Lake Tanganyika is the world’s longest (660km), deepest in Africa and second-deepest in the world (more than 1436m) and second-largest (by volume) freshwater lake. At somewhere between nine and 13 million years old, it’s also one of the oldest. Thanks to its age and ecological isolation it’s home to an exceptional number of endemic fish, including 98% of the 250-plus species of cichlids. Cichlids are popular aquarium fish due to their bright colours, and they make Tanganyika an outstanding snorkelling and diving destination.
Comparatively narrow, varying in width from 10 to 45 miles (16 to 72 km), it covers about 12,700 square miles (32,900 square km) and forms the boundary between Tanzania and Congo (Kinshasa). It occupies the southern end of the Western Rift Valley, and for most of its length the land rises steeply from its shores.
Visitors come here mainly to visit Tanzania’s two superb national parks that border the lake: the incredibly beautiful Mahale Mountains National Park and the equally enticing Gombe National Park.
Both parks are famous for their populations of habituated chimpanzees as well as a wide range of other primates, forest birds and dazzling clouds of butterflies. There is accommodation in each park, including a sensational Greystoke Mahale set on Lake Tanganyika’s beach. These remote reserves are not as easy to accesss as Tanzania’s more famous safari destinations but both offer visitors a rewarding insight into the biodiversity of a famously biologically rich region.
Activities at this lake: A unique rainforest adventure of chimpanzee tracking, canoeing/sailing, swimming, fishing, snorkeling/ diving and excursions to local fishing villages.