Lake Victoria is one of the African Great Lakes; the lake was named after Queen Victoria, by John Hanning Speke, an officer in the British Indian Army. With a surface area of 68,800 square kilometres (26,600 sq mi), Lake Victoria is Africa’s largest lake by area, and it is the largest tropical lake in the world. Lake Victoria is the world’s 2nd largest freshwater lake by surface area; only Lake Superior in North America is larger. In terms of its volume, Lake Victoria is the world’s ninth largest continental lake, and it contains about 2,750 cubic kilometers (2.2 billion acre-feet) of water.
Lake Victoria receives its water primarily from direct precipitation and thousands of small streams. The largest stream flowing into this lake is the Kagera River, the mouth of which lies on the lake’s western shore. Two rivers leave the lake, the White Nile (known as the “Victoria Nile” as it leaves the lake), flows out at Jinja, Uganda on the lake’s north shore, and the Katonga River flows out at Lukaya on the western shore connecting the lake to Lake George.
Lake Victoria occupies a shallow depression in Africa and has a maximum depth of 84 m (276 ft) and an average depth of 40 m (130 ft). Its catchment area covers 184,000 square kilometers (71,040 sq mi). The lake has a shoreline of 4,828 km (3,000 mi), with islands constituting 3.7% of this length, and is divided among three countries: Kenya (6% or 4,100 km2 or 1,600 sq mi), Uganda (45% or 31,000 km2 or 12,000 sq mi) and Tanzania (49% or 33,700 km2 or 13,000 sq mi).
Lake Victoria has got several tourism destinations that are not fully visited for tourism and the Lake has got places for honey moon travelers which include the following:
Take off your shoes, wrap yourself up in a nice soft kikoy and heed the wise words of the Jungle Book’s King Louie:
‘Unwind yourself’ Pineapple Bay, Where you can lounge on a Lamu bed, looking out to the sparkling waters of Lake Victoria. Where you can charter a fishing-boat and head off with rod and tackle to fish for the legendary Nile Perch. Where you can arm yourself with binoculars and roam for kilometers over this unspoiled island paradise in search of hundreds of birds who make this their home. And then come back and plunge into the dark blue pool or go with the chef to the organic gardens and choose your own pineapple, your own avocado, and your own greens to have for lunch.
Pineapple Bay, Where you can take your shoes off and keep them off until you get back to the mainland. Where you can climb to a breezy hilltop and enjoy an ice-cold sundowner with a 360 degree view, or lie in your bed with your morning tea and in your view is nothing but Lake Victoria and all her glory.
A three-hour sail across Lake Victoria is as much a relaxing expedition as it is a scary one. Along the way, a cool breeze will blow your stress away. If you are travelling by ferry, spare some time on the balconies and you will have a good view of the islands on Lake Victoria, birds taking a swim or perched on logs as well as the waves hitting the ferry. Your writer, like many local tourists, was hydrophobic, but this is something that anybody can soon get over after two trips on the world’s third largest fresh water body.
There are two or more routes to the Kalangala Archipelago. You can use the ferry through Entebbe, at Nakiwogo.
This takes you three hours. It usually sets off at 8am and charges Shs10, 000 for an ordinary ticket and Shs15, 000 for VIP. Alternatively, one can pass through Masaka, at Bukakata landing site off Masaka Highway. The ferry here is free of charge. The first ferry takes off at 7am. The rest keep ferrying people every two hours till 7pm. From Bukakata to Kalangala is a 30-minute sail across the lake.
Regardless of how you get there, when you are finally at the island, you realize that the hassle was worth it. Kalangala opens up to a virgin rural look from a fishing village dotted with semi-permanent shelters. These are your welcome points to the archipelago, the first pointer of an untapped tourism destination.
Some of these shelters are people’s homes while others are restaurants, whose assimilation to the word restaurant is the fact that they too, serve something close to a meal made of fish, matoke and tea. If you are patient, you may have a more sophisticated meal at one of the decent facilities on the island.