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Fish market by Lake Victoria.
  Lake Victoria
Size: 70,000 km2/27,000 sq mi.
Wildlife & attractions: Landscape scenery. Fishing. Wildlife in some areas.
Getting there: The easiest way of getting to Lake Victoria is by air to Mwanza from Arusha or Kilimanjaro. The road to the lake from Arusha passes through Ngorongoro Conservation Area and Serengeti National Park, and is 450 km/280, which equals a long full day's drive.
Tanzania map
Tanzania map.
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Lake Victoria
By Global Nature Fund.
Rubondo Island National Park
By Tanapa.
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Lake Victoria
Lake Victoria is the second largest freshwater lake in the world, shared by northern Tanzania, western Kenya and south-eastern Uganda. After seeing it in 1858, John Hanning Speke pointed it out as the source of the Nile River, but the discovery wasn't acknowledged until 1875, after Henry Morton Stanley had also visited the lake.

Lake Victoria is close to 70,000 km2/27,000 sq mi large and up to 100 m/330 ft deep. The lake area has a moist and rainy local climate.

Map of Africa Namibia Botswana South Africa Zambia Mozambique Malawi Rwanda Tanzania Kenya Uganda
The areas surrounding the Tanzanian part of Lake Victoria are mainly countryside, where wildlife is rare. The lake is situated just west of Serengeti National Park, though, and may be combined with a visit there. Another place to go for seeing animals is Rubondo Island, an island national park in the south-western part of the lake. Musoma, Mwanza and Bukoba are major Tanzanian towns around the lake.

(The famous Victoria Falls are not found in this area, but in the Zambezi River on the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe further south in Africa.)

Lodges and hotels

Lake Victoria is just west of Serengeti National Park, but offers activities focused on the lake rather than safaris.

Speke Bay Lodge.Speke Bay Lodge is a tourist class lodge situated on the south-eastern shore of the lake, 15 km/10 mi from western Serengeti. The lodge has rooms in eight spacious bungalows set along the lakeshore. All rooms have ensuite bathroom and a veranda. There are also twelve permanently pitched furnished tents, which don't have bathrooms; showers and toilets are outside. The lodge has restaurant, bar and a gift shop, and offers activities such as excursions in land and on the lake, mountain biking and fishing.

Web site:

Serengeti Stop-Over Lodge is a basic lodge just outside Serengeti National Park. It has ten self-contained bungalows, restaurant, bar and a gift shop. The activities offered include guided outings to the lake, boat trips, bird watching and visits to Sukuma tribe healers practicing herbal healing and rituals.

Web site:

Musoma is one hour by road from Ndabaka Gate in western Serengeti National Park, but few safari-goers visit this town.

Peninsula Hotel.Peninsula Hotel is a basic hotel in a residential area in the outskirts of Musoma, within walking distance from the shore of Lake Victoria. The hotel is in what looks like a re-built former colonial private home. The rooms have ensuite bathrooms, and there is a basic restaurant and bar next door.

Not very many safari-goers come to Mwanza on the southern shore of Lake Victoria, as this is too far west from the good safari region of northern Tanzania. Mwanza is one of the largest cities in the country, and has a large harbour and a domestic airport (MWZ/HTMW).

Hotel Tilapia.Hotel Tilapia is set on the very shore of Lake Victoria in Mwanza, and offers tourist class accommodation. There are four restaurants, bars and a swimming pool. Tilapia has 40 rooms, of which most are modern and equipped with air conditioning, safe, Internet and refrigerator. A handful of rooms are in a huge boat, named The African Queen, offering stylish interiors, sadly well past their prime. When staying on this boat, we found rat droppings and a host of lake flies in the room.

Web site:

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Page updated 27 April 2013