Lake Tanganyika is one of the Great Rift Valley Lakes found on the western border of Tanzania, in East Africa. This massive expanse of water is the longest Lake in Africa (720 km long) and is the second deepest Lake in the world (1,470m) – second only to Lake Baikal in Russia. It is said to hold roughly 18% of the world’s available fresh water and is also the world’s second largest fresh water Lake by volume. There are 26 rivers that flow into Lake Tanganyika and only one (the Lukuga River) that flows out. Only the upper 100m of the Lake is oxygenated.
The Lake’s temperature is typically 24 to 26 degrees Celsius (70 degrees Fahrenheit) all year round. It has an average ph of 8.4.
The Lake boasts visibilities of up to 20m with massive boulders, spectacular drop offs and a shell covered bottom. It is thought to date back 9 to 20 million years and is one of the richest aqueous environments in the world, supporting at least 280 varieties of fish. Most of the 200 and more types of cichlid fish found here are endemic to the Lake. These small, colourful fish are exported for aquariums and fish tanks around the world.
Because of their unique feeding techniques, Tanganyika cichlids prefer different habitats. This means that by going only a few hundred meters, you are able to view totally different species, making your diving and snorkelling trips very exciting. Apart from cichlids you can also catch a glimpse of otters, speckled eels, catfish, burrowing clams and freshwater crabs. In the deeper water you may well spot some of the larger fish – “Kuhe” (Boulengerochromis microlepis) and “Sangala Pamba” (Lates Angustifrons), or even the Lake Tanganyika jellyfish, a nearly transparent, pulsating disc about 2 cm in diameter. Freshwater jellyfish are unusual as most species are found in the ocean. This species is completely harmless to swimmers and does not sting like those found in the sea.
We hope that you will find the underwater world of Lake Tanganyika as exciting and special as we do.