The Rift Valley lakes in Uganda : The Great Rift Valley is a natural wonder of the world, a geological trench, approximately 6,000 kilometers in length, that runs from northern Syria in Southwest Asia to central Mozambique in East Africa. The Great Rift Valley is a long depression in the earth which runs down the eastern side of Africa, through countries like Uganda, Tanzania and Mozambique. In a lay man understanding, a rift valley is an elongated valley formed by the depression of a block of the earth’s surface between two faults. It is formed on a divergent plate boundary, a crustal extension or spreading apart of the surface, which is subsequently further deepened by the forces of erosion.
In eastern Africa, the rift valley are divides into two; the Western Rift Valley and the Eastern Rift Valley. The Western Rift is edged by majestic mountains and contains the Rift Valley lakes, which include some of the deepest lakes in the world (up to 1,470 meters deep at Lake Tanganyika). Lake Victoria, the second largest area freshwater lake in the world, is considered part of the Rift Valley system although it actually lies between the two branches. All of the African Great Lakes were formed as the result of the rift, and most lie within it.
The Great Rift Valley, which runs through Africa is a magical thing – populated by huge escarpments, vast lakes and beautiful vistas it is usually a hit list on anyone’s itinerary when planning to visit East Africa. Tanzania has a wonderful portion of the Great Rift Valley which is absolutely breath taking, including Lake Manyara which is famous for its huge herds of elephant, buffalo and magical bird life. Here you can either base yourself from Lake Manyara, looking up at the dwarfing escarpment or from up on high, looking down at Lake Manyara and the wilderness that surrounds it – both are sensational.
The Eastern Rift features vast Mineral Lakes such as Lake Natron and is bordered by the highest Mountain in Africa, Mount Kilimanjaro. It is also there that we find some remarkable Tanzanian Volcanoes such as the Ngorongoro, the Empakai, the Olmoti and the Lengai. The East Africa Rift Valley is a great example of how many natural systems can be intertwined – this unique geological setting may have altered the local climate which may have in turn caused our ancestors to develop the skills necessary to walk upright, develop culture and ponder how such a rift came to be. Just like the Grand Canyon, the East African Rift System should be high on any nature lovers list of geologic marvels to visit. Some of the Lodges with great views of the Rift Valley include but not limited to Ngorongoro Crater Lodge, Marambai, Manyara Ranch, Lake Manyara Tree Lodge and Pakalala Safari Camp.
Below are the rift valley lakes in Uganda some of which are connected to Queen Elizabeth national park through the Kazinga channel in the southern part of the park that is Lake George and lake Edward, the other two lakes include Lake Albert and Lake Kyoga.
Lake Edward was formerly known as Rutanzige or Edward Nyanza. It is the smallest lake among the African great lakes. It is seated on an area of 2,325 km and its inflow source is River Rutshuru. It is one of the water bodies in Queen Elizabeth national park. It is located on the western corner of the East African Rift valley on the boarder of Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Lake George – It is lake dweru is a lake in Uganda. It covers a total surface area of 250 square kilometres (97 sq. mi). It is located in the western part of the East Africa’s rift valley. It is linked to Lake Edward by Kazinga channel and it was named after a British royal family member, prince George who later became King George V of the United Kingdom. A British explorer Henry M. Stanley is said to be the first European to have seen the lake in 1875. Its main entries are Mpanga and Dura from northeast plus Rumi, Nsonge and Mubuku. This lake enables fishing and its major islands are Iranqara, Kanuranga and Akika.
Lake Albert – This is also called Mwitanzinge and formerly lake Mobutu Sese seko. It is one of the African great lakes located in Uganda and the boarder of Democratic Republic of Congo. In 1864, the explorers Samuel Baker and Sass Flora found the lake and renamed it after the recently deceased prince Albert, Consort of Queen Victoria. And in the 20th century, Zairian President Mobutu Sese seko temporarily named the lake after himself.
Lake Kyoga – It is also spelled as Kioga. It is a large shallow lake in Uganda about 1720km (660sq.mi). it is found in central Uganda region in northwest of Lake Victoria. Lake Victoria flows through lake kyoga to lake albert and makes the albert Nile. It was formed by ponding back of the kafu river. The extensions of lake kyoga include lake kwania, lake Bisina and lake Opeta. These finger lakes are surrounded swampland during rainy seasons. All these in the kyoga basin are shallow.
All these water sources are managed by a partner organization called National Environment Management Authority. (NEMA). Rift valley lakes in Uganda are found in the East African rift valley that runs through East Africa from the country of Ethiopia in the north to Malawi in the south and also includes the African Great lakes in the south