Lakes and Rivers: Uganda is located in the great lakes basin and this areas is around the tropical equatorial region of Africa and crossed by the Great Rift Valley escarpment. With such crucial geographical and natural features, Uganda has a number of water bodies such as lakes, rivers, swamps and water falls in this diverse ecology.
Other countries in great Lakes region of East Africa include Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi which share most of the water resources with Uganda. Some of the rivers drain in to Uganda's lakes. There are many lakes in Uganda offering the best bird watching opportunities, boating, nature walks, adventures, swimming and safaris unique to Uganda. Many of the lakes have great economic importance to the local people and Uganda
It is Africa’s largest fresh water lake covering an estimated 68,800sq km on the south east border of Uganda with Kenya and Tanzania. Although the largest area of the lake is shared by Tanzania, Lake Victoria
defines Uganda’s weather and its economic success. It is the source of River Nile-the world’s longest river, has a number of main Hydro Electric Power Stations at Owen Falls Dam, Bugajali.
Lake Victoria is surrounded by a series of forests which are excellent in Bird watching, a source of medicinal herbs, wildlife ecology and a source of timber. Going without mention are the record breaking catches of Nile Perch and other fishes which are not found in any other lake around East Africa. Besides the sport fishing, Lake Victoria is great for boating, rafting, sunset cruises and beach holiday activities all Uganda safaris can offer in one Holiday Package.
This rift valley lake in western Uganda is another of Uganda’s lakes that was named after the British Royalty on discovery in 1864 by Sir Samuel Baker.A major mention in the press since the 2000's thanks to the discoveries of rich oil wells in the region surrounding it known as the Albertine Rift, Lake Albert is one the most dramatic lakes Uganda has to showcase
The borders of this lake extend to the borders of DR Congo from western Uganda as the upper Nile (Victoria Nile) continues on its course. From the point where the river Nile enters Lake Albert is great for Boating
Off the route on Lake Albert are spectacles like Murchison Falls and many small rivers that feed the lake and the surrounding swamp. Beside the oil exploration on the lake’s shore, the lake is a good fishing ground.
It is located at the heart of central Uganda on the en-route of the River Nile into the Mediterranean Sea in Egypt. The lake’s distinct features include the finger-like shoots that define the swamps that overflow during the rainy season.
Fishing is the main economic activity on the lake and is located near Budongo Forest reserve. You can visit the lake and also go for chimpanzee tracking adventures in the forest reserve.
Lake Edward and Lake George
The two lakes are typically located in the rift valley escarpment in south western Uganda and are connected by the Kazinga Channel
. Lake Edward shared by Uganda and DR Congo with parts of the 2,325 sq km lake in Queen Elizabeth National Park
Lake George is the smaller of the two and shallow as well occupying 250 sq km. A swamp fringes that silted lake that is joined to Lake Edward by the meandering waters of Kazinga Channel
Fishing is an important economic activity for the communities living near the two lakes. Kazinga Channel is known for the traditional sunset boat cruises for wildlife safaris at Queen Elizabeth
This lake lies in a designated site 20 km from Kampala in the south central district of Masaka. it was once part of the greater Lake Victoria until silting of lake Victoria built sand dunes that separated the two lakes.
It is good place for birding safaris in Uganda and some of the regular sights at the lake are kingfishers, Crested Crane, Ross’ Turaco and the broad billed roller among others. Some of the animals that live near the lakes include vervet monkeys, duikers, monitor lizards and squirrels among others.
This lake is found in south western Uganda and is one of the deepest lakes in Africa. It was named after the many birds that nest and migrate to the swamps and islands in the lake. It is a fresh water lake, bilharzia free and good for swimming. It is a remarkable destination for tourist adventures like boating and bird watching among others.
Ndali-Kasienda Crater lakes
These lakes are believed to be a result of volcanic activity that occurred in south west Uganda some 100,000 years ago. The extensive lake has more than 50 smaller lakes and water streams that flood in the course of the rainy season. The surrounding area boasts sights of monkey, butterflies, birds and fishing activity.
This fresh water lake is located in Eastern Uganda and was formed called lake Salisbury. Although long and narrow, the lake is a source of livelihood for the fishing communities in Eastern Uganda and a great birding site too. Some of the birds found in the fringing swamp include the papyrus endemic gonolek, Fox’s Weaver (endemic to swamps on this lake), shoe-bill stork, white winged warbler, pygmy goose and the Lesser Jacana among others.
This seasonal lake is thought to be part of the greater Lake Kyoga covered in papyrus swamp and water logged Savannah. The wetlands protects Uganda’s largest breeding colonies of the papyrus gonolek, shoebill stork, rufus bellied heron, fox’s weaver and also has a few sights to the water loving antelope species-sitatunga.
There are many lakes in Uganda, both seasonal and permanent. Some of the lakes define Uganda’s national parks and sustain many of the forest reserves in the country. Other lakes worth visiting include Lake Mutanda in Bwindi Forest Park, Mutolere that is drained by the glaciers from Rwenzori Mountain in western Uganda, Lake Saka and Kaitabarogo in Fort Portal, Lake Wamala and Lake Katwe that is known for Uganda’s salt mining activity.
The Semliki River is a total of 87 miles (140 kilometers) in length and flows through the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DR Congo) and Uganda. The river's source starts at Lake Edward, near the sub-station of Ishango on the DR Congo side of the border and then proceeds to snake south crisscrossing and even forming part of the border of the DR Congo and Uganda, until it reaches its mouth at Lake Albert near the city of Bunia in the DR Congo. The River goes through the Rwenzori Mountains National Park and the Semuliki National Park in Uganda, helping to give a habitat to the tropical trees and swamp flora that grows in the parks. The river also helps many different animals thrive in these parks, including more then 400 different bird species and various mammals like elephants and buffalo.The River is also the home to various ethnic groups of people in the general region, including the Amba, Bakonjo, Batuku and the Batwa peoples.
The Sezibwa River is a total of 93 miles (150 kilometers) in length and is the third longest river that is completely within Uganda. The river's source starts by the municipality of Ngogwe in the Buikwe District and then proceeds to flow in a northerly direction until it reaches its mouth at Lake Kyoga in the Kayunga District. The Sezibwa Falls are a Heritage Site of the Buganda sub-national kingdom in Uganda that are 23 feet (7 meters) high, that are part of the river. The site is location for tourists to bird watch, rock climb and experience the sights and sounds. The surrounding forest that is along the river and falls has a variety of primates and bird species.
The Kafu River is a total of 112 miles (180 kilometers) in length and is the second longest river that is completely in Uganda. The river's source starts by the Kitoma Swamp in the Kibaale District and then it starts to flow east before it turns north where it reaches its mouth at the Victorian Nile River near the town of Masindi Port in the Masindi District. Since the river comes out of the Kitoma Swamp, it helps to provide a source for wildlife and varies animals in the swamp and along its path.
The Katonga River is a total of 137 miles (220 kilometers) in length and is the longest river that is completely in Uganda. The river's watershed is now the swampy region that is found southwest of Lake Wamala due to regional uplifting of the land in the Albertine Rift that is part of the great East African Rift system. From this swampy region the Katonga River then mostly flows in an eastern direction until it reaches its mouth of Lake Victoria, although it is supplemented by a few tributaries along the way. During the wet seasons in Uganda, the water levels can rise enough that the watershed of the river will send some water west in Lake George.
The Turkwel River is a total of 211 miles (340 kilometers) in length and flows through Kenya
and Uganda. The river's source starts at the Mount Elgon, which is a extinct shield volcano that sits on the border of Uganda and Kenya. From this source the river flows east words into Kenya until it reaches its mouth at Lake Turkana in northern Kenya. The portion of the river that is located in Uganda is called the Suam River. The river's flow can change seasonally and can be impacted by flash floods during the rainy season.
The Kagera River is a total of 249 miles (400 kilometers) in length and flows through Burundi, Rwanda
, Tanzania, and Uganda. The river's source starts starts flowing out of Lake Rweru in Burundi and then the river goes east crossing along the border of Burundi and Rwanda and the the border of Rwanda and Tanzania. The Kagera then meet at a confluence with the Ruvubu River and then it flows northwards continuing along the border of Rwanda and Burundi before finally crossing into Uganda where it finally reaches it mouth at Lake Victoria, where it is the biggest inflow of water into the lake. During the horrific 1994 Rwandan Genocide, bodies where dumped into the river that ended up going into Lake Victoria in Uganda, which caused a major health hazard for people in the country.
White Nile River
The White Nile River is a total of 2,299 miles (3,700 kilometers) in length and flows through six different countries, namely including Sudan, South Sudan, Uganda, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda, and Tanzania. The source of the White Nile is the Nyabarongo River in Rwanda where it goes east through to Tanzania before going into Lake Victoria. From Lake Victoria the White Nile continues in Uganda as the Victorian Nile and goes north through the country, briefly going into the DR Congo at Lake Albert. It then goes north from there through the rest of Uganda, South Sudan and Sudan before it merges with the Blue Nile at the city of Khartoum. For Uganda the Victorian Nile section of the White Nile located at the mouth of Lake Victoria provides power for the country from the Nalubaale Power Station and the Kiira Power Station. The river also provide stunning views and rafting for tourists where it goes through the Bujagali Falls.
The Nile River is a total of 4,258 miles (6,853 kilometers) in length, making it the second longest river in the world. The Nile flows through the eleven different countries, including Burundi, Egypt, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Kenya, Rwanda, Sudan, South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Tanzania, and Uganda. The Nile River's source is from the Blue Nile and White Nile river who converge near Khartoum in Sudan, with the river's mouth going into the Mediterranean Sea in northern Egypt. The Nile River's length in full also includes the White Nile and Blue Nile River's, so the part of the Nile that goes through Uganda is the same section as the White Nile River.
The major rivers that drain Uganda’s lakes include River Nile and its tributaries (Victoria Nile, Albert Nile & Blue Nile),Katonga, Mpanga, Narus, Manafwa, Narus, Lamia, Nyamwamba, Mubuku, Nyamugasani and Bujuku to mention a few.