is the site of ongoing discoveries of new species. It is regarded as one of the two lakes in the world with the highest biodiversity, along with Lake Malawi.

Top 7 Facts About Lake Tanganyika You Might Not Know
Lake Tanganyika


The River Ruzizi, the lake’s principal inlet, enters the body of water at its northern end from Lake Kivu, where it originated about 10,000 years ago. Tanzania’s second-largest river, the River Malagarasi, enters Lake Tanganyika from the east. More ancient than the lake itself, the Malagarasi River was probably a tributary of the great Congo River’s primary source, the Lualaba River, before the lake was formed.

Due to the lake’s steep elevation, depth, low incoming water volume, and presence of mountains in volcanic regions that have experienced climate change, the history of changes in flow patterns is complicated. It has rarely let water flow into the ocean. Because of this, the lake has the designation “closed lake”. The amount of water that will allow water to overflow to the Congo River via the Lukuga River determines how the lake and ocean are connected. Water that does not overflow into the Lukuga River is typically blocked from exiting by sandbars and water weeds, so the river must depend on its other tributaries, primarily the Niemba River, to keep flowing.

The climate of Lake Tanganyika typically involves a lot of evaporation due to the tropical lake area. Therefore, it depends on the Ruzizi, a Lake Kivu outlet, bringing in a significant amount of water to keep water levels high enough to overflow. The initial outflow from the Kivu basin, which flowed to Lake Edward before continuing to join the Nile River systems and redirecting it to join Lake Tanganyika, was sealed by flowing lava about 12,000 years ago, creating the Lukuga outflow system.

Tanganyika was once 300 meters (980 feet) below its current level and had no outlet draining to the ocean, according to signs of ancient shorelines. Its sporadic water outflow at the moment was most likely unavailable when European explorers first arrived in the area in 1858. It’s possible that the lake once had multiple outlets and inlets, including a connection to Lake Malawi and one to Lake Rukwa. It has also been established that the Nile River had an outlet at some point during the history of the lake.

Lake Tanganyika is regarded as an ancient lake type. The lake consists of three basins, each of which has a different age and was formerly a separate lake when water levels were lower. Its central basin began to form 9–12 million years ago (Mya), followed by the north at 7–8 million years and the south at 2-4 million years.


The lake has several islands; the important ones are:

  • Kavala Island in the DRC
  • Mamba-Kayenda Islands in the DRC
  • Mountains Island in the DRC
  • Kibishie Island in the DRC
  • Mutondwe Island in Zambia
  • Kumbula Island in Zambia
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