Lake Victoria, the main reservoir of the Nile
Lake Victoria, also referred to as Victoria Nyanza, is the main reservoir of the Nile River and is also the largest lake in Africa. It is located in Tanzania and Uganda with a small part extending into Kenya. Lake Victoria occupies an area of approximately 26,800 square miles (69,480 sq. km) and is the second-largest freshwater lake in the world, the only larger one being Lake Superior in North America. From north to south, Lake Victoria is 210 miles (337 km) long and from east to west it is 150 miles (240 km) wide, with over 2,000 miles (3,220 km) of coastline. The lake is situated between the Western and Eastern Rift Valleys along the great plateau. It is 3,720 feet above sea level (1,134 m) and reaches a depth of 270 feet (82 m). Within the lake, one can find many archipelagos as well as numerous reefs just below the surface. Lake Victoria is known for its abundance of fish, which are exported by local fisherman. There are over 200 species of fish, which all make a major contribution to the economy. The lake lies within the Victoria basin, which covers an area of 92,240 square miles (238,900 sq. km).
Lake Victoria is bordered to the south by 300-ft (90 m) high precipices that are backed by the papyrus and ambatch swamps that form the delta of the Kagera River. The lake drains water into the Kavirondo Gulf through a narrow channel. The gulf is roughly 16 miles (25 km) wide and extends for at least 40 miles to Kisumu, Kenya. One of the largest and most important contributors to Lake Victoria is the Kagera River, which runs into the western side of the lake. One other source is the Katonga River, which is situated north of the Kagera. There are several other inlets, but the lake’s only outlet is the Victoria Nile to the north.
The majority of the people inhabiting this area are Bantu-speaking. Several million people live within 50 miles (80 km) of the Lake Victoria region, which is one of the most densely populated areas in Africa. There are several cities that are built right on or very close to the northern coast of Victoria. Kampala and Entebbe benefit highly from the easy access to the water for fishing. In the northwestern corner of the lake, there is the Sese archipelago which is a chain of 62 islands contained within Lake Victoria. One of the largest islands, Ukerewe, rises over 650 feet (200 m) above the surface of the lake and is densely populated.
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