Lake Victoria, is the largest of all African lakes, is also the second largest freshwater body in the world. Its extensive surface belongs to the three countries; the northern half to Uganda, the southern half to Tanzania, and part of the northeastern sector to Kenya being the smallest part.

The lake occupies a wide depression near the equator, between the East and West Great Rift Valley systems, but its drainage basin is relatively small, being slightly less than three times the lake’s surface in area. The lake water is drained at off int Jinja on the northern shore, into the Victoria Nile which flows northward via Lake Albert and the White Nile forming the uppermost reaches of the Nile, the world’s longest river.

Geologically, the lake shore is highly indented, and there are many islands in the lake, some of which, especially the Sesse Group of islands, that are known for their beautiful landscape, health resorts and sightseeing places.

Abundant prehistoric remains found around the lake indicate the early development of agriculture. There are a number of coastal towns such as Kisumu (Kenya), Entebe (Uganda), Bukoba, Mwanza and Musoma (Tanzania), connected with each other by ship routes and also to the cities of the Indian Ocean coast by railways. The dam constructed in 1954 at OwenFallson the Victoria Nile supplies electricity and water for various uses in Uganda, Tanzania, and Kenya.

Surprisingly, Lake Victoria is not only the largest lake in Africa, but also the second-largest freshwater body in the world. The lake extends to over some 68,500 sq. km an area comparable to that of the Republic of Ireland. The colonial boundaries has the lake shared  between Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda.

Socially and economically, the lake supports several million people, including the Luo of Kenya, many of whom are still fishermen. In Kenya, Dunga village is one of many places on the lake where you can see the fleets of traditional fishing dhows, whose white lateen sails, set against a deep blue background, appear to be out of the romantic myths of the Sinbad coast. And there is, in fact, a connection to the coast, dating back to the time when the Arab slavers were marauding around Lake Victoria, building boats for the lake in the same style as their dhows on the Indian ocean.

Another good place to watch the fishing dhows in action is the small town of Kendu Bay, about an hour’s drive south of Kisumu. We alyways try to be at the out-of-town jetty at noon, when dozens of dhows land there, complete with the day’s catch.

Kendu Bay boasts two other diverting attractions. The first is a handsome and surprisingly large Tawakal Mosque, set along the road between the town center and the jetty. The other, about 2 km south of town, is Simbi Nyaima, a green crater lake whose shallows occasionally support large numbers of flamingo. Simbi Nyaima means “Village That Sank”, an allusion to the Luo legend that the lake was created when a fearful storm engulfed what was formerly a village, to punish its inhabitants for refusing to help an old woman who had arrived there looking for food and shelter.

If our time permits a challenge of tackling one of Lake Victoria’s giant Nile perches, the place to stay is Rusinga Island, where there is a comfortable lodge for fishermen in idyllic surroundings, or Mfangano Island, where there is an alternative beach lodge. The introduction of these huge fish into the lake in the 1950s has been controversial. In the 1980s there was an explosion in their numbers and, as a result, many indigenous species of fish have since disappeared, particularly the small cichlids: Nile perch now account for about 80 percent of the fish in the lake. In commercial terms, this has been a great success, generating a multi-million dollar processing and export industry. However, scientists maintain that it has had a disastrous impact on the lake’s ecosystem having contributed to the extinction of many native fish species.